WINTER FISHING IN TOKAJ
Many people think of winter as an unavoidable bad period, which we just have to survive. We cannot do anything against it, we cannot avoid it, thus we just have to get through this dark, grim and depressive season quietly, so we can be grateful for spring to come. But this is not true for the fanatic spin fishing anglers. December, January and February are the best months for aiming at one of the noblest fish of our domestic waters; this is the best time for fishing for zander with soft lures.
The real winter period starts when fish wander to their “winter place”. On our domestic rivers these places are usually deep holes, but sometimes the immediate environment of man-made edifices like bridges or hydropower plants can be such hot spots too. Large schools of baitfish gather around such frequented places in order to get through those few weeks when the temperature of the river is the lowest. Terminology refers to these areas as “wintering areas” where there is a ban on fishing in place in the winter in many cases, in order to prevent anglers from bothering fish that spend their winter rest there.
There are such river sections in Tokaj too; on River Tisza this area is between 543-544 river kilometers, while on River Bodrog it is assigned between 0-2 kilometers. From November 15 to March 1, it is not allowed to fish here. Besides baitfish, lots of zanders also gather in this area in hope of easy-to-obtain food. However, zanders wintering close to the baitfish schools are usually smaller, though they are present in large quantities. Fortunately, it is worth searching for zanders outside the forbidden places too, and it is more likely to find bigger ones there as well.
Winter fishing for zander with soft lures is not equal with deep water fishing. What is more, normally only small zanders gather in deep holes. We may find bigger zanders on sand plateaus, or in the pleats of clay bottoms, often on entirely homogenous, seemingly characterless bottom structures. They are usually either loners or spend the winter period in small groups. Therefore, it is worth fishing on shallow waters, on sandy bottom bed sections, and of course snags and rocky bottoms in the winter period.
Whenever we catch a fish, or achieve a small bite in a specific area, it is worth going back there, and scan these spots again and again, for often there are other solitary zanders there, we just have to find them. Winter zanders are quite passive in the cold water; thus they do not feed a lot, and not during the whole day. The essence of the biting period gets more significant, which may differ from place to place, but usually the morning hours and the early afternoon hours may bring along the appetite of larger zanders.
It is a good idea to use bigger-size soft lures, which can be even 13-15 cm long, since the easily available, bigger baitfish may appear more attractive for the predators. Therefore, they might strike earlier on a bigger fish than on a smaller.
In this period of the year, zanders will not hunt down baitfish from meters, and they decide to attack only when we present our lure right in their “striking zone”. This is why, it is important to present our bait slowly; we should use the lightest jig heads possible and move our bait with short lifts, slow movements.
We haven’t talked about the colors of the lures yet. Besides the typical zander colors (yellow, green, white), it is worth trying out darker tones too, for example brown, purple and dark green. We can also apply modern UV active lures too, since zanders’ sight is very good, and they clearly perceive UV active colors very well.
The rod and reel combination might be the same that we use in the summer or autumn for soft lure jigging. The only element of the tackle which deserves special attention is the main line, for the freezing of the rod’s guides can cause serious inconvenience in the harsh minus degrees. Because of this, the best choice can be Nanofil, which perhaps brings the least water up to the reel and the guides.
If we use thin braids, it is worth applying silicone spray on the main line or coat it with some kind of baby oil or lip balm before fishing. Of course, these are not magical panaceas, they won’t prevent the freezing of the guides all day long, but we can save time with it, thus we can fish longer without freezing.
If we want to practice catch and release fishing in winter too, and we wish to release zanders back to the river, we must pay attention not to touch the fish’s body with our hot hands, and not to keep them out of the water for too long in the frosty weather, to protect these wonderful fish from injuries.
Winter is also wonderful in Tokaj, and especially on River Tisza! It is worth visiting here in the cold season, for the wine cellars are open in the winter as well, and those who crave for active recreation, and would like to see the winter wonders of the magical Tisza, it is recommended to fetch their spinning rods and seek after the spiny predators in the winter period too.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.