Record-warm weather, established in November on the European side, made life very difficult for anglers who love predator fishing. The main reason was that he left shallow water and took his winter places at great depths. This process is well observed in almost all water bodies near Moscow. Strictly speaking, there is nothing unusual in this: such a movement occurs every year before the start of winter. However, this year temperature anomalies have left their mark on fish movements. When in the first half of November the air temperature dropped below zero during the day, and at the coast there were fringes, a predator, even a pike perch, there was practically no depth at a great depth. He continued to stay at summer points, but in early December, at a temperature of + 7-8 degrees, he left the shallow waters. Moreover, he even left deep irrigation with a depth of 5-6 meters. My friends and I were convinced of this during the last trip to the Ivankovo reservoir.
Going on this fishing, we realized that the predator is most likely to be passive, so we will have to select not only the bait, but, possibly, the fishing method itself. Of course, we didn’t take mugs or donks with live bait with us: fuss too much, and it’s not our kind of fishing, but we took something from the winter arsenal, and, as it turned out, not in vain. My friend and I fished from two boats. We started, as usual, with a classic jig, anchoring boats. We tried a variety of baits and methods of wiring. This is not to say that without any success, but three bites for two in a few hours and a couple of caught gnaws a little more than 500 grams – this, of course, is not very interesting. True, there was nothing unexpected in this: due to the low water temperature and constant pressure surges, the fish felt uncomfortable and was passive. Meanwhile, the echo sounder showed that the predator in the bay remained, although it shifted to a depth of more than seven meters. Moreover, he kept either at the base of deep dumps, or among the snag – on clean areas there were no fish symbols at all. Interestingly, large characters that could not belong to white were found not at the very bottom, but in a meter above it.
It is quite difficult to catch in such conditions. Jig, as we have seen, does not give any special results. We tried various oscillators – there were no bites at all. Apparently, the baits went too fast for a passive predator, and with slower wiring hooks started. Slow movement of the bait is possible when using wobblers, but to catch them at a depth of more than 7 meters is simply unrealistic. Of course, there are special deep-sea models for trolling that could be used, but, firstly, we didn’t have them with us, and secondly, as they say, this is not our method. Of the entire arsenal, only a winter fishing rod for lure remained untested. One way or another, we took apart the spinning rods and picked up short fishing rods with balancers. Weather allowed to catch by rafting: the wind was weak and a little boat was demolished along the bay. Bites began already on the first pass. At the base of the brow, gnarls were taken, a pike pecked on a pit with a relatively even bottom.
The fishing technique used was the most common: the same as in winter. The balancer sinks to the bottom, then rises 30 centimeters – on my fishing rod it is one revolution of the reel. Then the game begins. With a smooth brush movement I raise the tip of the rod by 30-40 cm and immediately lower it down. After a short pause, the movement repeats. On water bodies there is practically no flat bottom, therefore, approximately every 5-6 meters, the balancer must be lowered to the ground, controlling the depth.
A few words about gear. Catching the balancer even from a boat requires a special rod. Trying to catch using a spinning rod is futile. Even short ones cannot provide the necessary game: it is simply not adapted for this. Fishing on ordinary winter fishing rods with a small reel is also inconvenient. It is necessary to pull out the fish behind the fishing line, but it gets confused, since there is much less space in the boat than on ice, and it takes a lot of time to restore the gear. My fishing rod with a large inertial reel on a bearing and a durable fiberglass whip equipped with through-rings was very useful here. Made of solid foam, it is very light and, as it turned out, durable. On that fishing buddy pulled a 5 kg pike on this fishing rod. Its main advantage is that it allows you to pull out fish not by the fishing line, but with the help of a reel, on the whip, in the most cramped conditions.
Fishing line – braid with a diameter of 0.10-0.12 mm. Its strength is enough to raise almost any trophy of our reservoirs. But with a leash is not so simple. On the Ivankovo reservoir, where there are a lot of pikes, it was necessary, but where it is not there, it is desirable to exclude the leash – there will be more bite of pike perch. As for the balancer, this time the best worked bait 7 cm long with a coloring for perch. However, predators in other bodies of water are likely to have different preferences. While the wind was weak, it was quite comfortable to catch, but when it intensified, I had to use a dragging anchor. At first, his role was played by a sinker of 60 grams, abandoned by a spinning away against the wind. For a small inflatable boat for a while this was enough. However, when the wind blew harder by lunchtime, I had to increase the weight of the anchor by tying a stone weighing a pound to a rope. This option worked successfully, but the stone periodically clung to the bottom irregularities.
Then I decided to use the usual heavy anchor, but I had to lengthen the rope for this: I tied another 20 meters of a thin cord to the usual 25-meter one. Fishing has become a little more complicated: having caught one place, I etched 4-5 meters of the cord, secured it and caught the next point. To check the place, it is enough to make 5-8 lifts of the bait – if there is a predator nearby, he will show himself. Often bites occurred already on the first ascent. If the pikeperch is generally disposed to peck, it immediately reacts to the appearance of some prey in the field of vision. By the way, this happens not only in open water, but also from ice. Often a bite of a pike perch happens in a just drilled hole, although it is believed that only a curious perch can behave this way.
The use of a long anchor rope in gusty winds led to the fact that the boat was led away one way, then the other. But unlike other methods, when fishing on the balancer this did not interfere – on the contrary, it increased the area of fishing. When the rope ended, I had to exhaust it, raise the anchor and go 60 meters downwind and start there all over again. With such fishing, the type of boat is of great importance. Most suitable is a small air bag. Fishing goes on a plumb line, the boat is directly above the fish, so any noise and especially the sounds of blows with something against the metal bottom will nullify all efforts. Here silence is literally the key to success.
My friend and I just started to master this type of fishing, so that the five kilogram pike and several decent zander caught on the last fishing trip give hope that the balancer will turn out to be that particular bait that will allow you to start, in fact, winter fishing without waiting for ice. True, judging by the sharp cooling, now this is no longer so relevant. But the new season is just around the corner.
author Ivan PIMENOV