Pursuing perch in the Principality
Left to right: an early perch in bright sunlight, the pool at Gryn Castle, a brace of good fish, the best fish of the day
Over the years I have had several fish that have been my favourite at any one moment. For a while it was chub, then barbel toppled them and they stayed there for a considerable period. But then I found it difficult to answer the question if anyone asked me, usually replying ‘Whatever I am fishing for at the time’. But in the last year or so I have found my love for perch increase to the point where they are now my number one fish. And whilst I’ve certainly enjoyed doing battle with the ones in my local canal, the opportunity to fish for some better specimens further afield has definitely been appreciated.
Hence, with an opportunity to visit Gyrn Castle again I took it without any hesitation. Apart from the 3.00am start I couldn’t wait for the day to come round. And even then the prospect of getting up that early didn’t really bother me that much. The lure of a big perch is a great carrot to dangle before someone like me who is not at their best waking early. Setting off from Staffordshire, through Shropshire, Cheshire and Denbighshire, I eventually found myself parking in rural Flintshire with a curlew calling in flight overhead as I got out of the car.
I knew the peg where I was going to fish and having been to the venue just the week before, I was well prepared. There’s always something about a return visit with the knowledge that you gained on your first trip. Fully prepared I set up my float and leger rods, cast out and waited for the bites to come. I didn’t have to wait long either, as I had action from the off. At first they were small perch and then from time to time I would get amongst a decent one.
Because I caught regularly right throughout the day, with only the occasional truly dead spell, I knew that I was doing the right thing in terms of presentation. Sometimes all you can do is wade through the smaller ones and connect with the bigger fish when they decide to play ball. There was a pattern though that I found at Gyrn Castle. I would be catching smaller perch and then there would be a lull in the action. Something had moved in to disrupt the feeding pattern of the ravenous tiny hordes. A few moments later, I would be playing a nice fish. So when the bites stopped, rather than be discouraged, my anticipation levels actually rose.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in North Wales catching a few good perch, as you can see from the shots above. You can check out the website here and I would recommend before you go that you speak to Craig Smith who is the bailiff. He’s very approachable, and as an excellent angler will put you right about the current conditions and where to fish etc. In fact you’ll need to speak to him anyway as they book the pegs and so don’t allow too many anglers on in any one day. There are also some good carp in there, including a ’30’ (this was verified during a netting that took place just after my visit to the venue) so there’s plenty of challenge there. I am intending to return later in the spring to fish for the carp, so as they say, watch this space.
Video number 12 on list
(Originally published March 2010)