In most of the network of channels of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire can be found innumerable zander. Although this is the best place to catch your first zander, fishing conditions during the winter months can be pretty inhospitable. Not only do you have to put up with poor access to many fisheries, but as the main function of these water bodies it to carry excess flood water into the Wash as fast as possible, they can experience rapid and extreme changes in flow.

Fortunately for the budding zander angler, high water levels and zander do mix.

Zander love low light conditions. Their large eye, with it's reflective cornea, is designed to collect as much light as possible, allowing this predator to hunt under much lower light conditions than either the pike or perch. Under normal flow conditions this generally means fishing at night as the zander shut up shop during the bright days. When the rivers are a turmoil of silt and detritus flushed down the system, light levels are low enough for the zander to feel at home on even quite bright days. Certainly, if I was restricted to zander fishing during the hours of daylight I would concentrate on the periods when the drains were running hard.

Another advantage of zander fishing under flood conditions is that location can be made much more easily. Features are still worth searching out, but rather than having to search the full width of the water, the strong flow means that the prey fish, and hence the zander, will be pushed tight to the banks.

Don't be put off if you can only effectively fish under the rod tops. As long as there is a couple of feet or more of water the zander will use the margins. Obviously, fishing close to the bank in shallow water means that the angler must be extremely quiet. This is even more important on drains, where bankside cover is minimal. Keep the rods well away from the water and sit well back. Try walking baits a little way along the bank, so that they can sit away from any disturbance.

Livebaits continue to produce the bulk of zander even during floods, but the odds do swing a little in the favour of dead baits. I tend to use half baits and eel sections when the water is high as I am sure that these baits are easier to locate than the standard small whole dead bait. Because I will be fishing close to the bank, only a minimal amount of weight is required to hold bottom. Livebaits will be fished on a float paternoster, while the deads will be fished on a link ledger. There really is no need for anything complicated as long as you are quiet.

Although the water may look well coloured and in turmoil, fish like the zander are able see the slightest movement and you will catch fish.