Large pike perch of the Mozhaisk reservoir. Part 1

It’s no secret that autumn is the best time to catch large zander. It can be caught in the summer, but mostly by accident. After several years of catching this predator in the Mozhaisk reservoir, my spinning friends and I realized that systematically large pike perch is caught only in late autumn. Moreover, the point, apparently, is not that he begins to have pre-winter zhor, but that he hunts at this time at the bottom and therefore more often falls for a jig. One has only to clarify that if somewhere in the lower reaches of the Volga, 2-3 kg pike perch are sometimes called trifles, then on the water bodies near Moscow, pike perch is more than one and a half kilograms – this is already a large pike perch. These are, alas, today’s realities.

BROWS OR IRRIGATIONS?

On the Mozhaisk reservoir, fish is everywhere, but in relation to jig fishing, the lower reaches are preferable. The channel is clearly readable there, there are many extended dumps and wide irrigations. And the depths for pike perch are the most suitable: on the riverbed, depending on the water level, up to 17 meters, on irrigation up to 10-12 m. A positive role in the survival of the pike perch is played by the presence of relatively large snagged areas, where fishing with a spinning rod is very difficult, and with a jig is almost impossible. In most of the reservoirs where I have caught zander, the best places are the channel edges. It’s a classic. But on Mozhaika, not only in summer, but often in autumn and even in winter, pike perch also keeps on deep watering. Fishing for pike perch on riverbed dumps is usually successful because the predator lives here constantly throughout the cold time. Even if you do not get a good bite, then you will surely see a few bites. You can almost always find pike perch on the edge, but it takes much more time to search, and the fish are on average smaller.

The channel is not wide, and sometimes it is possible to catch both dumps from one point. But pike perch, as a rule, keeps only on one slope – where there are some snags, large stones or other shelters. If the bottom is clean, then you can only count on small goats, which, apparently, large brothers drive away from more convenient places. Actually, it is not difficult to find good points on the slopes: if hooks begin, then the place should be fished out as carefully as possible. If the situation with catching zander on the sidelines and dumps is quite simple, then on irrigation everything is different. Pike perch does not live there, but only goes out from time to time to hunt. This has both pros and cons. The plus is that large specimens are more often found – this year it was in such places that I caught several pike perch from 4 to 5.5 kg, while on the edges I did not catch any larger than 3 kg. And the downside is that you may not see a single bite at all.

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When the water level changes, pike perch often moves – now to shallow water, then to depth, and sometimes it just rises half-water. Last November there was a case when I caught several good pike perch on the channel edge on one day, but the next day at the same point in half a day I caught only a couple of very small ones. I went for watering, counting on pike, but got on a flock of hungry pike perch. They were “shepherds” – pike-perch accompanying a flock of bream. Then the fishing was successful! This year I became convinced that pike perch can radically change its location even within one day. On one of the last fishing trips, swimming in the morning over the channel edge, I did not see fish symbols on the echo sounder screen at all, but at lunchtime above the same place the echo sounder already recorded a lot of single and large symbols – pike perch, one must think.

At that moment I had no opportunity to fish, and when I returned here in the evening, I again did not see any symbols at the bottom. But the echo sounder found large fish at a depth of 6-7 meters. This fall, the situation for jig fishing on Mozhaika is generally quite difficult. At first, the water was actively dumped, and the level dropped by two meters, now the water began to rise. Perhaps for this reason, although November will end soon, the echo sounder most often shows the presence of large fish in the middle layers, at 5-6 meters.

BOTTOM SOFT OR HARD?

There is another deviation from the classic scheme in jig fishing on Mozhaika. It is believed that pike perch should be found on a hard bottom. But, as it turned out, this rule is not always true. It began with the fact that one of the areas where the bottom “did not knock” at all, I considered purely pike. Once in August, relying on pike here, to my surprise, I caught a 2 kg pike perch, then a dozen small ones. The bottom was still felt – most likely, it was clay, covered with a small layer of silt. Later, I caught pike perch more than once, including weighing over 2 kg, in areas with a soft bottom. The only condition is that there should be an edge, a braid, or just an area with a hard bottom nearby. That pike perch does not avoid soft ground was a real discovery for me. Already this year, I received a vivid confirmation of this pattern: on one of the October fishing trips, I got to the exit of a different-sized pike perch exactly on an area with a soft bottom. It was a completely even watering without edges and even without snags, the depth was about 11 m. The biting lasted for an hour and a half, and there were zander from 200 grams to 4.7 kg. And not a single perch or pike. As I later found out, from the place where the bites were going, to the edge of the hard edge was 60-70 m.

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Bites

You expect a powerful attack and a reliable grip from a large pike perch. This is often the case, but lately the bites of a seasoned pike perch are more and more often manifested as a very light “melons-melons” Apparently, the large pike perch on Mozhaika has grown wiser. Repeatedly “pricked” by trollers, he does not at all seek to grab and swallow everything that moves. And often a large pike perch takes in another peculiar way – before an attack, he butts the bait several times. This is transmitted to the rod as a noticeable vibration, but not sharp, but in the form of a push. If you do not sweep, then after one or two steps the push can be repeated. Sometimes it happens three times on one wire. After that, the pike perch either grabs the bait or presses it to the bottom.

As a rule, it is useless to hook when pushing, it is better to let the bait freeze at the bottom. Even if the hooking is done, but did not bring any result, it is worth, having exhausted the slack, hold the bait in place for 5-7 seconds. I have never had a case when a large pike perch attacked during this pause, but when the wiring was resumed or on the next step, there were bites repeatedly. It should be borne in mind that the bite, so to speak, “in the mouth” and pressing to the bottom are fundamentally different in the sensations transmitted by the rod. Pinching is most often perceived as a “second bottom” – it seems that the bait has touched the bottom. It seems that the pike perch does not necessarily press the bait, but as if it is approaching, crawling over it, moving rather not it, but the cord.

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Lures

If we talk about the most catchy baits, then the whole last autumn the yellowish-sandy foam rubber undoubtedly was in the lead, which, apparently, reminded the predator of a ruff. And the pike perch, regardless of size – and the largest pulled by 5.5 kg – grabbed the bait by the tail. We noticed this style already at the beginning of September, and we had to urgently switch to compound lures equipped with a tail hook. On one of the fishing trips, out of 12 pike perch, only two were caught on the front double, and not the largest. Much has changed this year: the gerbils have stopped working, and most of the bites now go to white lures, and not to the tail, but to the head. The reason is obvious enough. During the summer heat, the shores of the reservoir were clogged with a dead ruff – apparently, its livestock has greatly decreased, and, judging by the contents of the stomachs of gutted fish, the food for large pike perch is now served by silver bream or roach.

This is confirmed by the fact that throughout the autumn until recently, a large pike perch at dusk arranged for a hunt near the surface. Apparently, he simply did not find food fish (ruff) at the bottom and was forced to rise to the middle layers and even to the surface in search of leucorrhoea. For the same reason, the size of the bait has also changed: if earlier the “fish” of 6-7 cm was optimal, now it is a couple of centimeters more.

Vitaly KOZLOV