Over the last couple of years I have mostly avoided competition fishing, somewhat due to the ever increasing negative feel and bad vibes and somewhat due to poor timing with dates. However the last Zandermania I attended was far from negative and just the sort of competition I enjoy. There was a great friendly atmosphere and plenty of banter, it had the sort of feel people were only there for a laugh and to have fun and isn't that what fishing should be about?
For those of you that don't know Zandermania was a pairs competition and in short the longest three fish caught by each team would count towards there final length.
After a late night followed by a 3am wake up call my motivation wasn't exactly peaking in the morning but I was soon showered and on my way to pick up Ben. A couple of hours later the obligatory Mcdonald's breakfast had been consumed and we were on our way for the final hour of the journey. Having just missed an accident we managed to arrive just in time. We were greeted with a welcome pack with some great lures from Rapture and some Trokar hooks from Reuben Heaton.
After a quick brief we were set off with 10 second intervals and the competition was underway. Both Ben and I had similar ideas when it came to tactics and without so much as discussing it we had gone for a similar setup and rig. We both aimed to fish heavy and 4" plus lures bouncing bottom where the zander would most likely be hanging out, especially in the blazing heat of the day.
I nearly forgot to mention we had a secret weapon for the day...
After covering quite a bit ground with nothing to show but a small jack we were starting to feel like a single fish could win it. It was tough going and the conditions were only going to get harder. No sooner than we had said it I was into a fish. Deep down I knew it was a small zed as it came vibrating in but I was trying not to get my hopes up. Sure enough we had our first fish on the score card at about 32.5cm (rounded up under comp rules to 33cm).
Very soon after Ben was in to his first zed, you have never seen me run so fast with the net, we all know how zander like to throw hooks before you have a chance to net them. A fish of very equal calibre giving us another 33cm. I think we were both quietly optimistic but kept quiet not wanting to tempt fate. We seemed to have found a small shoal of zander and although bites were not frequent we decided to give it some more time in the hope of at least one more. Our persistence paid off and we finally had our three when I landed a fish of 29cm.
Little did we know but other than a single small perch that was to be it for us. However we gruelled it out for the remaining 5 hours in the heat of the sun slowly burning. The rumours of 40cm and 50cm plus fish were flying about and Ben and I were sure we would be placed fairly high but whether that would be on the podium or not we just didn't know.
With the final whistle rapidly approaching we made our way towards the car park, leaving Ben just enough time to land this beauty in front of the crowd...
After dealing with the line wrapped around the gull we decided to call it a day and hand our score card in. We then packed the car and waited with baited breath for the results. Third place was called with 70 something cm, we knew we were at least in second place. second place's fish were called and with the first one being 30cm we knew we had done it. We were buzzing and even more so after receiving our prizes. The kind folk at Reuben Heaton supplied some quality Trokar hooks and bags and Flambeau supplied a very handy tackle box.
Having had a chance to have a proper look at the prizes, I'm blown away with the strength and sharpness of these hooks. They are going to be awesome for the bass and wrasse not to mention the freshwater. Watch this space for more on these beauties.
See you all next year at Zandermania, something tells me it's going to be pretty special.
All content copyright of Dean Pilgrim 2014