At the end of November, if it is, of course, not as warm as the current one, off-season usually sets in near Moscow. It becomes impossible to catch summer gear, and you have to wait until sufficiently strong ice has accumulated, at least 5 cm thick. The beginning of winter each time poses the same questions for fishermen: where to open the season, what gear to catch, how to take care of safety? The questions are simple, but you need to answer them accurately, otherwise you can be left without a catch – this is in the best case, and in the worst – to fall under the ice with all the ensuing consequences. In general, the first ice does not rise simultaneously in different bodies of water. First, this happens on small, then, sometimes much later, on large rivers and reservoirs: a large volume of water cools more slowly. In addition, in small ponds and lakes, the influence of wind is almost imperceptible, and in large reservoirs it breaks young ice, delaying ice formation. Ice broken by the wind rises unevenly, which makes it very dangerous.
These are small lakes, ponds, spring-loaded sections of small rivers. Preference should be given to flowing water bodies, since on stagnants the main prey of the angler is rotan, the fish is not the most interesting, although it also has its lovers. Unfortunately, the times have passed when in the Moscow Region it was very successful to fish on small ponds on the first ice: because of their size, such ponds are very vulnerable, they are the first to suffer from poachers and excessive fishing presses. Therefore, they can only rely on catching medium-sized fish. Pike is no exception: in small ponds, it simply does not grow to a serious size. Or you need to look for heavily enclosed bodies of water, which are much more difficult to knock out.
Features of small reservoirs determine the choice of gear. All pike perch balancers and spinners can be set aside: their time will come when the reservoir freezes. You can also postpone a fishing rod. The main tackle will be a nodding fishing rod with mormyshka. On the first ice, the fish is active and takes well for the game, but you can also fish for stanchion. The basis of the catch is roach and perch, often come across a rattan, sometimes crucian carp. In those reservoirs where there is a lot of it, one fishing rod should immediately be set up for a stanchion: often crucian carp are no worse than other fish, and quite worthy specimens are found.
Tackles and Lures
The best option is a balalaika fishing rod with a fishing line of 0.09-0.10 mm. Such tackle has to be caught in water bodies near Moscow, and in other regions where the fish is not so intimidated, it is more active and large, the fishing line can be thicker. The choice of mormyshka depends on the depth. In small water bodies, it rarely exceeds 4-5 m, and most often 2-3 m, even in the dam zone. So mormyshka with a diameter of 2-3 mm is the most suitable. Color does not play a special role: if fishing comes with a nozzle, the fish responds more to it. It is advisable to plant not one bloodworm on the first ice, but two or three, since active fish, regardless of size, usually prefer a larger nozzle. You can also catch non-stick mormyshki – the choice depends on the preferences of the angler. Many fans catch active fish on small devils. It is also possible to successfully open the season with small spinners and balancers: perch, sometimes a small pike, go well on them, and the omnipresent rotan comes across.
Despite the fact that the fish is active, bait is still worth using. This primarily applies to fishing roaches and crucian carp. But on the first ice, the task of bait is not so much to collect fish as to keep under the hole. You can add bloodworms to bait. Given the shallow depth, it is better to throw bait directly into the hole. The best option is to feed 5-6 holes, and then check them, catching all the horizons. Often bites begin immediately under the ice. Of course, crucian carp will not go up for bait, but roach and, oddly enough, perch react very actively to it. Perch in general is a curious fish, and sinking particles of bait attract it. Therefore, after each fish caught it is useful to throw a pinch of feed into the hole. What bait to use – dry or soaked? In my opinion, it’s better to do this: first breed a little bait, add the forage bloodworm and carry out the initial feeding, and in the course of fishing, feed it with dry bait, which gradually swells and slowly drops.
It’s better to go out on the first ice light, taking as few things as possible. Nevertheless, the fishing box is still worth taking. The fact is that water comes out through the holes and it is much more comfortable to catch from a box than from a knee. It is better to go on the first ice in rubber boots, although you probably should not wear swamps. The reason is that access to the ice can be very difficult. Almost always, it is thicker near the shore than a dozen meters further, but it has a lot of debris and air bubbles that weaken the ice greatly. Therefore, the first steps are the most dangerous. Even if the foot in wet shoes goes into the water ankle-deep, this is enough to spoil the fishing. Going to the first ice, it is highly desirable to grab a spare set of shoes, and if possible clothing.
Fishing on the first ice is funny, prey, but not so simple. If the young ice is thin and transparent, the fish sees the fisherman well, therefore it is better to catch at a depth of at least 1.5 m: there the fish is less afraid. With transparent ice, you should try to move less or do it very carefully. When the ice rises cloudy, it’s kind of good – the fish are less scared, but such ice is much weaker, and it’s dangerous to go out at 5 cm thick – it’s better to wait until it grows to 7-8 cm. Usually, on any pond the ice rises first in the bays, in shallow water. It is safer to catch here, and there is enough fish. It makes no sense to start fishing in the near-dam zone: ice is weaker than in shallow water, and fish, most likely, no more.
With all the excitement of fishing on the first ice, we must not forget about safety measures. Moreover, it should come first. Most often, safety techniques for catching on the first ice involves the presence of an ice pick, life buoys, a rope with a small weight and a ban on going out alone. All this is correct, but now other ways of ensuring security have appeared. Some anglers put on a life jacket in which they catch from a boat. Of course, he restricts the movement a little, but serves as a good guarantee. If possible, wear a float suit that allows you to get out of the water even in very difficult conditions.
A classic safety element such as a rope with a weight can be used more efficiently than when it simply lies in your pocket. In hazardous areas, for example, I tie a sling, which in summer serves as my anchor end, to something reliable on the shore — a tree, a snag, a large stone. The sling is wound in a ball and is in a plastic bucket: this way it is always at hand and, if something happens, will help to get ashore. Rescuers should not be neglected either. In extreme cases, they can be replaced by a screwdriver or knife.
Even if the ice is thin, making holes in the hole is more convenient than on foot. However, it is necessary to test the strength of ice. When fishing with a company, one ice pick is enough for everyone: it is especially necessary for safe entry on ice and access to shore. Everyone knows that the most effective fishing for perch is in grass or sticking out snags. But we must remember that the ice in such places is always weaker, so be sure to check the approach to snags on foot, and I would not recommend approaching the thickets of grass sticking out over the ice. The rule not to go on the first ice alone should become law. Almost all the tragedies happen to those who either drink on ice, or go on it alone. In no case can neither be done either.
author Roman BUTUZOV