In the Tokaj wine region, summer is mostly about tourism since local catering businesses go best from June to August. Many people visit our little town in this period of the year. Besides sightseeing and visiting wine cellars, lots of activities and sports can be done on the rivers, form which I believe fishing is the most popular one.
Although sitting on the bank or in a boat all day in the hot sun is not the most pleasant way to spend your time in the summer heat, and many people think that the warmed up water is not the most favorable for the fish's hunger either, nevertheless, it is still possible to find a way to successfully indulge in our passion even in the hottest months.
Many people do not even know that the digestion of fish is much faster in warm water, which is why they have to feed much more often during the warm summer months. This is especially true for our biggest predatory fish, the catfish, which is the number one target fish of the summer season.
From this year onward, catfish enjoy – quite rightly – a full catch ban period from May 1 to June 15. Thanks to this restriction, these giants can rest for about a month and a half, since they are not pursued by anglers. You cannot hear the sound of clonks throughout all May anymore, and the boats of catfish anglers do not touch each other drifting on the river during that exact period when the fish (presumably and hopefully) spend their successful spawning.
Unfortunately, in reality, spawning does not always coincide with the period designated in the calendar, as it is influenced by many factors (water temperature, water level, etc.), but the well-deserved rest can still be good for the fish.
So, from June 16, we can meet much braver and hungrier fish, who want to regain their strength and good shape after the spawning period and want to get in good condition as soon as possible. In such cases, we can fish for them successfully with several methods, for example, clonk fishing with mollusk baits (leeches, earthworms, shells), with vertical baits (hard baits, soft baits), with live fish using the fireball technique, and if the river is flooded and muddy, we can even catch them on the surface at night with spin fishing technique.
In addition to catfish, of course, you can also get into the boat with the hope of targeting other predatory fish too, as asp, zander, and Volga zander can be caught very well even in the warm months.
Volga zander can be easily found in small groups on snags, and on stony bottom, because if they gather around some artificial or natural snag, they will immediately reveal themselves and attack our well-presented, smaller plastic baits. Zander also like deep-water snags, and they feed most actively during the change of light in the morning or evening. During this period, if we are in the right place in the right time, it is not uncommon to catch up to 4-5 nice zanders in the relatively short 20–30-minute long feeding time.
Asps are easy to find, as they betray themselves with their loud and spectacular surface takes. In such cases, it is easiest to trick them with surface lures and small minnow-shaped hard baits that imitate bleaks.
In addition to the mentioned most typical predatory fish, we can legitimately expect many other species of fish to catch if we are fishing on River Bodrog or River Tisza in the summer, so we can catch, for example, pike, perch, sabre carp, ide, chub, goby, and even peaceful fish species.
However, we must always pay close attention to our health even in summer, as staying in the hot sun for hours can be very dangerous and harmful for our skin and body. Always protect yourself against harmful UV rays with sunscreen or UV-resistant clothing, sunglasses, and a hat. Also, pay attention to sufficient fluid intake. It's also a good idea to relax a bit in a shady waterside buffet during the hottest part of the day, and only be on the water in the morning and evening hours, when the heat wave and UV radiation are even lower.
So, it's worth bringing our spinning rods with us in summer when we visit Tokaj. If you don't know the rivers well, it's a good idea to ask local fishermen for help on where you should try, or you can even hire a local guide who knows the waters of the area like the palm of his hand and knows where to look for fish in the warm season. Feel free to contact me!