A change is as good as a rest (perch article, entry 254)

They say that a change is as good as a rest, and after several weeks on the gravel pit pitching up for bream and tench, I fancied doing some spinning on the local canal for perch. I have tremendous respect for anglers who fish for one species with absolute devotion, even down to only visiting one place to do so. But personally it is the variety of fish and venues that keep me switched on and focused. Not that I change tack every week, because I do tend to fish campaigns, but a certain amount of flexibility keeps my enthusiasm bubbling away.

I made three visits to the canal and as it is local, going for just an hour or so late evening was not an issue. With the cost of petrol continuing to rise it has become an important factor in my fishing. It hasn’t been many years ago when I would make several evening visits in a week to the lower Severn after barbel. But now, with the best part of £50 gone every time I fill up, I have to justify an angling trip. Yes, fishing is and always will be a massive part of my life, but I still need to be sensible. I need to feel that I am getting my money’s worth from the session. So a couple of miles down the road for an hour is not a problem.

I always fish with Mepps Aglia spinners when after perch. They have a good action in the water and are reliable. I have fished with other brands, which when you retrieve, the spoon doesn’t even spin in the water. You can feel this and so you have to check the lure. It’s always fine in the hand but seems to become very stubborn when you need it not to be. But not with Mepps Aglia, therefore they are my number one choice.

I used a size 2, which is the second smallest and added a few short strands of red wool on the eye of the treble for extra attraction. It’s a great feeling retrieving a spinner through the water and the anticipation of a bite keeps you on the edge of your seat. Not that you are on a literal seat of course, as spinning is an active and mobile way of fishing. And when you get a fish lunge at the lure you can imagine what’s going on beneath the surface as it attacks and hopefully gets hooked.

I am sure that as well as believing it is legitimate prey, many times it’s the aggressive nature of the fish that you are targeting. They will attack not just because they are hungry, but because they can. And they were in fighting mood for sure the first session I made to the canal. I was getting lunge after lunge, not always resulting in a fish, but still plenty of action in one form or another.

Some of the perch were quite small, not much bigger than the spinner really – and bear in mind that I was using a pretty small Aglia. A small perch is definitely a very aggressive guy; you have to admire them, they will take on anything. I did catch some better fish as well though and that’s what I was really after, although none were particularly big. But I enjoyed myself and that’s what angling is all about.

The other two sessions were much quieter but the fish were still around including chub as well as perch. As I was going very late in the day, boats were not a problem. In fact it was very peaceful all round as the towpath was also not as busy as I expected it to be. I took my Bedlington terrier with me and apart from the occasional cyclist or walker, we had the place to ourselves. I’m not really into tagging my dog on to fishing trips but as it was very casual and short it wasn’t an issue. And Twinkle certainly enjoyed herself.

(Originally published May 2008)

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