Smelt Race
Smelt Race

Video: Smelt Race

Video: Smelt Race
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Leaving the Niva in Shcherbakov, my relative Aleksandr Rykov and I moved across the ice towards Vysotsk. Our way lay in Pikhtovaya Bay, to the usual place for catching smelt. We had to go about three kilometers. And although it was very freezing, and even the headwind, spinning the snow merry-go-round, hit painfully in the face, we hurriedly walked forward in anticipation of the first smelt catch this year.


When we got to the middle of the bay, the impenetrable darkness of the night was replaced by the gray veil of the approaching dawn. Soon a diesel train stopped at the other end of the bay, and an avalanche of smelt who had arrived poured out onto the ice. At first they walked together, but rather quickly, some of them scattered around. However, the bulk settled in the center of the bay.

Seeing this crowd of fishermen, Rykov and I moved 200 meters to the left from the main mass of meters and began to drill holes. The matter was arguing, and soon all the holes were ready. However, before we had time to lower the jigs into them, a feeble peasant in a quilted jacket and high boots stopped about ten meters from us. Rykov and I looked at each other in bewilderment: usually the fishermen do not approach each other so close.

Probably, understanding our condition, the little man explained:

- Here are my holes, from which I trained more than 200 smelts yesterday. I hope that today I will be with a rich catch. So I'm sorry for the intrusion.

And we had no choice but to come to terms with his presence.

Gradually, people settled in the water area of the bay, and in the center of it the ice literally turned into a sieve. Sitting by the hole, some smelt people kept a close eye on their neighbors, so that in the event of active biting from those, they would jump closer to them …

At first there was a complete bastardness. However, after about half an hour, bites began at some distance to our left. They soon approached us.

“The jamb didn’t come up, now the bite will start,” the peasant in the quilted jacket breathed, fidgeting impatiently on the box.

And so it happened … Smelt took so actively that quite often the mormyshka did not even have time to sink to the bottom, as the bite followed. True, there was not a single fish more than 7 centimeters. But is this the point: the main thing is the bite! However, the activity of the smelt began to decrease rather quickly. Frequent bites continued only to the right of us. Apparently, the jamb has shifted in that direction.

Some of the fishermen, myself among them, rushed there. Alas, only those who stumbled upon old holes were lucky and, without delay, began to fish. Most of the fishermen, while drilling holes, were late - the smelt went to another place. Several fishermen tried to get ahead of the school by placing tackle on its intended movement. A very small part managed to find a place for active biting. But only for a short time.

Such a pursuit of the school with varying success lasted four hours, until he found himself at the exit from the bay. Further, a wide bay began, and all the efforts of the fishermen to find the school were unsuccessful. The smelt disappeared in an unknown direction …

Making sure that nothing else would break off for them, the fishermen, gradually moving away from the excitement and fishing, began to count and stack the catch. We did it too. Rykov caught 76 smelts, I am 83.

“Seven fish are your reward for running around,” Alexander smiled.

And this is probably true: after all, I changed 5 places, and he only 2.

Soon a piercing wind blew from the bay, and snow crumbs fell from the sky, and smelt stretched to the halt. We went home too: tired, but very happy …

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