A switch to perch produces the goods (perch article, entry 188)

We had some rain, I knew that, however I didn’t quite realise just how much until I passed over the River Sow prior to arriving at the particular stretch I had chosen to fish at. When the rivers are in flood they are great for barbel fishing, but when they have burst their banks, it doesn’t exactly inspire you with confidence when you are piking.

But as I was there anyway I decided to continue; in fact I never considered turning back and going home. Even when conditions are not ideal, you always have a chance if your bait is in the water. You will definitely not catch if you are sitting at home.

I decided to fish the deadbaits down the side, which was just as well as that’s where the current would have washed them anyway. Apart from when debris washed into the lines, the buzzers remained silent throughout, and so after the four hours I had decided to commit, I headed for home.

I believe there is always something positive that we can draw from every situation though. And even if it was just the group of nine red-legged partridges in the area that I watched for more than an hour, then it was worthwhile being there. Partridges are my current favourite birds, and although it would have been brilliant if they were greys, which are scarcer, I was still more than happy to settle for red-legs.

Knowing what I did about the rivers, the next trip was to the local canal. The water temperature was up slightly as well at 5.5C, so I was confident of a fish. However it wasn’t to be, in spite of an obvious enquiry right at the end of the session. The float trembled and shook but it didn’t rise above two or three on the pike equivalent of the Richter Scale. Certainly not the level required for striking into a fish anyway.

I had been thinking of switching species for a while, intending to have a mini-campaign for perch prior to when the river season ends and I will be doing some gravel pit bream fishing. But I suppose I wanted to go out on a high rather than a low. But with just two pike so far this year I had to make a choice. Do I continue with the path I am on, or do I have a crack at perch before it gets too late?

I decided on the latter, and so with just one more session available before the end of the week, I put the pike gear away and sorted out my perch spinning stuff. I once more headed to the canal, but instead of bedding in one spot I roamed the banks. One advantage of that is it keeps you warm, if nothing else.

I was encouraged though as on my first cast I had a small perch follow the Mepps Aglia spinner back to the edge. It was about twenty minutes later though when the first of numerous fish actually took the lure as I worked it through the water. The anticipation of a perch hitting a spinner has to be one of the most exciting things in fishing, and when you feel that ‘thud, thud’, as the dream becomes a reality, it really is a brilliant experience.

Most of the perch – and the single chub – I caught were in the six to eight ounce bracket. However, one fish stood head and shoulders above the pack, and after the lean spell I have been having this year with pike, certainly made my day. Perch are great fish and I’m looking forward to putting the pike non-event behind me and getting some nice fish on the bank over the next few weeks.

On this trip I took my Bedlington Terrier puppy along for a walk. Twinkle is always wanting to go out, and whilst I don’t normally take her fishing with me, I was able to kill two birds with one stone on this occasion. I got to fish and she got her walk. She is actually very well behaved and I hardly had to watch her, apart from when she tried to jump up and catch the spinner every time it dangled in the air that is.

(Originally published February 2007)

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