Went perch fishing…caught a salmon (perch article and video, entry 283)

Went perch fishing…caught a salmon

I’ve been fishing the River Dove for a few years now and although mostly it has been for barbel, as an all-rounder I am certainly open to everything that the river contains. And it was on that front that I decided to get the perch gear out and see what potential the river had. The temperatures – both water and air – were up slightly and so I was fairly confident that if perch were around I would at least have a sporting chance of getting amongst them. As with any species that we fish for, location is the key. If the fish aren’t there you can’t catch them.

A nice looking swim

This was actually my first perch fishing session on the Dove, with most of my targeting of the species being done on the local canal network. But recent grayling sessions left in my mind a particular swim that looked very inviting. The main thrust of the river pushed on along the far bank with the nearside water forming a reverse flow. In addition reeds, although dead now for the winter, formed protection for fish along the edge. It all looked very ‘perchy’ indeed.

My tackle was pretty much as per my recent grayling fishing on the river. Fishing with 3lb 6oz line, I opted for a size 16 hook and a single maggot. Using a small cage feeder, I filled this with brown crumb and maggots. I didn’t cast out very far, just a length or so and allowed the feeder to settle in the swim, which it did so within seconds of hitting the riverbed. Very early on in the session I caught a nice perch and it was great to see it in the water as it eased to the waiting landing net. However, it was the only perch of the day so it was all downhill from there as far as my chosen species was concerned.


A nice River Dove perch

A surprise salmon

It wasn’t downhill though for the fishing in general as I did catch a number of grayling and also a real surprise in the form of a salmon. The bite was particularly savage and I knew straight away that it wasn’t a perch or another grayling. I guess I didn’t know what it was until it leapt clear of the water and I saw how silver it was, finally eliminating the option of a decent brown trout. I’ve never fished for salmon specifically but I can understand the attraction that they have for the dedicated anglers that do.

The fish itself wasn’t big, maybe a pound and a quarter, but it put up a great fight. I’ve caught salmon parr before while on the upper Severn but this is just the second salmon proper that I’ve landed. The previous fish was caught twelve years ago while I was trotting maggots on the River Teme for grayling. That fish weighed 2lb on the nose so pretty much the same weight bracket. Even to this day I can remember the date from memory – December 23 1996. It was my final session before Christmas, so while many anglers were out doing their Christmas shopping I was in the Worcestershire countryside chasing the ladies.

Back again but the weather dictates grayling






Tip of the week

At this time of the year if you are messing around at the water’s edge make sure that when you put your foot on solid ground, it is exactly that and you don’t go all the way through the dead vegetation into the river!

I was back again on the River Dove but the sharp drop in temperature meant that this time round I was fishing for grayling. I had hoped to head for the local canal after perch, but they were all frozen solid. It may still be December but much of the weather that we have had so far this month has been like January or February.

I didn’t get off to a good start as getting my drinks stuff out the rucksack I realised that I had left the kettle at home. With no alternative available I was left with just ice cold water to drink. Then putting my right foot in the river while mixing groundbait, I knew that this was going to be a long session. And so it proved. Even the usually reliable grayling failed to put in no more than a cameo performance and apart from a few taps I ended up with just one fish. It was hard-going all round and even though I was over my recent flu, I still felt rough and the cold weather had me constantly coughing. And so as the afternoon wore on I decided to call it quits and get home before the works traffic started to build up.



A surprise salmon poses for the camera

Proving that angling is unpredictable

I guess there can’t be many anglers who went fishing for perch and ended up with a salmon, but I’m now a member of what I would imagine would be a very exclusive club. That’s the great thing about angling, no matter how you plan and strategise, you never really know what is around the corner. I remember once floater fishing for carp and catching a tench and a bream in successive casts. Then there are the numerous carp on deadbaits intended for pike and eels, not to mention the pike on boilies. And long may that continue. Although it’s always a result when you catch what you intended to, it’s still nice to have these little surprises.



Click on the icon for this week’s video clip


The week ahead

The cold weather is forecast to continue so it will be back on the River Dove for me as I target grayling again. I’m hoping to have a go for the perch in the river but want to see the water temperature rise a little before I do so.

(Originally published December 2008)

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