Hunting leeches – for zander

Zander leeches even on the hottest summer day. Was it a great lure? Jan Linde decided to check it out.
In the USA, leeches are considered one of the best walleye lures, that is, the American variety of zander. Almost like that, then this lure should prove effective also in our conditions! Leeches are closely related to earthworms (both are ringlets), they have po 10-15 cm long and flattened body on the back. There is a suction cup at the front end of the body, on which lies the mouth, there is a second suction cup at the rear end of the body, which leech attaches to the stones of branches or aquatic plants. Leeches are most often found in shallow and muddy waters. Wanting to catch them, one should muddy the water at the shore. The leeches then rise to the surface and can be caught even with your bare hand. We keep them in a vessel with water.

Viable and hard

Why should I fish with leeches, not against earthworms, bait much easier to get? – some of you are now asking. You already know one reason – zanders are crazy about leeches. Barbells are also great for this bait, eels and carps, and for a bunch of leeches also catfish. The greatest advantage of leeches, however, is their hardness. They never fall off the hook, and besides, they are very alive and constantly moving, they effectively provoke fish to bite. Therefore, they are also perfect for fishing in rivers with fast water currents. In the Middle Ages, and even in the last century, people grew medicinal leeches for medical purposes. From an angling point of view. except for medicinal leeches, horse leeches are also interesting. Both of these species are very similar to each other. Americans usually fish with live leeches using a float method. They stick the hook right through the head” bait. After throwing the set, they pull the leech up with delicate and very short jumps. When fishing for leeches, the best results are achieved in shallow waters. It is logical, because leeches naturally occur in such reservoirs, and the fish that live there know them well and hunt them often. But what to do, when the acquisition of live leeches turns out to be impossible? Americans also have a way, because even in the field of fishing it is a land of unlimited possibilities.

The largest selection of preserved natural baits, including leeches, is offered by Uncle Josh. In Europe, the company's most famous product is the preserved salmon roe. Canned leeches are soft and stretchy, however hard enough, that they are firmly on the hook. In the water, every time the set is moved, they wave in a very natural way. Zander is best taken for leeches in summer, just like for rosewoods.

Zander delicacy

An interesting fact is this, that zanders are most interested in leeches at noon on the hottest days of summer. This is a bit incomprehensible, because in summer these fish feed most intensively at night and at sunrise and sunset. Since they also use leeches during the day, it only means one thing – leeches are the delicacy of zander.
We keep Rosewoods in a refrigerator in summer. We do exactly the same with canned leeches. After opening the package, the leeches can only be caught for one day. As already signaled. in summer, zander look for their prey in shallow places. For this reason, we rather fish for leeches in the shallows.
We fish with a float set, however, we do not put the bait on the bottom. but we serve it in the depths. Only very early in the morning or in the evening, an active primer can also be effective. It should be a very light rig with a through weight.
After making the throw, pull the sinker and the bait very slowly, that the leech keeps moving along the bottom, and the sinker delicately raised the bottom sediments.

Floating twister head

Wanting to fish just above the bottom, it's best to use a floating twister head with a tiny rudder. The head is attached to a leader with a length 1,5-2,0 m. The weight is mounted on the side strap (through a three-part carabiner). You can spin with such a set. While leading the lure, we slowly raise the rod all the time and then lower it downwards.
When lifting the stick up, the bait goes a little deeper, while when lowering to the bottom, rises slightly to the surface. When we use a traditional monolithic line, the delicate bites of zander are almost imperceptible.
A thin braided line is much better in this respect. Each one, we acknowledge even a barely visible sign of a bite with an immediate cut. The weight should be oblong, while on the leader, about 50 centimeters above the hook, we pull a small piece of foam floating in the water with a bait needle. The fishing technique is exactly like that, as already mentioned. By moving the foam float on the line, we can change the depth of the lure within certain limits. While testing the lures, I caught both live lures, as well as for preserved leeches.
Live leeches turned out to be more effective, although I managed to hook and haul a few zander and one large perch for the preserved ones.
Since then, I always take canned leeches fishing with me in summer – against, should dead fish or livestock suddenly turn out to be ineffective.