ZANDERLAND - Species - Zander - Zander lures


Tampere Region - Finland

Zander lures
Top line. Sturdy and colourful Rapalas for deeps swim at a depth of 2–4 metres and struggle as they go.

2nd line. The Merimetso (first 2 lures) is probably the most popular zander plug in the Tampere Region. The Hali Gemini lure makes wide movements even when you draw it in slowly.

3rd line. The broad-moving Bomber lure is good for catching zander. The Puula lure’s foil sides intensify its visibility and the neon-yellow colour works as a strong stimulus for zander. The natural colouring of the W.P.S. fish-skin plug attracts fish.

4th line. Zander eat smelt and will eagerly bite slender plugs more or less resembling either that or vendace, such as the Tarmo and Iitin Uistin lures. A softbait (jig) works efficiently for spinning zander in summer. The last lure is the traditional zander spinning lure, the Näsiheitto lure à la Erkki Vuorinen, equipped with a keel weight. It works in late summer and early autumn for scouring edges of shallows close to deeps for zander.

Bottom line. Materials for a weighted lure rig. The nickel-plated ‘Uskali’ lures ("ruutti") are traditional tools from Tampere, with appearances that may deceive both anglers and fish. Propeller-tailed weighted lures are available in different colours, from lake-blue to the glaring ‘reggae’ painting.

Top line. Topin Top, Nils Master and Sepen Tuuri.

2nd line. Jesse, Kuusamo Variant and Jurmu.

3rd line. Lappia, Rapala Husky, Merimetso and Lucius.

Zander snap weighted lures
Plugs are the most efficient lures for trolling zander. Zander, aka pike-perch, use relatively small-sized fish for food. The average length of the prey fish for lake zander is about one fifth of their own length. Therefore, 9–15 cm long plugs are good enough for catching zander. For big zander, it is advisable to opt for large, 13–15 cm plugs, which, oddly enough, are sometimes struck by undersized specimens too.

In addition to plugs, the weighted lures traditionally used in the waters of Häme (a historical region including the Tampere Region) are in high demand when ‘rowing for zander’, which is admittedly now usually done on boats fitted with an outboard motor. To make a weighted lure rig, attach 3–6 weighted lures to the main leader at 3–5-metre intervals with side leaders of less than one metre. Use triple swivels on the main leader to attach the side leaders. The main leader should be strong, 0.60–0.70 mm, and the side leaders should be thinner, 0.40–0.45 mm. Attach a plug to the end of the rig. Using this setup, you can reach 8–10 metres, depending on the speed, when you let out 20–30 metres of the main line. The weighted lure rig will fish for an extensive layer of water from just below the surface downwards.
Weighted lures
Weighted lures are available from fishing tackle shops in the Tampere Region, both in traditional nickel-plated ‘ferrule’ models (cornet, "ruutti"), made by local craftspeople, and in painted propeller versions. The non-propeller model swims in a searching and rocking manner. The model equipped with a propeller swims more straight and will probably make more noise under the water. There is a range of colours available to suit all tastes. The lures used for spinning zander in early summer are jigs; special balanced lures can also be used in late summer in deeper waters, although few people use these nowadays. Lures suitable for jigging and ice-fishing include vertical jigging lures, big balanced sinking lures and weighted lures.
Softbaits for zander.
Long traditions in lure-making
The City of Tampere, lying on an isthmus between two lakes, has played a key role in the history of Finnish lure-making. The rapid strengthening of zander stocks in the early 1990’s, a massive recovery of zander on many lakes from a decline that had lasted decades, gave an impetus to redevelopment of zander lures. Once again, zander is the most popular game species and there is plenty of interest in effective zander lures. The following passages provide a couple of examples of such lures.
Merimetso lures.
Merimetso lures hook zander
The Merimetso lure can be characterised as being perhaps the most popular zander lure in the Tampere Region. The lure was developed by Ilmari Ladau, who explains that production started in the 1980’s. The final spark was kindled on a test trip to the Koljonselkä area of Lake Näsijärvi, when a self-made plug (wobbler) caught a metre-long pike and two brown trout.

Merimetso lures come in six lengths, ranging from 4.5 to 13 cm. The smallest model is mostly designed for use on rapids. The 7–9 cm models are best suited for trolling salmonoids, but they have been known to catch quite big zander too. The 11 cm Merimetso is reputed to be the meanest zander lure around.

There are more than a hundred colours in continuous serial production. Natural colours, such as black-silver and blue-silver, are popular. Fluorescent colours are favoured in particular by people fishing for zander in muddy waters.
Uskali cornet (ruutti).
Weighted lures lowered to zanders’ swimming depth
One of the most traditional and interesting zander lures is the ‘cornet’ (ruutti), a special weighted lure originating in Tampere that dates all the way back to the 1930’s. A renowned lure-maker, Nestori Uskali, got the idea for his lure model while kindling a fire in a stove using birch bark. As the piece of bark shrivelled up into the shape of a cone, Nestori uttered, ‘That’s it!’

Nestori’s son Seppo Uskali has developed the lure further to better suit trolling – a larger model, measuring 7 cm and 45 grams, first saw the light of day in the mid-90’s. For use when trolling, you make a rig with 5 or 6 cornet lures that scours a 5-metre layer of water. Seppo’s rig consists of 2–6 cornet lures attached with side leaders and swivels to a 0.60 mm main leader at just under 4-metre intervals. The thickness of the monofilament line used for the 70 cm side leaders is 0.35 mm.

The normal trolling depth in midsummer is 3–8 metres. Good spots include deeps next to mid-lake shallows. It’s worth going through the edges of banks and gorges of shallows with a fine-tooth comb. At nightfall, waters above ridges are the places where big fish bite.