Not feeling too ruffe about my mixed bag (perch article and video, entry 366)





Left to right: Bush vetch in bloom…… The bigger common……. Seggy Pool……. Should be in an aquarium……. Common beech at Seggy Pool



Not feeling too ruffe about my mixed bag

Every season has its own advantages and one of the main ones at this time of the year is that you can fit in a lot of after-work sessions due to the fact that the days are so long. I am fortunate in the sense that I do have a lot more flexibility than the average angler, but having said that, now that the boat traffic is increasing, I choose to fish dawn and dusk periods anyway on the canal when after perch. In fact the only boat I saw on my first outing to the Staffs/Worcs Canal was one that passed through as I arrived, so I wasn’t even fishing.

I did get bothered by a couple of youngsters on rubber inflatables though. You know the sort of thing, you see them at the seaside and they are meant for splashing around in close to the edge of the beach and nothing more. They certainly aren’t watercraft and that was obvious by the way they struggled to even stay afloat. And with the canal having bends and boats appearing suddenly and without warning, the potential for serious injury – or worse – was very real. But I don’t want to live people’s lives for them. In a way as long as they don’t bother me then they are not my responsibility.

As far as I’m concerned it didn’t do my fishing any good though and after the canoes on the same stretch recently, I decided that any future visits will either be early morning or when the weather is awful and I can be sure only legitimate boats will be coming through. I did manage a couple of small perch and bream, so at least I didn’t blank. One thing I have found though, like all fish really, is that if the big perch don’t want to play ball then they won’t. Sometimes we just have to accept that.

I managed to capture a young fox on camcorder as it made its way through dense undergrowth and as well as the Captain Pugwash wannabes, the sun brought out plenty of butterflies and flowers. There are lots of orange tip butterflies in the area and plant-wise, as well as the usual suspects I noticed my first bush vetch of the year in bloom.

My second session of the article saw me on a brand new water where I wanted to test the perch potential. Joining the cars on the Kinver Freeliners car park, it wasn’t the usual Big Pool that I set off on foot for but the Seggy Pool on the opposite side of the road.

I didn’t catch any perch, in fact I wasn’t able to get into the areas that looked like they might hold the species due to access. But it was great fun, and we should never forget as anglers that’s what it’s all about after everything else has been stripped away. I had numbers of small tench, so small in fact they looked like they should be in an aquarium not a fishing lake. In addition I caught rudd and several very small carp, but my reputation to catch bigger carp when after perch continued as a common gave me the runaround before I finally won the battle.

If you read my Angling Journal regularly you will know that while exploring a new section of the local canal recently and testing the perch potential, I caught a few ruffe. I was recently described in the angling media as a ‘big fish hunter’ and while that’s very true, size is very open-ended when it comes to fishing. For example a 1oz ruffe in terms of record percentage is equivalent to a 12lb carp. And a 2oz fish has the same value as a 10lb barbel. So when you look at it like that, what might be a tiny little insignificant fish actually has value based on its weight alone.

And inspired by my recent ruffe captures I returned to the stretch of water, for the third and final trip, to see if I could catch some more. Apart from a few on the lower Severn I haven’t caught any in numbers over the years. And it was the challenge of doing business with a big ruffe that inspired me to actually set aside some time to target them. Plus of course, if a few perch came along as well I wouldn’t exactly be upset.

Taking just a float road I set up a waggler and fished the boat channel a rod length out. With lots of overhanging trees it was quite a shady spot, and with ruffe being more active at dawn and dusk, it was a good place to start. The depth was the standard six feet and I set the shot so that it got the worm down to the bottom fairly quickly. I wasn’t looking to take any fish on the drop but getting them feeding on the bed. The fairly stodgy crumb and dead maggot mix also contributed to my game plan. I chose a yellow tipped float as I can see that colour much better once the sun sets and with the days now quite long anyway, I wanted to get even more fishing time out of the session.

I had a great time catching chub, perch, roach and a couple of ruffe. They weren’t big fish though so I didn’t get my scales out to weigh them. Any passers-by – and certainly any anglers amongst them – would have thought it odd that I would be weighing and getting excited over a 2oz fish. But a 2lb perch would put a smile on my face so why not the equivalent weight for a ruffe? The monsters were eluding me this time though, but nevertheless as I lifted each fish from the water and saw that it was my chosen species I did get a sense of satisfaction. As an angler who always targets a particular fish when I go out, it’s always good when you catch what you set your stall out for.


Video number 32 on list


(Originally published July 2010)

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