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The Zman Trd fished Ned Rig has been a much talked about lure in the last 18 months

There has been a lot of publicity about “ned-rig” lures and the amazing fish (particularly perch) that have been caught using the technique with Z-Man TRD lures. I fished the Ned rig with Trd’s myself and it can be a deadly method for better sized fish, particularly in pressurised waters. I’m no expert though, because by and large, most of my lure fishing these days takes place on canals where perch over 1lb are an exception and although there are a good many bigger zander in these waters, I like catching as many fish as possible and even using the finesse sized Trd’s which are just under 3″ I find that a lot of perch in the 15-25cm category  just peck at the tail and don’t fully inhale the lure, leading to missed bites. So fishing Trd’s has been a bit hit and miss for me and I haven’t really given it the time and effort required for a new method. However the concept of a lure that sits up off the bottom, wafting about enticingly made a lot of sense to me, but ideally I’d like it to be a lure that swims more realistically than a Trd when it’s retrieved and ideally something that is smaller, and less rigid, to make it easier for smaller size perch and zander to inhale it easily. Thankfully that lures exists..it’s the Z-Man Scented Leechz.

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The Leechz is 3″ long but because it relatively flat and tapered it folds very easily and is therefore much easier to engulf for a medium sized perch than an equivalent sized Trd. What’s more the Leechz actually has an amazing, undulating swimming action when you work it with the rod tip on the retrieve, making it just as effective a fish catcher when it’s on the move, as it is when it’s sat, tail-up, on the bottom. Photo 28-01-2017, 11 24 41

Plop a Leechz rigged with a jighead into a beer glass  and you will soon see how effectively the tail stands up, add a few little twitches via the rod tip and you have perch breakfast.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to be fishing with a leech imitation in a canal. Let’s face it, most canals are not exactly bursting at the seems with invertebrates and insect life. Due to the amount of boat traffic that most receive these days, your average canal is muddy and the majority of food stuffs available for a hungry perch are various freshwater shrimps, bloodworm and water woodlice….and leeches ! Catch yourself a pike or a zander in the middle of winter that has been sat on the bottom and what is it covered in ? That’s right…leeches. So it stands to reason that leeches being relatively large and juicy must be a major food source for perch and zander, when they are not busy eating fish. pike leeches

Take a look at canal caught pike or zander in the middle of winter and very often you will find they have a good number of leeches on them like the pike pictured above.

So in theory the Zman Leechz should be fantastic fish catchers in canals…but how has it worked out in practice ? In fact it’s been pretty good. All the evidence we have shows that both perch and zander are “inhalers” so faced with a static or slow moving prey, they tend to just hoover their meal up by expelling water from their gills and sucking the unsuspecting food item into their mouths. This means as anglers we should be making it as easy as possible for them to do just that. That means that most of the time you should be using as light a jig-head as possible when fishing, sticking a 5g or 10g jighead on to your lure just makes it so much harder for the fish you are after to hoover up your lure successfully

Anyone who doubts that perch inhale their prey just needs to watch the start of this video !

So I rigged the Leechz up with 2 and 3 g jigheads for my testing and headed out to a stretch of canal that I have been doing well on lately. I am pleased to say that the lure got pretty much instant success. Hopped slowly and long the bottom with 5-10 second pauses to allow the lure to settle and wave it’s tail around, quickly produced a quality perch, followed by a couple of much smaller ones that would have been much less likely to have been successfully hooked on a full size Trd.

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A quality perch falls for the Leechz

The Zander quickly followed suit and a couple of them fell to the Leechz, while being retrieved as well as when static on the bottom which was nice to see. What was pleasing was that all the fish had totally engulfed the lure and most were hooked fairly far back in their mouths, in fact I missed virtually no hits in the first few hours of testing, but managed to bank a dozen fish. IMG_1705Despite the fact that this fish had a battered tail and was blind in one eye, it still smacked the Leechz hard.

Since that first testing session I have fished with the Leechz a lot, it seems like pretty much the perfect cold water lure as it works best when fished slowly with plenty of pauses, so is ideal for lethargic, winter fish whose metabolism has slowed right down.. Fish it with a nice light jighead of 2-3g that has a decent length of shank and you will find that bites ( or should that be sucks !) are positive and there are very few bumped fish and missed hits. Although I tend to favour the darker more classically leech-like colours I have found that in clearer water the sparkly silver “Blue Steel” colour scheme also works really well, although I suspect the fish think the lure is a small fish, rather than a leech in this case. In conclusion this is a lure that I rarely head to the canal bank without and which I feel really helps me catch more fish in cold conditions when bites can be hard to come by. I’m actually really looking forward to trying it out in the warmer months, when I can move them a bit more quickly, we’ll see if the fish respond just as well !

Zman LeechZ are available from The Lure Lounge, via the link below

GET YOUR LEECHZ HERE !

Photo 28-01-2017, 11 21 09The “Blue Steel” version is a great lure in clearer water and a must for Ben Stiller fans !

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