In October, frosts become the norm. Pre-winter changes are taking place on reservoirs – they can be seen even with the naked eye. Vast thickets of surface pondweeds disappeared, underwater grass sank closer to the bottom, and fields of horsetails began to come across less often. Only the reeds are still green, although their stems have become stiffer. Mid-October is a good time to go to the river for pike. Early in the morning with a friend, we start from the sandy spit, intending to raft along the Ugra river all day. There are a lot of new wobblers and oscillators in the boxes, which are to be tested in practice. In a separate – “top” – box, only the best, proven baits over the years. They go into battle only if newbies fail. The water in the river is low and clear. On the first roll with a decent depth I see small accumulations of chub. In flocks of 5-10 pieces, they slowly move along the bottom and quickly hide under the evergreen algae when the boat approaches. There would be time and chub lures, it would be possible to get stuck for half an hour, but today I have no time for chubs …
The boat, caught up by the current, quickly goes down, scaring away with its shadow the next chubs, minnows and roaches. The roll ends, and a wide stretch with a slow current begins. Standing in the boat, I can clearly see through the polarizing glasses the yellow sandbank along the left bank and the dark ditch along the right. I row to the right, to the willow bushes hanging in the water. Below them, the depth is about one and a half meters, and if you look closely, you can see sluggishly swaying burdocks of water lilies carpeted down the bottom. I put the boat on the coastal stream, and it begins to be dragged along the coast. The wind speeds up the process, but you shouldn’t use the anchor when fishing with rafting, although you really want to lower it every time you approach an interesting place. With a heavy anchor you will suffer at constant stops, which, it should be noted, often end with the capture of just one “lace”, and the light one immediately starts jumping over the stones, scaring away all living things in the area with its roar.
Therefore, the technique of rafting looks something like this: you swim along the coastline and try to make the maximum number of casts in promising places. There are not many such places, but this is good – if there were more of them, I would not have time to catch many of them. As a rule, pike is located in coastal vegetation at a depth of up to one and a half meters, but you should not lose sight of the dumps bordering on the shoals. There, at the lower edge, the most active fish may be located. On the Ugra and some other similar rivers, I more than once observed how a large pike, like a nocturnal pike perch, prowls in search of prey, but only it does it in broad daylight.
Wobblers in such conditions are used with a depth of 20 cm to 1.8-2.5 m. Why a wobbler, and, for example, not a spinner, jig or an oscillating spoon? Firstly, a wobbler, especially a minnow, allows you to fish the territory at a fast pace. If you take a suspender, then it is capable of an abrupt stop with minimal loss of the wiring horizon. The jig involves the free fall of the bait, so the time for casting and wiring the jig takes about one and a half times more than when fishing with a wobbler. In addition, in such places, with abundant bottom grass, the jig is desirable in a non-catching version, which inevitably involves a large percentage of idle bites. There is also an installation with a diverter leash, which is characterized by excellent animation of the bait, but it is difficult for them to catch here, because they are pinpoint fishing, and the casting distance usually does not exceed 10, very rarely 30 meters. A wobbler in these conditions is the most effective bait. And it lures the fish out of algae, and allows you to control the wiring from start to finish. Of course, a lot depends on the model, but, as I was convinced, one should not exaggerate the catchiness of some and the unsuitability of other models.
I make several casts along the coast, and the first pike out does not keep me waiting long. The fish is small, only six hundred grams, and when, wagging its tail goodbye, it hides in the bottom grass, I decide to put aside the box with the “old guard”: since the pike is active, then it is worth trying the obvious losers, which, as they say, did not go before … I give Sergei, my partner, who has recently become addicted to spinning, a box with favorites, and I myself choose a dozen wobblers, which I previously recorded as outsiders. It would seem that mediocre minnows can oppose such “giants” as Jib, TD minnow 1091, Orbit, Hardcore, Magallon and the like? As it turned out – they can, and how! Maybe my “losers” stopped just in front of the pike ambush – in any case I tried to do so – but I caught with each of the baits, and some even very well.
Sergei had just begun to comprehend all the subtleties of twitching, and he did not bite in any way. But finally the first doublet! We often have several such doublets during one fishing trip. Pike fishing in pairs is the culmination of Ugrian fishing. The pike is not large, up to 1.5 kg, but active after a cold snap. She regularly rides on candles, splashing our happy faces. Contrary to the autumn canons, shallow areas work great: pikes start from them like green torpedoes. There were quite a few pikes in the pits at the bends of the channel, although these, from the depths, were the largest in our catches. There was also one way out of a real “mother”, who, with a sharp spin, went under the boat, and did not take the seductive Magallon. The transparency of the water is not only beneficial for fishermen …
For half a day, a few more top-performing models are added to the box with the “guard”. I switch to fishing for the soul and put on the “one and a half meter” Pitty from Liberty. Last time on high water, he proved his place in the main box. The lure is gently lowered into the water, and I notice that at a distance of 25 meters with soft twitching, the wobbler has a very interesting game. The pike, apparently, has the same opinion: I see how she misses three times, but still finishes off the insolent person passing through her possession. The fish responds well to fast travel. One episode is engraved in the memory in detail. I drive Shimanovskiy “meter” Cardiff from the coastal strip of algae. The wobbler is already ten meters from the shore, above the bare sandy bottom. Suddenly I notice a pike separating from the water lilies at high speed and going across the bait. An abrupt stop – how can she do that ?! – and an instant hit! The most interesting thing is that the fish confidently walked to the bait and, at a very short distance, was not afraid of either the boat or me, standing in full growth. For her courage, of course, I let her go.
The tailwind interferes greatly. Promising places rush past at too high a speed, and if, when casting, the wobbler overflows or flew over the reeds, then the place is hopelessly ruined. I save myself from overlaps with a rigid leash and removing the ring from the loop of the wobbler. When casting against the wind, the magnetic system of the balls, which is, in particular, Yo-Zuri, helps a lot. What I like about small rivers is the wide variety of fishing conditions. During the day, the wind blew in the back at one time, but the river turned – and it is gone, and we are just in ideal conditions for an hour and a half. At the next turn, the wind is already oncoming and you have to sit down at the oars to pass along the coast. As a result, at the end of the day, you feel as if you have been on several fishing trips in a row. At the end of the rafting in the pit we catch a couple of fish at the same time. One on Jib, the other on TD 1091, which the pike swallowed to its gills. It is pointless to let her go, so we leave it for dinner. Fishing was a success, and I hope it will not be the last one before the freeze-up.