Some things you can do without, others you can improvise… (perch article, entry 193)

One of the great advantages of my current campaign for perch is that when I go spinning I can gather everything together in one go, put it in the boot and I’m away. It is nice to have that sense of freedom as far as gear is concerned because my bream fishing (that I’m also currently doing) involves a trolley loaded to heaven with all manner of things from bait to multiple rods to heavy canisters of water.

But when perching, and in particular spinning, I enjoy the light approach. I have a small bag on my shoulder, rod in hand, and that’s about it. Even my landing net is carried via a strap on the bag. Having a reasonable knowledge of the stretch I am fishing at present means that I am able to stay very mobile, and concentrate where I want to in terms of which peg will be productive.

The stretch in question that I am fishing at is between two bridges on the canal, and it is probably the best part of a mile walk. And whilst I do fish all along, I have found that the big perch, apart from one fish, have come from a particular area that is about 100 metres in length. Now of course, as I make more casts there than anywhere else put together, the law of averages tells me that is where I will catch most fish.

And that can be a hindrance sometimes when we simply head to the best peg / area. It is a potential problem in the sense that it deprives us of the benefit of exploiting the full potential of the stretch. And we are all probably guilty of it to some degree. And that’s why, every time I visit the canal, I make sure that (providing I have the time) I fish right up to both bridges and not just stay in the one place. But I still find that 100 metre length the most productive.

My first session of the week saw me catch a couple of perch. Not big ones, the best was no more than a few ounces But it’s still a great feeling to feel the take, as the fish lunges at the spinner making its way through the water. The canal itself was a nice colour. Not gin clear, so as to keep fish in a wary state of mind, but not so coloured as to make spinning almost a non-starter. And it’s good exercise as well, walking up and down the towpath – particularly enjoyable with the warm days we have been having of late.

The second session saw me draw a blank. I did have one fish on though, and it was a decent size, but right at the edge as I was about to net it, it slipped the hooks. That’s the way it goes sometimes and the consolation was that whilst the fish was nice, it wasn’t exactly the perch of a lifetime. I’ve been there before – as I am sure most anglers have – where we have lost a really good fish and we do a ‘Groundhog Day’ in our minds, replaying it again and again wondering if we could have done something differently.

With free time on the Tuesday I arrived at the canal once more for a short spinning session. I parked the car, put my fleece suit on, took my tackle bag and net out of the boot and just needed the rod which I put on the back seat, and then it’s away I go. One major problem though – I realised that I had left the rod at home! Some things you can do without, others you can improvise, but one thing is certain – you can’t go fishing without a rod, reel and line! So that was that, and I drove back from where I had come!

Back the next day, I made sure that I had my rod with me this time! I only had a short session (1.5 hours) due to other commitments, but it was long enough to tempt a good fish with the spinner. I had previously been using Mepps Aglia number one lures, but this time I opted for the larger number two. Did it make the difference? Well, in reality it is impossible to say, as fishing cannot be explained in terms of laboratory condition testing. But I caught the fish, and after struggling all week, that in itself was a relief.

(Originally published March 2007)

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