I am not a supporter of articles where the obvious truths are thoughtfully presented, but sometimes this cannot be avoided. This article is intended for anglers who have not yet systematized their personal experience in fishing for zander and bersh, as well as for those who are only trying their hand at this fascinating activity. It will be a question of catching these predators from the ice at the Kuibyshev reservoir in Tatarstan. The reservoir is simply huge and quite old, in many ways very similar to other reservoirs in Central Russia. But there are also features. The main one is a large population of zander and bersh, making them the number one target in ice fishing. The combination of very decent depths of the Volga and Kama root channels, sometimes exceeding 25 meters, the flow of these areas, which provides a good oxygen regime under ice, and the presence of vast relatively shallow areas are also special. These are long braids and irrigation, cut by old people and the channels of small rivers, flooded lakes and backwaters.
The reservoir is quite old, and at the bottom there are almost no deep snags and flooded forests. In addition, trawl fishing, which was widely practiced here for many years, deprived the predator of many natural shelters. Predators are forced to constantly move, and according to the tactics of obtaining food, they are pure “hijackers”. Another feature of the reservoir is a huge number of tyulka – a thoroughly proliferated invader. In winter, it serves as the main food of any predator. Pike perch fishing is very popular in the reservoir all year round, but in open water most of the promising places are inaccessible. Without a serious boat, when the excitement is above average, fishing in the "big water" becomes an adventure. On a 30-km water mirror, a wind stronger than 5 m / s easily catches up to more than a meter wave.
Well, in winter, on ice, any section of the reservoir is available for fishing. This leads many thousands of zander fishing enthusiasts to the ice. Fishing is very dynamic, interesting and prey, and the size of the catches can cause a slight shock to a resident of the Moscow region. By the way, many anglers take a bag of sugar with them for fish. I do not presume to discuss the ethics of seizing such a quantity of fish, but there are people who earn a living by fishing and feed their families.
The main objects of fishing are zander and bersh, the fish are very similar in appearance, but different in habits and lifestyle. Bersh is leisurely and accommodating, responsive to any game of bait, will not miss and just hanging at the bottom. By winter, he gathers in numerous flocks and has a clear link to the deepest parts of the reservoir, which he loves for wintering. He leads an almost sedentary lifestyle and rarely rises above the bottom by more than half a meter. Near the bersh, small zander, up to 500 g, always winters. An amazing feature of bersh is the ability to "negotiate" with nets, of which a great many are exposed from the ice. On the net, he practically does not come across and often even uses them, “pressing” feed fish to them. Just a few meters from the edge of the network you can count on a good bite of this predator. Nevertheless, many anglers avoid fishing in such places, and therefore the population of bersh does not knock out and remains quite large.
Pike perch from a kilogram is a completely different fish pelagic in its habits. He is a pure "hijacker", actively moves through the reservoir, using for hunting and channel pits, and extensive shallow braids. During the day, zander can change the hunting horizon several times. Its relatively strict attachment to the bottom remains during the autumn and spring migration. At this time, he moves along the root bed in dense flocks, while continuing to actively eat. These long and extended migrations are clearly dependent on temperature and water level. Zander wintering traditionally takes place at the confluence of the Kama and Volga. Large schools break up here into smaller ones and scatter across many kilometers of space, chasing schools of white fish. In the spring, according to the last and already incorrect ice, the situation is repeated in the reverse order. Passage of zander flocks up the river is always expected by fishermen. This period of winter fishing is the most prey, but it is also the most dangerous.
Now directly about fishing. This case is clearly "contagious." They come to this fishing in different ways: someone was seduced by big catches by friends, someone was bored with white fish. The gears are quite rude and unpretentious: a 0.3 mm monophile or 0.15 cord for advanced ones, heavy spinners and mormyshki, sometimes for 30 grams in weight. Many thousands of fishermen gather on ice. A person who does not have a systematic experience of fishing in such open spaces, the main question – where to look for fish? On the shore is crowded with cars, hundreds of fishermen walk in rows along the ice into the twilight dawn distance. Now the shore has remained far away in the frosty haze. Flat plain ice. The people scatter, forming more or less dense clusters. Where to go? Stay here or walk another kilometer? Here the experience of fishing of past years is invaluable. Most seasoned fishermen jealously guard their secrets. Neophytes rush from crowd to crowd in search of their fish and their happiness. His phantasm is obvious. Of course, the bersh helps out. Given his love for the maximum depths, the search for this predator is not burdensome. With zander, however, everything is much more complicated.
An experienced fisherman, once on the ice, has a clear program in his head: where to go, where to look, what and how to catch. But one experience is not enough – you need more flair and luck. If a person is on ice recently, the task is many times more complicated. Thoughtless winding of kilometers between dense groups of fishermen is a thankless task. Let's start with the main thing – the predatory fish search algorithm. The most important condition is knowledge of the reservoir, even if it is approximate – the open spaces are not for children. It is necessary to clearly navigate the ice: where and how the main channel passes, how ditches and pits are approximately located. And then immediately everything will fall into place – and the location of individual groups of fishermen, and their movement on the ice of the reservoir.
Everything will be suitable for studying the bottom topography: a printout of a line, a BlueChat card on a computer, and a hand-drawn diagram of an experienced friend. For me, at one time, the usual field map of the area before the flooding of the Kuibyshev reservoir was a revelation. It indicates the later flooded settlements and lakes, the elders and the backwaters of the indigenous Kama and the Volga, and much more detailed than in the locality. Much, of course, has changed since then, but that old card helps me out today. But the best thing, of course, is to have a navigator with a loaded location. It will allow you to make an approximate binding of your location to a depth map. Fishing will become meaningful. The search for fish will also be simplified, since pikeperch and bersh on the first ice gravitate toward maximum depths. The presence or absence of flow is secondary.