How many of us have not encountered a situation where most bites of both peaceful and predatory fish are not fixed during fishing at the bottom, but when we raise mormyshka or spinner – intentionally or accidentally – several meters above the bottom? And how many times did it happen that the fish hooked even at that moment when the bait was at the immersion stage? You lower the mormyshka, and then she took it and stopped, although it seems to be far from the bottom. You pull the fishing line, and it is filled with a pleasant live weight.
Fish is looking for better
All the same random catches in the phase of lowering the bait to the bottom forced me to engage in targeted fishing in the middle of the water. One could close his eyes to this one or another. But these cases began to be repeated with enviable constancy, and not only when I was set to catch a flock of perch, which occupied all layers of water from ice to the bottom, but also when I was looking for large single roach or pike perch. Any fish can leave the bottom layers for some reason, which is not always understood by us, ordinary fishermen. A competent ichthyologist could help in this matter. Not being such, I still try to make some assumptions about this.
The first and main reason I see oxygen starvation. The lower layers of the water, although warmer and therefore more comfortable for the fish, nevertheless, the oxygen content in them is lower than in the upper layers of the water. This should be especially pronounced in those areas where the processes of decay of flooded trees, shrubs, and algae are taking place. If we talk about predatory fish, then the root cause may be the departure of fodder objects, in this case fry and tyulka, from the bottom layers to the upper. A predator rises for food. Even conditionally peaceful fish can go just for fry. In general, on the Volga, the principle of “where the tyulka is, there is all the fish,” no one disputes. Of course, there may be some other reasons forcing the fish to feed not at the bottom, but in the middle. The main thing for us to remember is that the fish is looking for where is better, and not where deeper!
What does “half-water” mean?
To begin with, let's deal with the very meaning of this word, determine the boundaries of this very horizon. According to my concepts, the level called “half-waters” begins one and a half to two meters from the ice and ends two meters from the bottom – this is a universal border for areas with depths from 5 to 15 meters. For shallow depths, say for a depth of 3 meters, this is a horizon of about one meter: its borders are a meter from the ice and from the bottom. At depths of less than one meter, catching in a different way than half-water, it just won’t work, except from the bottom to the stanchion. It should be noted right away that fishing under the ice at great depths is not part of our current topic. Such fishing is worthy of separate consideration, since its specificity is already different. The level from the very bottom to two meters higher (depending on depth) we agree to call the bottom layer.
The movement of fry and tyulka, the main objects of hunting for perch, in the middle layers of the water makes it also leave the bottom horizon. As a rule, a flock of perches stands slightly away from the main mass of fry. It happens that they are on the same level, but most often the perch is lower. A half-water perch can be either active or passive. It should be noted right away that a passive perch most often finds itself at the bottom, but even halfway you can find a perch full of apathy. More than once, the echo sounder in the wilderness painted pictures of a huge perch flock, which crammed the entire space from ice to the bottom. The maximum that I caught in this case is two perch from the pack, the rest did not respond to my tricks. Everything is simpler in the early ice: to find such a flock means devoting one day to catching perch all day.
If the perch, standing halfway, is caught at the very least, then for a start you need to decide what he is feeding now, and offer him either mormyshka or lure. More often, especially if the perch is not far from the school of some trifles, the bait is the bait No. 1. Often, a deaf-and-white snapper responds better to a balancer than to a sheer spinner. In this case, it will be a mistake to lower the balancer directly into the thick of the perch pack. It’s better to try a little aside, but not far. There are frequent cases when you raise a flock of perch from the bottom with your bait. It looks like this. At the bottom of the bite there is, but rare. Raise the tackle by half a meter – bites become more frequent. In the middle of the water, just the battle of perches for the bait begins, and in the end it comes to the point that fishing is right under the hole.
What is the reason for the reinforcement of the bite with a decrease in the descent, it is not clear. But a prerequisite: the perch must be "raised" from the bottom and brought to the level of half-water. Then begins the mass extermination of striped. And another interesting option is catching perch in the pits. The best point in a small pit, about three meters across, will be its deepest part, but with the caveat that you must catch again halfway. Active perch in such pits usually stands on the tops of dumps. Searching for these dumps, either from one peak or from another, is usually effective, but it is easier to make only one hole above the deepest place. Perch will see the bait and come up. If they do not fit, then the perch is passive, then you have to catch the dumps themselves.
I caught my first half-water roach by accident. In the next hole he lowered the mormyshka, reeling the fishing line from the reel and at the same time playing "on the descent". The mormyshka left me for three meters, as someone stopped her. I knew that in this place the depth should be at least six meters. After cutting, I realized that there was a fish on the hook. The roach pulled out was not big – 300 grams. I remembered the descent, and more than half of the catch of that day was caught on this descent, regardless of whether I was fishing at 5 or 12 meters. Together with the magpie, a scammer came across. This case is indicative of the fact that the spit that day found itself most often on the same horizon and, as I said, regardless of the depth at the place of fishing. On different days, the roach horizon, let's call it that, can change. There are many factors that influence these changes. This is pressure, and flow, and oxygen – anything. Depending on any conditions, a flock of roach can rise and fall several times a day, that is, change its horizon.
On the Cheboksary reservoir, a clump can stand above a flock of bream and scavenger at rather large depths. The activity of the scavenger is difficult to predict: it can suddenly start to be caught, or it can stop abruptly, while not going anywhere. But the plot that is located on the "floor" above does not suffer from apathy and can successfully brighten up breaks in catching the scavenger. I caught the coastal roach in the underwater for the most part in the pits. But a prerequisite is the presence of a flooded bush or some driftwood. The best option is a bush, "growing" on the dump of the pit and reaching all the way to the ice. Such places always attract roach.
Here I fed roaches with oilcake. He crushed it into the hole, and he, gradually getting wet, was drowning. Such feeding also determined the method of feeding the bait: a slowly sinking mormyshka was needed. I took the lightest of my arsenal and slowly drowned it, caught it on the descent. The main thing was not to play mormyshka — only one or three “failures” of mormyshka for the entire phase of the fall. When I fed with a bloodworm, I put a leash above the mormyshka, and put a bloodworm on the hook for the middle. In this case, it was important not to overfeed the fish. A spit will reveal itself at different levels. Toward evening, she is likely to be at the very bottom or on the dump of the pit – there she will eat up our bait.
It is worth noting that I caught my largest roach just halfway, and how much was lost! The roach pecks well, and the line has to be thin, so the fishing process is delayed. But we must remember that there may be snags nearby. One gathering due to driftwood, and the next two hours there will be no more biting here. I am sure that each of us has successfully fished halfway through the water more than once. And still, for some reason, we wait more and believe in bite when our bait is at the very bottom. My experience shows that this stereotype is far from always justified in practice.
author Sergey SEMENOV
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