This barbed predator is not given to every winter fisherman. However, many do not even suspect that the main component in the hunt for zander is how to find it, and only then you need to take care – what and when to catch. Therefore, there are frequent cases when, upon finding himself in a section of a reservoir where, by definition, there is pike perch, a fisherman, after 2-3 hours of unsuccessful attempts to catch a toothfish, switches to catching other fish. And this happens during several fishing trips, after which the hunt for zander for such a person becomes a kind of taboo. The question of why this is happening cannot be answered in three words, so let's start in order.
A little about the biology of zander
Scientists attribute zander to twilight and nocturnal fish. At the same time, unlike the nocturnal predator – burbot, which rarely switches to the daytime lifestyle, pike perch allows it much more often. Another non-standard feature of this predator is that, as a bottom fish, it quite often hunts in the water column or at the surface, especially in collective attacks on accumulations of bleak. Like all perch, zander lives and earns its livelihood mainly in schools. True, this applies for the most part to small and medium-sized predators. Large individuals prefer proud loneliness more often, of course, with the exception of the spawning period. Depending on the nature of the pond and its food supply, the creepy flocks can vary significantly in number. With an abundance of feed, pike perch grows quite quickly, reaching ten or more kilograms of weight.
There are ponds exclusively with a muddy bottom. We will immediately forget about them, since the zander prefers a solid sandy or gravel bottom. Especially when it comes to the winter period. However, it should not be forgotten that the locations of river, lake, or pike perch inhabiting reservoirs will be different. I had more to catch zander in the winter on such reservoirs as Mozhayskoye, Ruzskoye, Ozerninskoye, Rybinskoye and others. In these reservoirs I know typical zander sites. Usually these are sandy or rocky dumps in depth and the presence of underwater snags, fallen and flooded trees, as well as other shelters is mandatory. Do not forget that in winter fodder fish tries to stay in deep water, where in the bottom layers the highest temperature is about 4 ° C. Here you need to look for zander. On the first and last ice, fattening individuals can go out to irrigation, where the depth is 4–5 m. Therefore, the concept of “pikeperch parking” is quite extensible. During the day, he can rest in the cluttered pits or along the "banks" of the old flooded channels, and at dusk and at night go hunting for fish trifles in the coastal zone. On rivers, the fanged dog adores staying near piles of bridges and breakwaters, along rocky or sandy braids.
In the middle of winter it is easier to catch pike perch in clear frosty weather – in this it is akin to a perch. Although sometimes it’s also excellent in cloudy weather with snowfall and zero or positive air temperature. It all depends on his daily diet. In winter, the metabolism in the body of fish is slower than in other seasons. Zander in this regard is no exception. However, let's not forget that this predator is by no means heat-loving. Comfortable water temperature for him in the summer is not higher than 20 ° C. Below 8 ° C, he feels uncomfortable, and there may be a lull in the bite. The same thing happens when the water temperature goes over 20 ° C. In winter, the situation is different. Most fish, including zander, are forced to adapt to cold water. Therefore, the temperature factor plays a lesser role than in the open water season.
As for the daily diet, this question, in my opinion, is so little studied that fishers are forced to focus on a particular body of water solely through their practice. The assertion that it is preferable to catch a toothfish in the morning and evening dawns is generally true. However, outbreaks of zhor often happen during the day. Why? The point here, apparently, is that under the ice, especially in the middle of winter, pike perch leads a rather sedentary lifestyle, consumes little energy. After another outbreak of zhor, he may not respond to food for several days, ignoring the most seductive proven lures. But now the digestion process is over, and the stupor of the pack is again activated. Now biting begins regardless of the time of day. Hit it – your happiness!
How to catch zander
Compared with the previous century, the arsenal of winter lures for catching predatory fish has been significantly updated. Earlier fishermen-fusses in their overwhelming majority used vertical spinners and the so-called bullet-mirrors with a dead fish landing, but now on the ice you can see fishermen equipped with the most modern lures, including handmade ones.
The success of catching on balancers, it seems to me, is due primarily to the fact that in the water reservoirs frequented by fishermen, pike perch get used to traditional baits, if not to say they are afraid of them. It can be assumed that zander, having reached the age of 5–6 years, has repeatedly dealt with inedible “glands”. In addition, fish hunting, as a rule, in schools, cannot but react to how one of their brethren, after catching the lure, leaves the school, sending danger signals to the others. As a result, the self-preservation instinct is triggered. In the same places where fangs do not experience severe pressure from anglers, metal baubles are still in use. Of course, the balancers have an indisputable advantage in the fact that with their movements during the game they most authentically imitate the behavior of small fish.
The size of pike-perch balances is most often in the range from 5 to 12 cm. Moreover, even a shallow gnarly sometimes clings to a large balancer, especially when fishing at a depth exceeding five meters. The weight of the bait depends on the strength of the current. On reservoirs, I use balancers weighing from 8 to 20 g. As already mentioned, outbreaks of pike perch occur both at dawn and during the day. On some ponds, his feeding occurs at certain hours and with enviable constancy. Experienced anglers take this into account. The technique of catching zander is not much different from perch. First, lower the balancer to the bottom, then raise it by 10-15 cm and make a short wave with a fishing rod. If the bottom is slightly silty, it is sometimes useful to knock on the ground, raising fountains of turbidity. When fishing from ice, it is undesirable for the balancer to quickly write out the “eights” – this is more likely to scare off, rather than attract, a thorny predator. If there are no bites, catch other horizons. Zander hunts not only in the bottom layers of water.
author: Kazantsev V.
We catch from the ice. All Secrets of Winter Fishing (Complete Fishing Guide)
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