I get a lot of questions from newcomers who just started fishing for predators. When it comes to zander fishing and traces, many anglers are unsure and divided, which is why I wanted to answer the question: Do you need a wire trace for zander?
Most zander venues also hold a lot of pike, which is why you should always use a wire trace when fishing for zander. As the zander is a fairly precautious and line-shy hunter, your best choice is a soft 15lb titanium or steel trace, as these materials are very smooth, flexible, and barely noticeable underwater.
Continue reading this article if you want to know why it’s always in your best interest to use a wire trace when fishing for zander, and what type of wire is the absolute best choice for this predator.
Can Zander Bite Through Fishing Line?
Despite being a predator with plenty of teeth, the zander will not be able to bite through your fishing line. Its canine teeth are more pointy than sharp and spread further apart than the rows and pads of teeth that pike possess.
Zander use their fang-like teeth to grab and hold prey when hunting, sinking them deep into the flesh of the fish that they are going to engulf.
And so, a wire trace is technically not necessary when targeting zander. And while you could use monofilament or thinner fluorocarbon when fishing for zander, it really isn’t a good idea, as most zander venues also contain a considerable population of pike.
Why a Wire Trace Is Essential for Zander Fishing
Pike and zander often share the same habitats and it is because of the pike’s extremely sharp teeth that you simply must use a wire trace even for zander.
A bite-off by a pike is bad news for both you and the fish and should be avoided at all costs. And if you are actively targeting zander, there is simply no way that you won’t catch a few pike!
For you, the angler, it means putting on a new lure or baitfish rig when a pike has bitten off your end-tackle. This will cost you both time, effort, and actual money!
All of which could instead be spent on optimizing your fishing skills, your gear, or just your current session. And very often, it’s not just one pike bite during a fishing trip, but several. Each and everyone of them is a potential risk to your line and end-tackle.
For the fish, the negative impacts can be even greater. A bitten off lure and/ or set of treble hooks can do a lot of damage to a pike, as it is anything but certain that the fish will actually be able to shake off the hooks.
A treble hook stuck in the pike’s gills, gullet or stomach is more often than not a certain death sentence for the fish. If it is “merely” hooked in the mouths or lips, the lure or treble can still seriously impact the fish’s ability to open its mouth, and hence, to feed.
A third very good reason for using wire traces when fishing for zander is that, even if you manage to land a few pike on your monofilament or fluorocarbon trace, they will certainly weaken your trace considerably.
If that line is now compromised when hooking up to a potentially big zander and you happen to lose that fish due to a line break, it would certainly ruin your entire session. Is it really worth taking that risk?
All the above factors can easily be avoided by using zander-adapted wire traces. It’s really your best insurance against pike bites and if you use the right material, you will catch the same amount of Zs that you would without a wire, guaranteed!
If you want to read up on wire traces for pike fishing, make sure to also read this article I wrote: Do You Need a Wire Trace for Pike?
Best Wire Traces for Zander
Best Wire Trace for Lure Fishing
The Daiwa Prorex 7×7 titanium wire must be the best trace on the market! It’s an incredibly strong and smooth wire material that will give your lures the best possible presentation.
Thanks to its 49 strands, it has an unbelievable flexibility to it, and for being a 15lb trace, it is remarkably thin. These feature are undoubtedly highly advantageous when it comes to lure fishing for zander, as you want as little visibility and stiffness as possible.
At the same time, the Prorex won’t stretch as much as other wires, which will result in a faster and more precise strike and hooking of the fish.
It will simply give you a great feel and a more direct contact to the fish!
The best thing of all, however, must be its price. 50 feet of top-notch and modern titanium wire material for less than £6. Outrageously cheap that is!
Best Wire Trace for Dead and Live Bait
The Drennan Soft Strand is, by far, my favorite wire when fishing with dead or live bait. I use it for both perch, pike, and zander, it’s simply awesome!
When it comes to zander and pike traces, I prefer the knotless knot in order to attach the hooks, as the 15lb (or 28lb for pike) version is a little too thick to be knotted smoothly. The 10lb perch trace, on the other hand, can actually be knotted very smoothly.
Its great flexibility gives the live bait a very natural presentation, as it can swim around freely with the wire attached to it.
Here, a little stretch is actually urged for, as it will buffer the strike and prevent the hooks from being pulled out if you happen to set the strike too hard. The Drennan Soft Strand will give you that stretch!
I personally also like its green color, especially when it comes to the zander and its sharp eyesight. It’s probably just psychological, but it helps me to fish more confident for the zander, which at times can be a fairly tricky fish to catch.
All in all, when zander fishing with baitfish on the float or bottom, the Soft Strand is the perfect choice of wire!
How Long Should a Zander Trace Be?
Once again, this really only depends on the possible pike bites that you may get when fishing for zander. Really, the same lengths that you would normally use for pike wire traces can also be applied to your zander wires:
|Dead or Live Bait Fishing||15-25”|
When it comes to fishing with lures, the length mainly depends on your retrieve speed and lure size.
A short trace length of about 10 inches fits bigger lures that are retrieved at a faster speed (for example trolled crankbaits), as there is a lower risk for a pike actually being able to engulf the entire bait and swallow it up to your mainline.
Longer traces of up to 15 inches are better suited for small to medium-sized lures or baits and an either static or slow to medium retrieve speed (e.g. zig-zag fished soft baits or dead bait on the bottom).
Especially bigger pike can easily inhale smaller and lighter lures or baitfish off the bottom and hence, the risk for them to swallow and to possibly get to your mainline is definitely higher.
Wire vs Fluorocarbon for Zander Fishing
More and more anglers resort to using thicker fluorocarbon when lure fishing for zander, but there is really no need to take that risk if you ask me!
For one thing, modern wire material is extremely soft and barely visible underwater, which makes using fluorocarbon practically obsolete. Additionally, wire material is not as expensive as it used to be, so there is no economical disadvantage either.
For another thing, fluorocarbon line fished off the bottom is actually more visible than people commonly assume, especially the thicker kind that many anglers use in order to lower the risk for bite-offs by pike.
While it is practically invisible when being on or very close to the bottom, fluorocarbon line is actually very visible when being fished off the bottom. As it is basically transparent, light actually passes both into and through it, making it stick out visibly in the water.
Hence, it is actually a really bad choice when it comes to zander fishing, especially in clear water conditions. When it comes to the zander, you really want to avoid fishing lines or traces that are too visible, as this species has a highly enhanced eyesight.
Featured image courtesy of Sam Moore