There is an opinion that large zander was always rare in the Moscow River. My experience suggests otherwise. Pikeperch has always been found in the river, and in considerable numbers, and now it has not diminished, despite even the strong fishing pressure. Another thing is that it is now much more difficult to catch a worthy specimen, as the fish began to be very wary of spinning lures. Of course, the brands of wobblers, as some argue, do not distinguish fish so far, but the choice of place, bait and wiring technique are much more important than before.
Features of the Moskvoretsky zander
Pikeperch, including large, in winter on the Moscow River can be found almost anywhere, both at maximum depth, and at irrigation and even rifts. The river is very peculiar: steady flow, water temperature within the city and downstream is always higher than in other bodies of water. The bottom in vast areas is heavily indented and there are many "strong places" in the form of snag and flooded construction waste. In addition, the river is highly regulated: summer and winter levels differ by several meters. All this, of course, significantly affects the behavior of fish, including predators.
On rivers, the coastal zone and the first edge, as a rule, are occupied by pike and perch, further to the channel of watering and edge, burs and zander are occupied, and catfish often appear on river dumps. On the Moscow River, this scheme also takes place, but only in the summer, by large water. In winter, at a low level, the edges appear close to the coast, and the possession of the zander reaches almost to the coast. Many believe that with a strong drop in water level, pike perch dramatically changes its habitat. This is not entirely true. More often, he remains faithful to his pit and adjacent eyebrows and continues to ply along them even when they are near the shore. This is especially clearly seen where there are snags on the dumps.
The main food of pike perch in the Moscow River is the gudgeon, small perch, and more recently, the bullfin. It is noteworthy that the pike perch actively hunts for the scavenger with the bream. More than once I had to find in the stomachs of three-kilogram pike-perch scammers of 200-250 grams. It is not entirely clear how he manages to swallow them, but I have come across such facts more than once. Another feature of the Moscow River is that the local pike and pike perch in the winter can not be called passive. Predators grab the bait, one might say, with excitement and resist no less than in the summer. Sometimes there is a feeling that in winter the fish in the Moscow River feels even more comfortable.
Where to look for him?
Choosing a place for fishing, I usually focus on the topography of the bottom. If there are sharp differences in depths, and strong jets are adjacent to the returns, then here you can count on any predator. Who exactly is in this place can be determined only in the process of fishing. The fact is that on the Moscow River the sites of pike perch and pike parking very often coincide. On most rivers, say on the Oka, there are pike places and there are purely pike perches. On the winter Moscow River, such a division is an exception. Nevertheless, these predators are extremely rarely caught at the same time: they usually peck in turn. Perhaps the pike drives away the competitor, but rather, the pike perch, moving in packs, squeezes the pike for some time from the most convenient points. I have repeatedly encountered a situation where, after catching several pikes, the biting stopped. However, after about an hour, at the same place, bites of zander began.
Most often, zander can be found on various bottom irregularities – ridges, navels, eyebrows. If at the bottom there are at least a few snags, the chances are many times increased. Say, at one of my favorite places where I managed to catch several large pike perches this winter, the bottom topography looks something like this: the depth from the side of the channel is 5-6 meters, then the ascent to the hill with a depth of only 2.5-3 meters and again a dump at 4-5 m. Then a smooth rise to the coast begins. In winter, pike perch most often takes at a depth of 3-5 meters, bites can occur at maximum depth, but most often bersh hunts there. Shelter for pike perch can be not only driftwood, but also various construction debris: reinforcement, concrete structures that are at the bottom.
The best time to hunt zander is morning and evening twilight and night. In the dark, the best fishing is in the coastal zone, at the level of sharp dumps and on rifts with a depth of 1.5-2 meters, but only if there is a dump in the distance. There are enough such places on the river, and in winter, when the water level drops, their number increases, new convenient points appear, hidden in the summer. However, twilight or night is absolutely an optional condition for the successful fishing of zander. I prefer to leave early in the morning and catch at dawn, and then continue in the afternoon. Pike perch extremely rarely takes throughout the day – often outings. In addition to a morning burst of activity, he has several daily exits, then biting resumes in the evening twilight.
The weather does not have much effect on the bite of zander. I had to catch large specimens both in cloudy weather and in bright sunshine. But the best results, perhaps, were in stable weather with a weak wind. If pike prefers mild frost of 2-3 degrees, then pike perch is clearly better taken in severe frost at high pressure. By the way, large perch also likes severe frost, at -20 even in the city it is really possible to catch humpbacks under a kilogram or more.
