The age-old question during the first ice period: where to go? On large bodies of water, especially on rivers, the ice has not yet formed or it is too thin, and the only available bodies of water are small lakes and ponds. Ice already holds here, it is usually easy to get to them, there are fish in them too; one thing is depressing – in most cases, small perches and roach are prey, there seems to be nothing larger there.
But it is not so. First of all, even in small ponds, as a rule, one can find not only a perch, but also its larger counterparts or roach. But they are not the only thing that can be counted on. Almost everywhere with roach and perch, fish such as rotan are also adjacent.
For a long time, rotan was considered a real disaster for water bodies. Then its number seemed to decline, and in some places it disappeared altogether. But nevertheless there is still a lot of rotan, although he changed his habits. The main reason for this is pike and perch, who appreciated this new source of food for them, and most importantly – found approaches to it. Apparently, this is why rotan began to spend most of its time in thickets of grass.
Once I came to fish for perches with a spinning rod on a small pond overgrown with water lilies along the edges. The dimensions of the reservoir were only 40 by 80 meters with a maximum depth of 2.5 meters. Here I witnessed how a local fisherman used live bait to catch two fishing rods with large floats, and set rotans weighing at least 100 grams as live bait.
He threw tackle directly into the grass. Imagine my surprise when I saw that he had 3 pikes, 2-3 kg each, sitting on his kukan. Moreover, according to the fisherman, if a small rattan is used as live bait, then you can not see a single bite in a few days, but on large ones in 30-40 minutes, a normal pike should grip.
Tackle and rigging
But what happens to rotan in late autumn and winter? The grass settles to the bottom, and now rotan can be caught without any problems on a jig with a piece of worm. However, for the most part only the smallest rotans, the size of a cigarette, are caught in this way. Meanwhile, large individuals also live with small things, and they sometimes also come across a jig with a worm or maggot, but still there are many more small ones, and the “large” simply does not have time to catch the bait.
In order to cut off small things, I use special equipment and a special nozzle, which I want to talk about.
The rod can be used in the same way as for the rewinder, but it is advisable to put on a V-shaped stand on the pole so that the rod can be placed at the hole. The nod can be left the same, but the line is better to use no thinner than 0.15 mm. Firstly, a large Amur sleeper, bent in a ring and spreading its gills, hardly passes into the hole, and secondly, fishing is often carried out near dead grass, so hooks happen regularly.
The peculiarity of catching rotan is the use of rather large hooks, no less than No. 10 according to the domestic classification. This fish got its name quite deservedly – its mouth is large, and the use of small jigs with small hooks leads to a large number of descents.
The rigging is done as follows (see figure). Take a 0.15 mm piece of fishing line approximately 30 cm long, thread a small swivel into the eyelet and fold it in half. A loop is tied at the swivel. It turns out that two pieces of fishing line depart from the swivel. We tie a small winter lure with a single hook to one of them, shorten the second by three centimeters and tie a single hook, preferably with a long forearm – this is easier to remove from the mouth of a rotan. That, in fact, is all the equipment.
Before you start fishing, you need to prepare a number of holes, preferably more, at least 10. Depending on the place of fishing, they can be placed in a chain, in a semicircle, but so that the outer ones are at a sufficient distance from each other. The fact is that the holes have to be punched with an ice pick, and rotan is very afraid of knocking. If the holes are spaced far enough away, then while you finish punching the last one, the fish calms down on the first one. We start with her.
When choosing a place for fishing, first of all, you need to pay attention to areas near reeds, next to underwater vegetation. The ideal option is to punch a hole above the window in the underwater vegetation. Rotan never strays far from the grass.
When fishing for roach or perch, anglers try to punch a hole of the minimum size, but for rotan they will have to make a normal one, at least 10 cm in diameter. Otherwise, it is possible not to drag the rotan bent in a ring onto the ice, especially since I had to catch fish up to 800 grams in weight using the method described here.
You should not use a traditional worm as a nozzle – small rotanes will constantly fiddle with it. You can, of course, plant a bunch of worms, as for catching burbot, but the bunch of small things will not leave alone, and the nozzle in this case is too expensive.
There is another, simpler, cheaper, but no less reliable attachment – a piece of regular beef. The meat should be cut into a thin plate the size of a two-ruble coin and the same thickness. The cut piece can be irregular, oval or square, but its thickness should not be more than the thickness of the coin. Better to use veined meat.
The nozzle is put on with one puncture in the middle; it is desirable that the hook passes through the vein. The same piece is placed on the hook of the spoon.
By the way, only 3-4 pieces of meat are enough for a whole day of fishing, you just need to carefully remove the fish. Even when the meat is completely white, it continues to work.
The fishing technique is somewhat different from the rewinding or trolling technique – it does not require constant play. In this case, the game is as follows. When the hooks are baited, we begin to slowly lower the line into the hole until the spoon touches the bottom. This will straighten the nod by about half. This will be the working depth at this location.
Now we swing the rod 25-30 centimeters, just like when trolling, then lower the rod and immediately put it on the stand. What happens underwater? When swinging, both lures rise up, then begin to fall. The lure goes to the side at a certain angle, and then returns to its original position, moving along the bottom. The lighter hook on the second leash does not keep up with the spoon and, making light oscillatory movements, as if flutters after it, but in a higher horizon.
It should be borne in mind that rotan is not a perch or pike perch. This is not a fast fish. The most he can do is a short dash. The bite is rarely expressed in a sharp blow – the rotan pulls slightly, takes the nozzle in its mouth and stops in place.
The nod, twitching slightly, freezes, bending over more than usual. At this moment, it is necessary to hook.
With this method of fishing, rotan is affected by the smell of meat and the movement of two baits at once. At one time, I tried to fish with one lure with a boost, but without an additional hook. There were bites, but not many. I tried to tie an additional hook on a shorter leash – it also pecked, but gradually I came to exactly the ratio of leashes, which is described here. As a rule, two-thirds of the bites occur on the additional hook at the moment when the bait is slowly lowered.
This fishing is quite passive in terms of working with a rod, but not in terms of finding fish. Large rotans can be caught from one place only 2-3 pieces, after that trifle begins to pull and you have to move to another hole. If within 15-20 minutes there is no bite on the hole, then you can go further. After checking half of the prepared holes and catching something, you can leave the fishing rod in the next hole – rotan will not carry it away – and punch through another five holes in order to start catching them after some time.
Despite the fact that fishermen had a somewhat dismissive attitude towards rotan for a long time, now it has become a completely familiar fish for many. And catching large rotans is generally very interesting, especially since bites of the largest specimens are possible on the first ice.