The reputation of an incredibly voracious predator, exterminating other fish, their larvae and caviar, has taken root behind the rotan-firebrand. The rotan has a very large head, making up almost a third of the entire body length. The wide mouth is provided with brushes of small sharp teeth. Caudal fin rounded, like a loach, ventral fins small, narrow. Body color is predominantly gray-brown. In terms of vitality, it is not inferior to crucian carp. … Another Indian summer has made a noise in the coastal forest. Quietly sad drooping birch trees, maples and poplars. Only from time to time you can hear the yellow leaves coming off the branches with a slight crunch. Cold, uncomfortable. Rarely glance the sun in the breaks of clouds. And in the morning dawns, mists stand above the water and drizzle small lingering rains.
At such a chilly time, my friend and his ten-year-old son Denis and I arrived at a small pond near Moscow, where “His Majesty” rotan has flourished in recent years. Once there was a lot of crucian carp, but times, as they say, are changing. However, this time we are not interested in ratan, not from the gastronomic point of view, but exclusively in the role of a “candidate” for a pike toothy mouth. Today is Thursday, and on Saturday Alexei goes to Meschera to hunt with mugs and zergelits for lake pike. “Where I catch pikes, the problem is live bait,” he says, lighting his pipe. – Rotan – bait suitable, hardy. At the same time, we will make the fate of the local crucian carp easier. ” The appearance of this fish in our reservoirs can be equated with natural disaster. Migrating from the Far East, rotan or, as it is also called, “firebrand” quickly spread to the reservoirs of the European part of Russia. Behind him, the reputation of an incredibly voracious predator, indiscriminately destroying the fry of other fish and his own, has taken root. It reaches a length of 30 cm and a weight of about half a kilogram.
Outwardly, the rotan firebird lives up to its name. He has a disproportionately large head – almost a third of its entire length. The wide mouth is equipped with a brush for small sharp teeth. The tail is round, like a loach, the ventral fins are small, narrow. The body color is mainly dominated by black, brown and gray colors – depending on local conditions. In terms of vitality, rotan is hardly inferior to any other fish. Even in small enclosed bodies of water, it is able to survive in winter troubles, while pike, perch, roach and other fish die. It also saves him that he is able to freeze into ice, falling into suspended animation, and in the spring, when the ice shell melts, he again restores his vital functions. Being a predator, rotan is omnivorous at the same time. It feeds on caviar and fry of other fish, as well as worms, insect larvae and bottom invertebrates.
As for the taste of the meat of this fish, then the opinions of anglers are diametrically opposed. Some eat it, others do not. Once, my wife and I on a small cramped rivulet, which flows into the Klyazma, caught about a hundred rotan. An attempt to fry the peeled and gutted firebrands ended with the fish starting to bounce in a frying pan and wriggling in bizarre poses. Since then, I have not caught rattan for food. Let us return, however, to the lake, for rotan is not only a tenacious and in many ways unique fish. Catching it in its own way is interesting and fascinating. And there’s nothing to talk about children. You should have seen Deniska’s happy eyes when a ratan weighing at least 150 g hung on the hook of his fishing rod!
Of all the fishing methods, in my opinion, the best results when catching this fish can be achieved using a float fishing rod with a dumb snap or a light fishing rod equipped with through-rings, a wire reel and a nod for fishing on a plumb bob. The length of the rod is 4-5 m. So we did. Alexey and his son were armed with fishing rods, and I, as a person less interested, decided to experiment with mormyshki. Only bloodworms were used as bait. When fishing with both a float and a nod, it is important to constantly play the bait, lifting it slightly up and again lowering it to the bottom.
Having moved a hundred meters from the base, I took a fancy to a couple of small snags sticking out of the water among the clearly distinguishable algae of the resta. The depth here was no more than a meter. A few movements with an arrow – and a nod makes a sharp bow. After the rattan is in my hand, I look for my black mormyshka in his mouth and see that she is swallowed too deeply. With the help of tweezers, I unhook the bait with difficulty and throw the fish out: after such a procedure, it is no longer suitable for the role of live bait. I cut off the mormyshka and instead put the “uralka” with a silver crown, but already larger and with a rather long forearm of the hook. Now rotans are detected exclusively over the edge of the lip – that’s what you need! After a couple of hours, about three dozen rotans splashed in the cane. Among them were several “monsters” (by rotan standards) weighing up to 200 g.
Alexey and his little son were caught from the bridges, and also successfully. Denis was so carried away that he did not want to leave the pond. Then the father went to the trick. “Boy,” he said, “is it not time for us to go out into that forest, to make a small fire and to bake a dozen potatoes in ashes and coals?” The young fisherman had to agree. A week later, Alexey called me, who returned from the Meshchersky lakes, and proudly reported:
– Nine “toothy” took, although not very large. The largest is 3.5 kg. It is a pity that you could not come with us.
Yes, indeed, I did not have to catch pike. But I recall in all details that rainy autumn day, when we dragged a little one after another, and at the same time had a wonderful rest.
Open Water Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)