If you have then you’re in the minority. But you’re about to be even more knowledgeable than them… many who DO know this fish – which is somewhere between a pike and a perch – believe it to be a hybrid, but actually it’s entirely unique, sharing attributes from both.
Quoting The Penguin Book of Fish at me, James said: “The Duke of Bedford, a very keen fisherman and naturalist, first introduced the voracious pike/perch [aka Zander] into the lakes at Woburn Abbey in 1910. In common with both pike and perch they are true predators, always ready to attack any fish small enough to be swallowed.
“In 1951, about 30 young specimens of 5 inches in length were introduced to the Claydon lakes near Winslow, where a few fairly large specimens have since been caught, including an 8 pounder — the largest recorded in this country so far.” (This was a very old edition of The Penguin Book of Fish. In August 2012, Dave Palmer set the UK record with a 20 pounder caught in the Severn.)
The Fish Society has just taken delivery of some handsome zander fillets which are here. Not from the Severn, nor Woburn nor Wilmslow. You’ll never guess… “We got these from Kazakhstan, and they are really fantastic looking pieces of fish. Imagine a nice big cod fillet, about 15 inches long, with an interesting skin-side – sort of purple and yellow and grey, instead of the green of cod. The fish are much bigger than I anticipated, so one large fillet is going to feed two people very substantially.”