The 12 acre estate lake has a well established breeding zander population that makes Bury Hill the water to catch a zander.

I visited Bury Hill to meet up with the in-house predator expert Eric Bailey. Eric gave me details of both swims and tactics. After a terrific breakfast in the small cafe, I walked out of the door into the boathouse where my flat bottomed fibre glass fishing punt was waiting. It was easy to load up and paddle to one of the island hot spots.

The punt was moored off the island so that I could easily cast into the cover offered by the overhanging trees. The concrete weights provided for these boats are great. I set up with 12ft 1lb 10oz test curve Harrison rods with fixed spool reels loaded with 10lb b.s. line.

The floats were made from half inch diameter balsa wood and fished waggler style, locked in position by shot placed either side of the swivel attached to the float bottom eye. These float are much smaller and far more sensitive than the traditional pike float.

As there are plenty of pike running to over thirty pounds in this venue, there is a very sensible rule that wire traces must be used. I opted for a fine wire trace to a single size 4 hook. The bait was a sprat tail-section that was fished a few inches over-depth. About 12 inches from the bait was a BB tell-tail shot on the wire to aid bite indication.

I positioned both my baits as close to cover as could be managed. One was nearly touching an overhanging bush whilst the other was in a small gap in the bushes. I did not have to wait too long for the first indication. Just a few quarter inch dips then nothing. Close examination of the bait showed a couple of very small puncture marks caused by a small zander's front teeth. Then the bait close to the reeds started to show signs of activity that developed into a full run. I was soon playing a good fish that turned out to be a double figured pike. After unhooking and returning it, I could not get a touch for the next 1.5 hours. It had also turned very bright which is not good for zander fishing.

Then it turned cloudy and the light levels dropped dramatically. Within half an hour, my float near the bushes gave a series of little dips before it started to move slowly to the side. I struck to feel a much smaller fish on the line; it was a zander of about 4lb that, by Bury Hill standards, is a small fish. This water has a good head of larger zander running to over fourteen pounds.

My tactics were at least working so I fairly confidently continued to fish. However my next two fish were both respectable pike and I was getting concerned when again my float showed signs of zander activity. A series of dips were again followed by a slow deliberate run. This turned out to be a better zander of about 61b.

I had another smaller pike to finish the session that had yielded four pike and two zander. To be absolutely honest these were not my first zander as I had previously caught two accidentally from the Thames. The biggest was 6lb 4oz but they were both accidental captures when pike fishing - these were the first zander that I had caught by design so I was very pleased.

Eric Bailey actually runs courses for pike and zander fishing at Bury Hill. He has great knowledge and is an excellent instructor. When I was teaching I was hearing very good things about his courses from some of my pupils. he had certainly advanced their fishing skills and taught them how to catch zander.