Slow, slower, slowest..... Fishing in winter is of a completely different ball game than in the rest of the year. The water is cold, fish generally lie on the ground, just being their own passive self, and the sonars also offer little relief at first glance. Still, winter is the time to catch zander. Although the low (water) temperature may seem like your biggest adversary, in reality wind and fog are the big deal breakers.
From roughly the end of November to the end of March, the Hollands Diep is one of, if not the best, spot for zander in the Netherlands. And as long as the wind is not blowing 5 BFT (south) west or higher over the water, it is good fishing there on the open water. On an average fishing day I roughly use 3 tactics to after our tickleback friends.
Long line jigging, my favorite technique, because it allows you to fish large areas of water quickly. By driving the boat through the water at high speed while we feed tens of meters of line to our lure so that our shad hangs just a few centimeters above the ground, we can quickly track down the zander that have been lying still due to the cold. (If you want to know more details about this fishery, read this article in our blog.) While longlining, I keep my eye on the Garmin Livescope to see if I can spot zander during the drift. As soon as we get bites or failing that, as soon as I see fish lying on certain spots, we shorten our long line and switch to the more traditional vertical fishing. Again, the trick here, as with long line jigging, is to do as little as possible. Keep your lure as still as possible close to the ground. Your best chance of catching a zander is just by holding a shad in front of its nose, a predatory fish will take whatever is easiest. A shad that passes by yo-yo is simply much harder to catch than something that just hangs still in front of its mouth.
And if longlining and vertical fishing don't work, or just because it's possible 😊, we also have the Garmin Livescope in our portfolio. The setup on my boat is such that everyone in the boat can fish for zander with their own Playstation. As in a computer game we lower our shads 'into the screen' and with our fishing rod as a controller we almost literally try to push the shad into the mouth of a zander. The thrill of fish following, turning away and crashing into your lure is indescribable.
Book here your zander fishing trip with Lure Fishing Guide.