Winter spinning is a very exciting activity, and the ranks of its fans are growing from winter to winter. The popularity of winter spinning is, of course, lower than ice fishing, but this is largely due to the limited number of suitable reservoirs. Going to the winter river, most spinningists do not count on an impressive catch, the main thing is to enjoy doing what you love. Meanwhile, winter is a time when purposeful fishing of a large predator is quite possible, and the probability of catching truly trophy specimens is not only not less, but maybe even greater than in summer.
The reason is that the linen – the main food item of a large predator, both pikeperch and pike, is collected in winter in large schools in certain sections of the river. Belle is kept in packs at other times, but in winter its movements across the reservoir are significantly reduced. Accordingly, the large predator that accompanies the laundry concentrates on the same sites, therefore, the likelihood of catching such specimens increases markedly. Catching a large predator in the winter for spinning has generated many myths. It is believed, for example, that trophies should be sent away from the city, caught at the farthest distance and in the deepest parts of the reservoir. It is also widely believed that a large predator can be attracted only by a bait of the maximum size, moving at a minimum speed. In fact, everything is somewhat different, and my January fishing on the Moscow River, when two pikes of 5 and 10 kg and several pieces of 3 kg were caught in different sections of the river during one week, this is confirmed.
Contrary to popular belief, a trophy specimen of a predator can be caught even in the city or in the immediate vicinity of it. True, this happens quite rarely, but in my opinion this is not due to the lack of large fish, but to the fact that spinningists devote too little time to studying the reservoir and searching for the predator's sites. Meanwhile, without a clear idea of the underwater landscape of specific points of the reservoir, it is simply impossible to determine the most likely sites of a serious predator. Such fish can not be caught "by area" – only aiming.
Therefore, it is necessary to represent not only the depth at the place of fishing or the steepness of the dump, but also the structure of the bottom, the presence of a shell rock and even the position of individual crusts. By the way, it is they who most often serve as the parking lot of a large predator. The whole fish loves snags: this is a good shelter, and an ideal place for an ambush. And among the underwater predators there is a fierce competition for the best places for ambush. This applies to pike and pike perch. A good place provides its owner with constant production with minimal effort. As a result of such competition, the most convenient places are occupied by the largest predators who drive out their weaker competitors.
However, the distribution of large predators of various species has its own characteristics. So, even a trophy pike rarely chooses ambush places at depths over 4 meters. Therefore, catching it in pits and generally at too great a depth simply does not make sense: bites can only be random. And this despite the fact that large pikes really often stay at great depths, but they go to shallow depths to hunt. A convenient place left after a successful hunt usually does not remain empty for long – another predator occupies the free snag. A 10 kg pike was caught on the Moskva River near Voskresensk, more precisely, near the village of Marchugi opposite the confluence of the Nerskaya River. This place is sometimes called pike eldorado. A large pike is attracted to both fresh water and the old channel of the Moscow River, where a lot of whitewash is kept in winter. There are no great depths in this area; fishing is 3-4 m, sometimes 2.5 m, but among snags and backwaters. The channel winds sharply, the bottom is very rugged, with many grooves and pits, where food accumulates, attracting large flocks of leucorrhoea, which is grazed by a large predator.
A 5 kg pike and a few 3 kg were caught in the Chulkovo area, also a place well known among spinning people. There are many steep edges and snags, and most importantly – a high concentration of white, so large pikes are not uncommon. In general, on the Moskva River, in comparison with other rivers, there are a lot of compact places with snag and rugged relief, ideal for parking a large predator. Moreover, such points can be found almost everywhere, and not only in well-known places. However, it must be borne in mind that each point requires its own approach: selection of bait, posting and knowledge of the time the predator goes hunting. And although the behavior of large predators is quite complex, it is quite accessible for study, although very few are purposefully engaged in this. That is why, out of a large number of spinningists, only a few fish well.
