A narrow specialization in winter fishing, of course, has its undeniable advantages. In this case, preference is given to any one type of fish or tackle. Such an angler knows perfectly well where and when it is best to fish; in his “stash” he always has a lot of ingenious tactics and techniques. Yes, and they call such “specialists” in fishing slang quite respectfully: zander, bream, roach, perch … However, unsuccessful fishing trips among them are quite common. Why? Having almost forty years of ice fishing experience behind me, this time I decided not just to “get away” from monogamous men, but from purely practical reasons: to propose the most rational approaches to winter fishing, pursuing the main goal – how to minimize the number idle forays onto the ice. So, here are some tips.
On reservoirs, for example, near Moscow, experiencing severe pressure, mainly from the poachers who are insolent to the limit, the situation changes so rapidly from year to year that even an experienced winter fisherman should not be trapped. And this is especially true of small closed or low-flowing lakes, quarries, ponds and dams, where fish are supposedly protected by law, but there is no one to protect it. One example. Once my friend and I arrived at the dam along the Kaluzhskoe highway, where a decent roach used to actively take on the first ice. But this time we missed. It turned out that the roach here throughout the summer was “crushed” with nets and destroyed with electric fishing rods. As a result, by winter, fishing was like looking for a black cat in a dark room – especially since it simply isn’t there.
Another point. After spending half a sleepless night on the road, you finally got to the reservoir, where you have often caught zander with zander. The place is familiar to you, catching live bait is not a problem. But you know very well that it is in this snag that the pike perch, as a rule, picks up from 7 to 9 in the morning and about a couple of hours after the onset of evening twilight. In this case, it is more advisable to devote almost the entire daylight hours to catching other fish. If you find a curb at a depth of 3 to 5 m and fish it with a jigging tackle, then you can alternate between scabbard and roach, sometimes perch, not to mention the ruff. This means that the fishing box must have the appropriate set of tackle. Moreover, most often it happens that one fish first comes to the lured place, and then it is replaced by another. Taking advantage of a long pause in the bite, it is useful to put the heels of the girders on the same edge. At one time, on the Ivankovskoye, Vazuzskoye and other reservoirs, I often had to take good pike and pike perch in this way.
In the event that I go to a body of water where different fish are found, my obligatory set of tackle includes rods for fishing with a nod and a jig, for fishing with a float (bream and roach rigs) and for fishing (perch, pike, pike perch), five to six fully equipped vents with spare coils. And, of course, a few rods for delicate fishing, which help me out with a weak bite and on the ponds often visited by anglers. The most common mistake of beginners is excessive perseverance on lured holes with complete barking. True, sometimes patience is rewarded, but practice still shows that with an active search for fish sites (especially on the first ice), the chances of success are immeasurably higher. Another mistake is to catch a flock of fish that has come up clean. “Whisperers” should be left, from time to time giving the hole a rest. How much to lower the bait depends on the activity of the bite and the type of fish. The moment of the next feeding you need to feel that it comes only with experience.
Having found a school of bream with the help of an echo sounder, carefully feed a couple of holes with small bloodworms (20-30 g each) and a couple with bait based on plant components. I do not put the tackle in the holes before the start of fishing, because a jig or a sinker hanging motionless (and most importantly, unnaturally) above the bottom can alert suspicious bream. I fish the holes, alternating the game with a jig with a fishing tackle on a float rig. If the fish does not pick up from the bottom, I strongly advise you to try to play with a “devil” a meter from the bottom and higher.
Well, what to do when a bream flock hovered under the holes, but does not want to feed and peck? For example, with a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure or on a bright sunny day. In this case, you do not need to persist. Of course, it is a pity that the bait is already at the bottom, it is a pity that the bream turned out to be non-taking today. But “waiting for the weather by the sea” is hardly reasonable either. In such situations, experienced anglers, without wasting time and marking the holes with poles, go in search of perch, pike and other fish. And the risk is often justified. And you can return to the well-fed holes by the end of the day. Evening outbreaks of bream biting are by no means uncommon. Of course, such a tactic works only if, before your return, the food does not eat out a trifle or the same breeder, which then leaves for a more feeding place.
I really like catching perch on the first ice. But when your jig gets into an underwater “microdistrict” densely populated with undersized herbaceous grass a little larger than a little finger, fishing quickly gets boring. And every time, taking out the next “minke” on the ice, you ask yourself the question: “Isn’t it better to use you as live bait on a pike gore?” This is what I did, once again arriving on the Nerl in the area of the Sknyatino fishing base. A suitable perch was not taken (or it was not in those places), and no one caught white fish specially here. Therefore, knocking down the excitement for trifles, I shifted to the mouth of the flooded stream and put out the vents. Soon about thirty meters away from me, two fishermen-Muscovites drilled holes over the edge of the flooded ravine and tirelessly began to drag the “sailors”. I walked in circles around the vents. Then I got tired of it, and I went up to the fishermen. We talked quietly for two hours. During this time, they caught a small box of small things and, it seems, were satisfied.
We were about to go to the base when a flag finally flew up on one of my vents. A few minutes later the pike was on the ice. It was a 4.3 kg specimen. The only solid trophy for that fishing trip, but I wouldn’t trade it for three boxes of change.
author – Kazantsev V. – Catching from the ice. All Secrets of Ice Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)