April on the Azov estuaries

April on the Azov estuariesEvery April we set off on a small company to the Azov estuaries. It is difficult to remember what brought us to these parts for the first time, but now, knowing all the charm of local fishing, we drop everything and rush into the green and sunny world of the spring Kuban. It was warm to our departure to Moscow, but in some places along the M4 highway there was snow in the ravines – spring was clearly late. Usually in mid-April, gardens bloom in full in the Kuban, but this time only the grass turned green in some places, and the buds barely blossomed in the trees. The goal of our journey was to base on the well-known estuary Bolshoi Gorky. Fishing has already been opened here and boats were being handed out, and on other estuaries the boat stations were closed – please catch, but only from the shore.

Over the past year, much has changed in the estuary. We dug up three new canals to the sea, and the water became noticeably saltier. This was clearly seen by the hooks: after a couple of fishing trips, even those chromed on the sting appeared rust. Which, of course, did not please. However, there was a plus: the estuary ceased to overgrow. Previously, it was almost completely covered by grass, but this time it occupied only up to a third of the water area, and even the smallest areas. In this regard, the species composition of fish in the estuary has changed. There was a pike perch, and quite a normal size, 1.5-2 kg, but perch disappeared. Although the pike remained, however, it did not take any bait on any of the most workers in these places.

Small perch was well caught on turntables in canals, where the water was much warmer. Together with him they pecked very small, up to 100 g, perches: to catch such a sin. However, usually they were able to carefully remove them from the hook without damaging them. Despite the abundance of perches, nothing larger than 70 g came across, so they also had to be carefully released. The weather clearly influenced the behavior of fish: at night the air temperature dropped to -5, during the day it was 8-10 degrees Celsius with a strong wind. And only one day he blew, as it should be at that time, from Azov, and the rest was constantly changing. Before leaving, having studied the long-term forecast, we captured winter thermal underwear, which turned out to be very useful. Fleece suits were put on over him, but this was not enough: they also had to wear wind protection. In bright sunshine and cold wind, we were spinning like barbecue on the grill: he warmed his back in the sun – he turned to warm his frozen face.

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A powerful cold cyclone prevented the water from warming up, and the pike was inactive. She took only exits at individual points. Moreover, as soon as the wind died down, the bites completely stopped. We did not find a large pike, there were specimens of up to 2 kg. Unlike previous years, this time the pike pecked at a mine and only with twitching. Only two we caught poppers under the wall of reeds, which protected from the wind. Everything said that almost all the pike stock was piled in reeds, where the water was almost not mixed and was much warmer. It seems that the pike in the reeds just warmed up, and therefore did not respond to bait. In any case, attempts to catch her there on various incoherents did not yield results.

In open areas of the estuary, pike perch occasionally came across, but he also took outs and again only in mines. No other lures interested him. The average estuary depth is 1.5 m, so models with a depth of up to a meter were suitable. Zander was indifferent to the color of the bait: all colors worked, from white to acid. But it wasn’t easier from such an omnivorous: zander actively moved throughout the water area and it was necessary to be at the right time in the right place. Given that there are practically no landmarks on the estuaries, I had to rely on previous experience and intuition. All surrounding estuaries are connected. Bolshoi Gorky passes into Maliy, then Krugly goes through the channel, and then Maliy and Bolshaya Chervonny. In the last two fish there were much more, but with a strong wind the path turned into real hard labor. True, fishing in the nearest estuaries required a lot of physical effort.

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The fish was unusually inactive, but you could put up with this. It got worse when a gale rose and boats were banned from entering the estuaries. This was signaled by a black ball raised on the flagpole of the base. The "black mark" sagged for three days. Of course, we just couldn’t sit there and went fishing for carp in the duct. Occupation is fun, but tired of quickly. As a result, unable to withstand the constant whistling of the wind, we decided to leave in the direction of Slavyansk in the Kuban. We found a convenient base, from which it was 50 meters from the estuary. Fishing here turned out to be exactly the same as on Bolshoi Gorky: pike, pike perch, and also there is no perch. And although these bases are separated by a decent distance, the fish were caught according to the same pattern: both pike and pike perch were taken only in places and only in a mine with a depth of up to a meter. The most amazing thing is that here, too, our tested for years oscillators, which in the previous years pikes threw themselves on each wiring, did not work at all.

In a new place, we took the soul with float fishing rods. From the estuary there was a canal connecting with a duct going to Azov. The canal and duct were shared by a small gateway, which played an important role in fishing. The fact is that the flow in the channel was constantly changing depending on the ebb and flow in Azov and the surge water. Their combination was simply impossible to predict, so each time I had to go to the gateway and see where the water flows. It depended on where it was worth catching – in the duct or on the channel. If the water went from the estuary to the canal, it was caught in the canal, it went from the canal to the estuary – in the duct. If there was no current, there were few fish in the channel and in the channel, but as soon as the current appeared, large crucian carp and rudd of very decent size began to peck. Our fly-fishing rods were bent to the limit when we had to drag another red-eyed beauty through the reeds – individual specimens weighed up to 600-700 g.

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The rudd pecked at both the worm and maggot. Local maggots do not recognize maggots as nozzles and only catch worms. Moreover, the tackle of local fishermen surprised us: powerful glass-plastic rods four meters long, reel, fishing line 0.35, leashes 0.25 mm, hooks designed for carp, and in addition to everything, a feeder. All this is used as a donkey. There are usually three leashes: two with worms, and a goby perched on a predator is planted on the third. With such tackle, the bite of a carp or rudd had to wait several hours. “No biting,” complained local fishermen. It is possible that in the summer, when carp and carp are taken with might and main, such power of the gear is justified, but in cold water it is not necessary to reckon with it.

We sat nearby and caught on “normal” gear: fly fishing rod, fishing line 0.16, lead 0.14 mm, hook number 8. This, of course, is a bit much for the swing, but we had to take into account that there are 1.5- 2 kg After two balls of good bait, the fish pecked on each cast. Bait was required quite a bit: for three we had 6 kg, and she stayed. The biggest crucian caught 600 grams, but there were cliffs. They planted a whole worm or a brush of maggots – then he took good crucian carp or rudd. If the nozzle was small, it was immediately grabbed by small roach, or a local stencil.

When fishing, time flies quickly, and our trip quietly came to an end. From the point of view of predator fishing, fishing was not very successful, but it was very informative. Before departure, the weather began to improve: it got warmer up to 20 degrees, gardens began to bloom. I was pleased that flower beds with tulips and daffodils bloom everywhere in the Kuban, while there are not even traces of debris on the roadsides. Kuban people are very fond of their land, and it is very nice to be here.

author Vladimir ZAMYSHLYAEV