Winter spinning, in any case when fishing for large fish, involves the use of jig. Although there is just the opposite opinion, according to which in winter at low temperature the classic jig is inferior to other types of spinning fishing. Proponents of the latter opinion believe that the pullback leash and wobblers are more effective, as they allow you to perform slow wiring. A classic jig, on the contrary, requires quite energetic wiring, and a sluggish predator simply does not have time to react to a fast-moving bait. There is a certain sense in such reasoning, but as applied mainly to small and to a lesser extent medium-sized specimens. It is noticed that medium-sized specimens more often come across on the leash. Although I managed to catch a trophy predator on such installations, the general pattern can still be traced.
Pike perch and perch, perhaps, really prefer a smoother wiring of the bait, which is provided precisely by assemblies with a load and bait spaced a fairly large distance. And the wobbler has a smooth game embedded in its design. However, I have repeatedly been convinced that in the same place the probability of catching a large pike on a jig classic is always higher than on other snap-ins. Moreover, this pattern can be traced throughout the year. The classic jig with bait and cargo-cheburashka allows you to use many different wiring options. In addition to the usual stepwise with equal pauses, this is, in particular, dragging the bait along the bottom with a sharp or smooth separation and pauses of various lengths, in which the bait lies motionless at the bottom. In any case, a large pike, even in winter, will more likely react to a rather aggressive provocative wiring.
So, when fishing near Voskresensk with a maximum depth of 5-6 m and a twister size of 5 cm, I used a 32-gram load. In these conditions, stepped wiring can only be aggressive with a sharp separation of the bait. With loads of 12 and 18 g, the wiring turned out to be completely different, slower, but the 10-pound pike preferred sharp wiring.
The color of the bait in winter conditions plays no less, and perhaps even more, role than in summer. The main reason is the greater transparency of the water. I have long come to the conclusion that in winter, pike is most often provoked by bright, annoying colors. It is primarily bright red, poisonous raspberry and pink. Translucent green, dark green with sparkles, brown work well. But speaking specifically about the big pike, my favorite is the bright red Action Plastics 3FG Twister. And I repeat that I have repeatedly been convinced: with respect to large pike there is no widespread opinion that the larger the bait, the better. Most of the trophies, at least on the Moscow River, were caught on 2-3-inch baits.
In this matter I take a very pragmatic approach: the old reliable Daiwa Power Mesh with a test of 10-60. Perhaps its form is not the most sensitive, but it allows you to work with both light and heavy weights, and most importantly – I personally catch they are very comfortable. Coil – Shimano Ultegra 4000. Cord -Power Pro 0.19 mm with a real test in the region of 7-8 kg. This is quite enough for even 10 kg pike. A metal leash is required. I prefer to make them myself from a guitar string; the leash is 15-20 cm long. The stiff wire does not bother the predator, at least the pike. Small baits require the use of appropriate hooks. I prefer VMC No. 1 doubles. When catching a large pike, even good hooks must be sharpened regularly, otherwise they will not be able to break through a hard mouth.
As I have been convinced more than once, a large pike almost always resists in a certain scenario. After the bite, there is a sharp jerk, in which it can remove up to 15-20 m of the cord. When it comes to her that this does not help, a U-turn follows and the pike goes to the fisherman. When the cord sags, the pike gets a chance to free itself from the hooks, and she often uses it. Near the shore, the pike continues to fight fiercely, rushes from side to side, often floats to the surface and shakes its head with an open mouth. If this does not help, she dutifully goes to the shore. It may seem that the pike has surrendered, but it is not. Under the very shore, at the feet of a fisherman, she turns around and makes a powerful leap into the depths, putting all her strength into it. It is this technique that most often helps the pike to leave. With a short cord, which in addition does not have the ability to cushion, and often has too much friction, the pike either breaks the cord or pulls hooks from its mouth. Such an outcome can be prevented only by loosening the friction clutch as much as possible and holding it with your finger.
I can’t say that trophies are found on every fishing trip. As a rule, pikes weighing under 10 kilograms are caught once or twice during the winter. Almost always, I immediately release them. And the point is not that large pike are inedible – in recent years, the lower reaches of the Moscow River have become noticeably cleaner. This can be proved by the fact that now at a temperature of -15 the river in this region freezes, and only seven or eight years ago it did not freeze even at -30. And the fish stopped smelling. And still I’m letting go, because for me the capture of a worthy specimen means much more than a piece of fried or smoked fish.
author Oleg KAPITANOV