If, for some reason, the bottom topography is not available to you, there is only one way out – to join the team. But here there are subtleties. The size of the crowd of fishermen in the morning is in no way connected with today's bite: obviously, in this place they caught a good day before and everyone hopes for the continuation of the holiday. Pike perch and bersh are schooling and, as a rule, are in constant motion. Fishermen also follow them, and it is very important to determine the direction of these movements. Take your time to climb into the thick of the fishermen. The lack of fishing experience is critical: you will catch less than the neighbors nearby, and this is guaranteed to spoil your mood and make mistakes. To guess the direction of movement, you need to go behind the backs of most trappers and calmly observe from which edge they often catch, which way they are shifted. Then we just go fifty meters forward along the movement, we drill a series of holes across the stream or dump and, catching them one by one, we find already our fish.
It may be that the handful of anglers do not move. Then you can simply move upstream – in the winter the predator most often slowly shifts against the current. If nevertheless you are irrepressibly drawn to the “thick of events”, do not try to drill close to the most successful fishermen. Firstly, it is unethical, and secondly, it is futile. Pikeperch is not linen or perch; it rarely stands on the wall. The bottom relief is heterogeneous, there are dimples and navels, and the predator is also uneven, stained, and always attached to anomalies of the relief. Catching over such an anomaly also implies such a concept as a "golden hole". If it has already been found before you, there will simply not be any fish nearby. In addition, if an experienced fisherman catches a lure, he collects and holds a fair amount of a predator under his hole. Having drilled 3-5 meters nearby, you can not see a single bite.
Given all this, a distance of fifteen meters is most suitable. It is advisable to guess with the level, that is, the depth of the fishing place, and drill holes upstream or downstream to get on the course of the fish. If you do not have bites, and everyone around you is actively catching, there can be many reasons for this. You are doing something wrong or not quite right. Get away from the crowd and look for fish nearby, where the predator is not so picky and wary due to the abundance of all kinds of baits. There is even a saying in the subject: “In the heap, he bites from someone who has the best lures.”
Search or wait?
The fact that fishing for pikeperch is a constant search is an axiom for any angler, but my long-term observations of very experienced fishermen suggested otherwise and at first seemed paradoxical to me. These masters of their craft move very little on ice, often limited to only one small area and one series of holes, and this is against the background of endless movements of the rest of the fishing brethren! I could not find an explanation for this for a long time. Due to the nature of my character, I am always charged with searching. But the catches of the masters were a very powerful argument not in favor of the search. I was looking for the right approach, met and talked a lot with experienced fishermen. I was looking for secrets to understand the system, the algorithm for their successful fishing. But there was no particular secret.
It’s just that each of these “fish gurus” knows the place of fishing – features of the bottom topography and approximate exit points for the fish. In the morning, when the activity of the predator is maximum and everyone is passionate about fishing, a short search for the most catchy point is carried out. These are places tied to anomalies of the bottom topography. Closer to dinner, the nibble is much weaker and finding a catchy hole is already much more difficult. Fishermen begin to move a lot in search of an inactive predator. Pike perch on the first ice is in constant motion, "walks", as the old fishermen put it. It remains only to wait for his approach. In places with anomalies of the bottom topography, its concentration in this case remains constantly high, although the bite is wavy in nature. The problem of low feed activity of pikeperch is solved by selecting the optimal bait and changing the technique of its animation, and the ability to effectively catch a passive predator has been developed for years.
When a search is needed
A considerable part of the pike perch in the first weeks of fishing is knocked out by the fishermen from ice, but the reservoir area is huge, zones with a rather high concentration of predator and, accordingly, high competition for food are preserved. That is what they must be sought for. Here, the tactics of constant search brings success. Priority areas are those with the smallest traces of fishing. In the drilled areas of ice, the predator is knocked out and small in number, but the food supply remains the same, and the remaining individuals of pike perch need literally half an hour of activity per day to saturate. When there is no food competition, it is very difficult to seduce him with a piece of iron. All fishers on ice can be divided into two unequal groups. The most numerous "ambushes". They expose whole batteries of fishing rods with two or even three lures on each and patiently wait for the fish to approach. Bersh predominates in their catches.
The second, smaller group is the “hijackers." These are pure cobblers, they do not need bersh. In the hands of only one fishing rod with a single lure. The saying about the wolf and legs is about them. You can fish on the Kama or the Volga for years and not learn how to catch zander. Those who want to "improve their skills" should learn from such masters, especially the spinner animation technique. Come, treat yourself to tea, ask for advice, suggest a conversation to evaluate your arsenal of baubles, ask which one is preferable in this place. But the ideal is to get into the group of search engines. You will learn more secrets during the season than in ten years.
To search, or, in our jargon, to “dig,” is best done by a team of 3-5 people, having previously discussed each person’s responsibilities and the search scheme. First of all, the bedrock and dumps are caught. Numerous ditches and backwaters adjacent to the channel are examined. If the weather is kept at a consistently low pressure, a search is promising on vast shallow plateaus and spits adjacent to the channel. Giant flocks of white fish flock there at that time. Searching for zander in such conditions is especially laborious, but the game is worth the candle: it is in such cases that catches are most significant and real trophies come across.
When the fish is found, fishing is very secretive. Hundreds of eyes vigilantly watch the teams of search engines, and if you openly raise three or four pike perches on the ice, and in half an hour at least fifty people will be fishing around you. In general, the situation with hunters for someone else's luck is egregious. Most of them are motorized and deliberately choose such a peculiar fishing style – “hunt for hunters”. The ability to catch stealthily is a whole art, close to the abilities of David Coperfield. A lot of tricks have been invented here, but that's another topic.
This year, the ice was set unusually late, when the pike perch has long switched to the winter schedule. The inexplicably high level of water in the reservoir will also make adjustments to the nature of fishing. All the more interesting will be the search and fishing of zander in new, not typical conditions.
author Igor GOLISHCHENKO