August 2016 . Asia . Russia . Siberia
Five meters underneath of us a couple of big taimen was standing in the clear water of the small pool behind a rapid. In front of us the Siberian wilderness was covering in a soft shade of orange, the summer was coming to an end. The first lichen had started to change colors, whereas the sun of the later day still was nice and warm. Gently I cast my rubber shad more upstream, to twitch it close to the mouth of both salmonides at sight. The fishes were showing absolutely no reaction: Neither interest, nor anything like timidness. At the second cast I let my lure running very close to the mouth of the first fish. As it nearly had passed, the taimen slowly turned its head, opened the mouth and grabbed it. Strike! Hookset was successful! I stumbled exited down the rocks to the creek, with my eyes on the foaming fish in the water. Arriving the shore I did some footsteps with the wader in the floods. The taimen tried to escape downstream, but my fishing gear was strong enough to hold it. In the shallow it began to jump and turning heavy around, until standing calm under the top of my rod. It was easily longer than 1,20m! Tom already was standing next to me, trying to help me with the landing. I had a look at the mouth of my combatant and recognized the scantily grasping hook. It happened what should not be – the taimen was shaking again, the hook out of the mouth and escaped between our legs. Damn, this fish would have been enough for an anglers dream!
At the same day we observed two more couples of taimen. Thereby we moved forward with our hovercraft across the extremely shallow creek, which was blocked with many stones and rocks. Sometimes we had to jump into the water and help to push the vehicle from a stone. Pure adventure! We stopped in front of every pool in a safe distance and searched for fish by walk and on sight. Now it was the turn of my companions, which tried a different tactic: One was standing on a rock and pointed to the location of a fish, whereas another was sneaking down at the bank and casting to the point with rapalas, artificial rats or spoons. Sadly we got no more attacks, the taimen ignored us completely. It seemed that they absolutely had no feeding frequencies and I was happy at the end to had got one of these impossible fish at my hook at least.
We started to our daily fishing tours from two different tent camps, cast from the drifting hovercraft or fished from the shore more intensely at promising areas. Thereby we build up our base camps close to interesting hot spots, where we could continue fishing into the night with the “two cast technique”. Our fishing days were leading us through awesome nature, woods, canyons, mountains and wide gravel banks changed ongoing. The taimen seemed to know only two conditions: Either totally passive or in aggressive feeding mode. We hoped at the beginning to catch especially at night more active fish in the shallow water, but actually we could not fix a clearly rule at the end. Search, cast and belief was the topic. This was leading to daily bites, some of them very heavy. So we caught again and again bigger specimens of these beautiful fish, but were unlucky with the really big giants. One big Taiming was attacking a 25cm rapala in foaming current, shook its big head and escaped from the hook. Another dream fish was lost just close to landing, as it was destroying the leader (0,80mm hard mono!) at a rock. We became a bit desperate – so often so close, but always lost. Especially Tom was frustrated. He had caught at the beginning the smallest fish and after that had no more bite, despite tireless commitment. So he was reeling in a bit disaffected his artificial rat at the surface at the last day. Suddenly a big shadow appeared close to the boat and inhaled the rat at the surface! We recognizes quickly in the clear water, that now Tom got also his especial chance, and happily he could use it with success. We all admired the beautiful taimen of 1,18m. So he finally managed to outwit one of these impossible fish!
Next to the taimen we had many graylings as by catch. They dashed at nearly everything we casted into the water. With a small spoon we caught at the right spot fish after fish, but also at a big rapala, rubber shad or rat was hanging sometimes one of these “teasers”. Unbelievable how aggressive these graylings around 40cm had been! However, for us they created all time good meals – at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Our six fishing days had gone quickly, but gave us a good insight into a new fishing style for fascinating big salmonides. I´m curious about if we will make the impossible more times possible next time. With optimized equipment, more knowledge, more fishing days and of course the required moment of luck.
Fishing days: 6
Taimen: 13 (0.70-1.18m)