Of all the methods of catching zander, I prefer jig. For the pike perch, both the classic version and the bypass lead are suitable, but their effectiveness depends on specific conditions. So, on the river there are many places where only perch falls on the leash equipment, but if you change it to the usual one, the grip of zander can immediately follow. Various leash mountings work well when catching rifts and rocky ridges, they are very effective when fishing on steep dumps, where a conventional mount with a cheburashka immediately cuts into the brow. Nevertheless, the chances of catching trophy pike perch on a bypass lead are always less than on the classics. The maximum that I managed to catch on a leash is 3.5 kg perch. On the usual installation this year – by 7 kg, and in previous years came across even larger.
As for spinning rods, I often take two fishing rods for fishing: powerful, 3.3 m long with dough up to 60 g, and lighter, 2.7 m long with dough up to 30 g. Using bait weight up to 20-24 grams I use Power Pro cord with a strength of 8-10 lb, with heavier ones – 15 lb. Stronger and correspondingly thicker cords do not justify themselves: they noticeably sail on the course, reduce casting and reduce the sensitivity of gear. Due to the fact that on the Moscow River the likelihood of biting pikes is great almost anywhere, I always put metal leashes. I make them from a guitar string – this is the simplest, but quite working option. Pike perch is generally negative to leashes, but since I often catch in the snag and on the edge with shells, the leash justifies itself. It protects the cord well from any damage, and not just from pike teeth.
Zander, in my opinion, is more “omnivorous” in relation to bait than pike. In addition to conventional vibro-tails and twisters, it responds well to foam rubber and various polyurethane foams. Many spinningists consider foam rubber to be a purely summer bait for the reason that in cold weather, water-soaked bait quickly freezes. This is not so: even in severe frost, a wet bait does not have time to freeze, but is seized by ice only from above. This thin layer is washed off in water already in the first meters of wiring. It should be noted that the pike perch clearly prefers the narrowest 8–10 cm long foam rubber. As for the “rubber”, the pike perch, including trophy, often takes 2-3 inches on shallow baits. They have to be equipped with large enough doubles of high quality. Otherwise, there will be a lot of idle tricks and gatherings.
Zander on the Moscow River has no “favorite” flowers that he would always peck at. More often he takes on semitransparent twister red-blue color with sparkles, which spinningists dubbed "gasoline". From others – to “machine oil”, “beer to the point” and translucent green with sparkles. Of the "normal" colors can be noted pure white or in combination with red. However, choosing the color of the bait, you have to consider that the preferences of zander very often change. Affect any changes in the weather, light, water transparency, even the time of day.
If a pike more often attacks a smoothly moving bait, then a pike perch can take both on very sharp wiring and on as slow as possible. It is impossible to say in advance that he likes it today, therefore, at the same point it is necessary to apply a variety of methods. The style of wiring depends on the weight of the load on the bait. For this reason, I take two different fishing rods for fishing, but I usually start to catch more powerful ones. The large weight of the bait allows you to quickly examine the area of interest of the bottom. Of course, a high posting speed generally reduces the number of bites, but if the bait is in the pikeperch hunting zone, he manages to react to it at any speed. When the point of concentration of the pike perch is found, it can be caught in detail already with a lighter weight or by putting a bypass lead. Of great importance is not only speed, but also the path of the wiring. Often, a specific point has to be caught at different angles, for which it is necessary to shift along the coast in one direction or another.
When using large scales at shallow depths, the usual step of two or even three turns of the coil does not justify itself. We have to change it to jerk: the bait is torn from the bottom by the movement of the rod, and the reel serves to exhaust the resulting slack. You can make the bait jump along the bottom with the simultaneous movement of the rod and rotation of the reel. In this way, I managed to catch baits weighing 50-60 g on the Moskva River. At first glance, overweight yields nothing but problems, but it was such a sharp jump-like wiring that more often than others provoked the bite of captured trophies, which before that had completely failed to respond on the smooth movement of the bait.
Large pike perch, unlike its small counterparts, behaves like a real fighter after cutting. A pike perch weighing 3-4 kilograms costs nothing to remove ten to fifteen meters of a cord from a reel. On the way to the shore, he actively shakes his head, tries to snuggle to the bottom, and if possible, go to cover. He resists violently, but exhales much faster than a pike, and behaves calmer near the coast. Now the winter is in full swing, the thaw is giving way to frost, so there is still time to go to the Moscow River for zander. Well, everyone has a chance to catch a trophy!
author Oleg KAPITANOV