For tilapia

You have to go fishing prepared. On the other hand, if you are not ready, this is not a reason to give up fishing. Work and family do not go well with thoughtful fishing. You catch it on the water for five to seven hours. And you get ready for the upcoming fishing trip and think about it almost all week. It regularly happens that a spouse is upset and asks: “Can you repeat what I just told you?” And you, as if waking up, look at her with a cloudy gaze and realize that you do not remember a single word from her speech. This is not good and must be fought against. But what a struggle there is, because there are feeders, bream, bloodworms and nervous tremors of the top! But it also happens that you find yourself at the water with what came to hand. Something like this happened this time as well: a short training camp, not too long a journey, a meeting, a table, conversations, morning. Everyone, let’s go to Desnogorskoye! And here it is, the bath for the discharge of the inlet channel of the cooling reservoir of the Smolensk NPP. There are dozens of cars in the parking lot, the concrete waterfront is dotted with fishermen and lined with donks.

The Desnogorsk reservoir is intensively heated by the warm waters of the NPP cooling system and is a unique reservoir. Where else in the relatively natural conditions of the middle zone can you find Japanese freshwater shrimp, grass carp, channel catfish, shovelnose, silver carp and, of course, her – tilapia? Exotics are concentrated mainly in the discharge area. In autumn, as the water cools, tilapia gathers in large flocks at the mouth of the canal, and those wishing to fish this tasty fish come here. According to knowledgeable fishermen, a small change of caliber “cat’s happiness” is constantly registered on the discharge, but medium and large tilapia can enter the mouth, or it can remain in the big water – as you are lucky.

The main fishing begins at night, when a shrimp comes out on the coastal sand. It is believed that a large tilapia comes to the shore just behind it. Anyway, the nibble and the presence of shrimp usually coincide. They also catch shrimp. Float gear with fireflies are used. Night swing fishing in late autumn is not for the faint of heart. If the biting does not start before midnight, then only a few remain to wait for the dawn. Companies curling up in the dark invariably forget a lot of useful things on the shore: from knives to buckets of barbecue – to the delight of new teams coming up in the morning. We arrived at the pond at about two in the afternoon. The designated place turned out to be occupied, and, having specified the hour at which it would be vacant, and declaring our right to succession, we settled down in anticipation on a vacant patch.

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I started fishing with a feeder. I disassembled the light stick, threw away the feeder, and appreciated the relief. From the edge of the waterfront there is a sandy shallow two meters deep, no higher than an ordinary boot, teeming with juvenile tilapia and bleak. Further, the bottom drops rather sharply to a depth of 2.5-3 meters and turns into a smooth dump into a deep hole thirty-five meters from the shore. I dismissed the trophy hatching tactics as unacceptable. That is, if you understand who, at what distance, at what time and how exactly to hatch, then the expectation takes on the proper intrigue. Otherwise, you have to gaze sadly at the top or jump around with a camera in an attempt to entertain yourself with vigorous activity. Therefore, I decided to catch what I was catching, and for a start I clipped about twenty meters. I stuffed the feeder, planted some maggots, threw them away.

The bites began immediately, but some timid ones, in the “pulled and hid” style. The cast from the fifth twitch turned into pulling, but the fish still refused to be chopped, although by all indications it should. Finally, fifteen minutes later, I hooked the tilapia a hundred grams that way. The fish is funny. When you pull it out, it cheekily puffs up its dorsal and anal fins and it seems like “two hundred grams for sure!” When I tried to take it into my hand, I immediately found out that the fins of the fish bristle not just like that, but with intent, for it is equipped with thorns from the heart. While you try to grab it more comfortably, you see – it is already off the hook and peeled off. I missed a dozen and a half for fishing. The tilapia’s mouth is healthy, the small hooks in it look unconvincing, so I decided to replace it with number 12 with a wide pod. Strange, but it did not get much better, the implementation of bites did not improve.

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Either it was mostly small tilapia with bleak that pecked, or there are serious nuances in matters of correct striking of this representative of cichlids, but at 20 meters I quickly got tired of catching, and I moved first to a distance of 17, and then 13 meters. At the same time, I did not feel the difference in bite. Occasionally it was possible to hook specimens of 70-100 g and no more. Bites happened most often immediately after the nozzle fell to the bottom. If you didn’t bite right away, then you could wait for a bite for a long time, and it was expressed in single tremors of the tip. Meanwhile, the partner with the six-meter “flapper” was doing much better. On a rather coarse float rig throughout the entire water column, a decent size bleak and tilapia of 50-150 g were caught on maggots. Having torn off the feeder on the hook, I assembled the feeder and laid out the flywheel seven with 0.2 main line and a buoy system float. But as soon as things went smoothly, it was already necessary to run to the vacated “night” place.

It really turned out to be a trump card. It was here that the jet of discharge approached the coast and partially twisted into the return. You throw it two meters to the left – the float bears to the left, you throw it two meters to the right – and it drags to the right. The fish could not but be here, and, of course, it was here. A maggot or a worm on a hook, cast – and now the float begins to squat. Tilapia raised from depth is dark, almost black. When planted in a cage, it rapidly brightens against the background of sand and becomes nondescript whitish. It bites like a crucian carp in ponds: seemingly throughout the entire water column and in no particular horizon. And half a meter from the surface can take, and one and a half meters, and from the bottom on a wire pick up a nozzle.

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The fishing was good and cheerful. It is a pity that the fish is not large. The fishermen who dotted the coast patiently waited for the night, and night came. Together with the night came first rain, and then the wind. Nevertheless, the bright points of the fireflies continued to twinkle on the water surface and sometimes draw luminous lines on the casts with shooting stars. Closer to ten o’clock in the evening, a shrimp came out to the sandbank. They say that in previous years there were more shrimp, but this season you had to work hard to catch it for bait. They catch it with scummers or just with a landing net. Freshwater shrimp looks brutal. In addition to a hefty head with a traditional mustache, it is also equipped with long claws. The size is from 4 to 8 cm. I did not quite understand how to put this miracle on a hook. But I immediately discovered that a swivel in front of the leash is simply necessary.

With the onset of darkness, the bite naturally weakened. The bites are thinned out, and the size of the prey has not generally increased. Until midnight, however, my partner managed to cut a couple of copies of four hundred grams. But fish weighing 500-800 g are considered “correct” tilapia, so we could not consider the task completely completed. Whatever it was, nothing bigger, alas, this time did not bite. A similar situation was observed among hobby colleagues. Nevertheless, I think I went well. I recommend to everyone!

Victor GAVRISTOV