The boat slowly carries along a steep cliff. The hand rises and falls rhythmically, the characteristic sound of a quok is carried over the river. “Why can't you hear other quakes? – I catch myself thinking. “The place is interesting, but I am fishing alone.” The answer was simple: I was not in the lower Volga and not on Akhtuba, but on the Oka, in its lower reaches. I ended up here with a quack, partly by accident. I was looking for new points for jig fishing and walked with an echo sounder along a steep yar. In one place on the screen appeared a whole flock of large characters. Of course, it was impossible to say unequivocally that these were catfish, but large pike perch usually does not gather in packs – at best, it is kept in pairs. And he is unlikely to stand in a small hole – rather, at the edge, which is about twenty meters away. The large pike is also a one-person woman and cannot stand neighbors. So, most likely, these were catfish.
This time, the catfish responded to the sound of my quock already on the first pass: on the screen of the echo sounder it was visible how something big had come off the bottom and went to the boat. But somehow I embarrassed him, and he ignored my nozzle. He did not take on the second exit either – he rose again and again went back. Nothing, there is still time, the main thing is that the weather does not go bad.
Kwok and pulling
A quok is conducted through the water at a certain angle, and a clear, juicy sound is obtained. A quok can be either metal, or wooden or plastic – the material plays a role, but not a determining one. Often in one product combine different materials. For example, an aluminum kvok gives a more muffled sound, but if you put a patch of bronze, the sound is obtained spinally. Wooden gives a luscious sound, but wood is a fragile material, and such a quack requires careful handling. But quack itself is nothing more than a tool, and without the skill of a fisherman there is no sense in it. We need a good fighting technique, and it needs to be worked out. As a matter of fact, in order to learn how to scam, you need two conditions: desire and time. Quacking in series: 5-7 beats of the quack – and after that a pause. Usually, the angler develops his rhythm and adheres to it, but there is one subtlety associated with the speed of the current.
If the current is fast, then the catfish can rise to the place where the boat is no longer there. To prevent this from happening, in a strong current, the rhythm has to be accelerated, and the faster the boat carries, the more often strokes should follow and the pause between series should be shorter. The catfish rises from the bottom to the sound of a quok, but grab it, thank God, not a quack, but the bait that the angler offers him. Some whack, dropping the bait almost to the bottom. Sometimes this gives results, but it seems to me that this is no longer scooping, but bottom fishing by alloy. If you lower the bait by 20 meters and hold it in front of the catfish face, he may grab it, but there will be nothing to do with the quack. Raised catfish catfish can take the bait at almost any depth – a meter or two from the surface to the bottom. As a rule, I do descent from 1.5 to 5-6 meters, maximum.
Choosing a fishing spot
Catfish, as you know, are kept in pits at great depths. However, the deepest places will not necessarily be the best for fishing. So, on the Lower Volga, where the depth in large holes reaches 40 meters, catfish are often caught in adjacent areas, at 8-10 meters. Similarly, on the Don, in the middle reaches, catfish are caught not so much in the pits themselves as in neighboring shallow areas. You can catch on the reaches, at a shallow depth, but for success you need to know for sure that catfish goes to feed here. A good guide for choosing a site for hauling is the so-called melting of catfish. Why these river giants rise to the surface and go down, striking a farewell tail, in my opinion, remains a mystery. But be that as it may, their behavior helps in the search.
On the Oka, the best places start from the Ryazan region and stretch all the way to Nizhny Novgorod. The best points are strong currents and near dam areas. According to my observations, catfish are better taken not in lulls, but in “traction” – in areas with a steady flow. You can also pull back, but then most often they are caught from the anchor. They check different horizons and, seeing the first exit of the catfish, lower the gear to this level. Where possible, the boat is not anchored, but stretched. In an extreme case, they release the boat on a long rope fixed at the shore with one end. At the same time, the boat, of course, is talking, but all the time it remains in the place where the catfish are supposedly concentrated.
Where the concentration of catfish is low, it is necessary to use an echo sounder for searches. Unlike jig, where the main attention is paid to the bottom topography, when searching for catfish, you have to pay attention primarily to large symbols. I don’t turn off the sounder while fishing: it shows how the catfish rises from the bottom. When he is next to the boat, then this can already be understood by abundant bubbles.
In the past, tackling gear consisted of a rope, at the end of which a load of three hundred grams and a leash with a large forged hook were tied. The classic nozzle is barley, frog, singing felt, fried offal of a bird, crayfish neck. Now the rope is a thing of the past, and the vast majority use a fishing rod with a reel. A fishing rod is required no longer than two meters, since the bait must be under the sound source – a crook, powerful, but with a flexible tip, which plays the role of a nod. This is important because catfish can peck in different ways: either with a sharp jerk, or very carefully, as if sucking in the bait. In the latter case, which is not at all rare, catfish, having felt the resistance of a rigid tip, may spit out the nozzle.
As for the coil, the best option is the multiplier: it combines power and reliability. You can also use the Nevskaya coil, but meat grinders, even of high power, are less suitable. They are both heavy and, more importantly, do not tolerate extreme loads. One of the important points when catching on a quok is hooking. With a sharp bite, there are no problems, but when the catfish begins to suck the nozzle, it only has to hand over the fishing line and hook it up when it pulls with force. The hook must be powerful, otherwise the hooks will not break through the hard mouth. The choice between a monophile and a cord depends on the taste of the angler: both are suitable, but in any case, the strength of the fishing line should be 70-100 lb. Fighting with catfish has to be short-circuited, and safety margin will not hurt. A leash is optional but desirable. It can be either metal or monolesk with a diameter of 2 mm. The stiffness of the catfish leash does not bother at all.
Again and again, I rafted over the place where, as I already knew for sure, there were catfish. Two exits ended in nothing, and only the third brought a trophy of kilograms to fifteen, or maybe more. For Oka, this is very good. I took catfish to the barley – here it is the most affordable nozzle that can be found under any shore. The Oksky catfish turned out to be as responsive to the Quok as the Volga.
For me, quotas are not so much an opportunity to catch large fish as a moment of extreme aggravation of all feelings. It happens that right before the bite you already literally feel with your skin that the catfish is nearby. Time seems to stop. Getting infected with quack is very easy. It is enough to at least once feel this magical sensation and catch the first catfish. More quotas will not let you go. In this fishing, the fisherman is, as it were, directly connected with the fish, there is something very ancient, primitive, catching on the very foundation of human nature. Well, a defeated catfish can be released.
author Oleg KAPITANOV