Zander anglers are up in arms after a West Midlands angler fishing a private stretch of the River Severn in the close season caught and killed a spawnbound 17lb 8oz zander.

The angler, Halesowen’s Christopher Charles, listed the catch date as March 30, two weeks after the rivers officially shut down to coarse angling.

He caught the monster fish on legered gudgeon on size 2 trebles and 15lb line, and it’s now in his freezer.

“I still have the fish in the freezer,” lorry driver Chris told Angler’s Mail. “I don’t want so many killer fish taking over our waterways. My opinion is zander should never have been introduced into this country.”

The incident has sparked scathing criticism from the Zander Anglers Club, with secretary Neville Fickling describing it as “disgraceful”.

However, the EA says that killing zander is not actually an offence. In fact, they say, it is technically an offence to return them, as they are a non native species.

Fishing for eels is allowed in the close season on some rivers, but you have to use certain methods. If ‘eel’ anglers do catch coarse fish, they are supposed to return them straight away. Strangely, the rod licence does not give the dates of the close season – March 15 to June 15 inclusive.

For the full story and opinion, don’t miss next month’s Midland Angler magazine.