Autumn in the delta

Autumn in the deltaNight Moscow met with a light frost, and yesterday we enjoyed the warm rays of the sun, sweet watermelons and medium-sized fragrant melons. Returning to the Moscow reality, we will only remember and tell our friends about a short extension of the summer. A call from a friend who said we were going fishing in the delta was almost taken by surprise. Feverishly knocking out unfinished business, collecting tackle, and now a caravan of three cars, crossing space and time, carries us in the direction of Astrakhan, to the reed channels and rolls. Naturally, on the way all the talk is only about fishing. It was decided to make the first exit to the water not far from the base, in the Baklanya channel. There are several holes up to 16 m deep, which could give decent trophies. But expectations were not met. Broken weather affected the activity of the predator, fishing turned out to be laborious, and the result of the day was disappointing in terms of the number and size of trophies. A couple of small perch and a few jig-caught pike did not match our fishing ambitions at all, so the next day it was decided to try our luck on the rolls.

In the morning the wind cleared. He ruffled the shallow water rolls with a decent wave, lifted mud and scraps of grass from the bottom. On almost every wire, the tee had a bunch of algae attached to it. The predator was not active, they had to look for it, constantly trying various baits. Poppers, minnows, turntables, shallow vibrators replaced each other. Rare perch bites – and not a single caught pike. And I had to look for the perch. We found the places of its accumulation by chance: the fry, and after it the perch, hid from the big wave behind the walls of the reed. But here, too, the predator pecked sluggishly and rarely. Sometimes he accompanied the turntable to the boat itself, and did not dare to attack. In the Moscow region, trophies weighing 200-300 g are considered quite credible, but here I wanted to catch something heavier.

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The pike is silent. All hope for silicone baits. I put a green 6-centimeter vibrotail with a black back. The eared 10-gram weight will allow the bait to be carried in the water column without clinging to the bottom. This vibrotail has helped me out more than once, and cuts from pike teeth may make it particularly attractive. Throw – and as soon as I closed the bow, there was a blow to the hand. There is! The pike rested for a long time, tried to go into the grass, several times went out to the candle, until it was in the landing net, giving considerable pleasure from playing. I thought that the key was found and all that remained was to consolidate the result, but this pike turned out to be my only worthy trophy for the whole day. My boat companion Denis successfully caught perch, and one “boatswain” obviously pulled half a kilo, but he did not bring satisfaction either. The three boats returned to the base without sleep. Everyone had perches, they had enough ear, but the pike was the only one. In the evening we conducted a debriefing, analyzed our successes and failures, showed a friend the most catchy baits from our arsenals.

The next day just amazed us. Almost every posting brought a pike. Poppers, volkers, silicone, turntables – everything worked. It seemed that the river undertook to correct the impression of the cold reception of the first days. It looked like pikes were standing everywhere, and if we hadn’t let them go, the boats would have drowned from overload. Three- and four-kilogram pikes pecked quite often, but there were no larger ones. The most interesting trophy was a three-kilogram carp with a popper. We all know that many species of fish from the number of traditional vegetarians are not averse to eating the fry that come up on occasion, but so, spectacularly, from the surface. The fishing was clearly a success. Pike cutlets and smoked carp were the perfect end to this day. When you are in these parts, you always want to try to diversify fishing, so the next day we re-equip spinning rods for bombards, knit leashes with flies, microtwisters, vibro-tails and go for rudd. Catching rudd on the Lower Volga, especially in the peals, is considered an uncomplicated activity, but very reckless.

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We anchored behind a reed island: the wave is quieter here, and splashes of fat-eating fish are visible around. To collect it, we use complementary foods, which from time to time we throw in portioned balls at the fishing point. Casting and slow retrieving is all that is needed for successful fishing. Each posting ends with a bite. If you are not in a hurry to play, then the first fish that comes across, twitching on the hook, makes the bait on the remaining leashes move chaotically, and in a few seconds, all the hooks are on the trophy. Each new bite is transmitted by a blow to the hand, forcing the heart to beat faster. Fishing rules allow only fish over 17 cm long, so we release most of the catch back. For a fun activity, time flies by. The bright sun, boundless space, the smell of algae and active biting allow you to forget about the hustle and bustle of a distant metropolis, to which you will have to return in just a couple of days.

I would like to share some observations. Almost all of the pike caught was affected by a small red filamentous parasitic worm that lives under the skin and in the intestines. When cutting, we had to carefully examine each fish and remove unpleasant finds. Driving along the bank to the delta, we saw many bases along the banks, almost every kilometer. Now they are half empty, but nevertheless the fishing press remains quite strong. Maybe that is why we, and not only us, are less and less lucky for large trophies: the fish simply does not have time to grow. And further. In the delta we met families of swans, individual herons, flocks of cormorants, but there were absolutely no ducks or coots. As a local resident told us, two days before the start of the hunt, the duck disappeared. What is this – an experience learned through natural selection that allowed those individuals who fly south earlier than others to survive?

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