Fishing for zander in June at Rutland? Yes, it was possible during Zander Challenge 2021. The rules states that lure fishing is allowed from September but the Lake Challenge competition is an exception. So it’s an opportunity for a lure angler to fish for zander in their activity peak. I knew what we can expect – a lot of action. My only concern was a training session that I had one week before with a fly rod. I didn’t catch a single zander which was strange because it was always easy. The only fish I had were pike and decent perch.

The competition weekend was divided in 4 parts:

  • Saturday morning – training session
  • Saturday afternoon – I competition session
  • Sunday morning – II competition session
  • Sunday afternoon – private fishing

The competition was individual but there were two anglers in a boat. Everyone’s goal was to catch 7 zander as long as possible.
During the training session we visited plenty of spots. We didn’t fish much but we just tried to find zander. It wasn’t easy for some reason. On the shallow water I had two fish very quickly but they were pike that I lost although I had 30 cm leaders. To short probably :/
So we moved a little bit deeper and finally we started to get zander.

After the training session we had a few chats with friends and it occurred that zeds are much deeper than we expected. People caught good ones very deep. That was a huge surprise for me. At this time of the year?
So when the competition started we went to the best deep spots but so did others. It was so crowded that we decided to move a few hundreds meters away to a little bit shallower water. It wasn’t bad – I immediately caught two fish. Unfortunately the size wasn’t the right one. Quick decision – we need to go to places we found during the training session.
When we got there we immediately started to catch zander. Most of them was small but we managed to land a few good ones. They were active so almost everything worked but the best was standard jigging and dropshoting.
After the first session I had 383 points and the 4th place. Not bad especially I had a few small zander to upgrade the next day.

The tactics for the second day was simple – we go to the previous day spots and we target only big ones. Easy to say…
There was almost no zander in our spots comparing to the day before. We had to move a lot to find small groups but even if we found them they didn’t want to bite. At some point we even thought about moving back to the deep places were everybody was fishing. Fortunately we stuck to our plan and finally I managed to catch a few missing big zeds but it could go either way. I was lucky to be honest … but luck is always the factor in fishing competitions.
I finished Zander Challenge 2021 in the first place with 456 points (75, 70, 68, 65, 64, 63, 51) so I was able to defend the title from the previous year 🙂

NameScore (top 7 zander)Longest Fish (cm)Total # of Fish Caught
1Daniel Celeda4567513
2Marcin Piórkowski4297713
3Roman Furyk4247112
4Paweł Swat4086810
5Bogdan Pascaru4036913
6James Potts3816118
7Alan Robson3746319
8Andrew Dougan3726516
9Kevin Cox3706110
10Andrzej Trzciński3698019
11Shaun Milner3675913
12Andrei Susinschii3606014
13Maciej Gruzlewski3586511
14Evaldas Skablauskas3577010
15Thomas Hunt3546512
16Dan Clostre352598
17Mark Spain3515611
18Cristian Dobocan3405616
19Vilmantas Nesukuotis340558
20David Morris3396215
21Jakub Tadych3345714
22Bogdan Florea3336110
23Dan Mucileanu3325914
24Andrius Timofejevas3295217
25Peter Hammersley328628
26Jarosław Biszczuk3275910
27Dave Mower327589
28Michael McGuire3275210
29Vladis Vasilevskis3264815
30Jakub Osiecki322637
31Adrian Stangu3215015
32Hubert Ziętkowski315587
33Artur Ziętkowski315508
34Mariusz Ziętkowski315469
35Gints Garbuzovs314517
36Mykola Horobets3125412
37Danny Thompson311628
38Konrad Pukszta311588
39Aleksandr Tomm309507
40Serhii Vasylchyshyn309477
41Andrzej Bielak3044812
42Sylwester Radawiec2974710
43Marcin Janaszkiewicz293676
44Sebastian Parzyński289467
45Daniel Brackley251486
46Łukasz Noskowicz230535
47Paweł Górny224575
48Marcin Włodarczak220614
49Rafał Hołowiński216555
50Marcin Kiedrowski193554
51Arkadiusz Mazurek189584
52Oleg Pieshekhonov176514
53Mark Tredgett160733
54Romualdas Kokstis159444
55Grzegorz Dytkowski136503
56Michał Dziemianko131483
57Bartłomiej Noskowicz128453
58Arturas Orlas118423
59Przemysław Wójcik113413
60Stuart Rollinson106662
61Andy Pollard90502
62Jakub Kopij90492
63Sylwia Klimek60601
64John Mallen59591
65Damian Piech50501
66Maksim Kozevnikov45451
67Michał Urbański41411
68Mateusz Szczepański40401
69Paweł Kucaj00
70Ivan Shturko00
71Richard Clostre00
72Ita Grineviciene00
73Tomasz Chomaniuk00
74Łukasz Łoniewski00
75Andrew Page00
76Maciej Nowak00
77Marcin Ciach00
78Łukasz Witkowski00
79Hubert Ogiński00
80Karol Pilachowski00
81Lee Brackley00
82Dave Goude00