I’m Stewart Bloor not Stephen Baldwin (perch article, entry 380)

With my last perch session being the one where I lost the fish of a lifetime, you’d have thought there would be no doubt as to where I would heading for next time round. But that wasn’t the case as I fancied another trip to Dudmaston Hall on the Kinver Freeliners ticket, and in particular the Big Pool. I struggled last time on there and with time being a factor it wasn’t going to be easy to fit in a session on the other place which is quite a drive. So into sunny Shropshire and a long walk down to the water’s edge it was. I fancied an ‘easy’ session in the sense that I only had the one rod to watch so that’s how I fished. With a 1oz quiver tip, 4lb maxima line, cage feeder packed with dead maggots and brown crumb and a worm impaled on a size 10 hook, that pretty much gives you the picture of my approach. I flicked the feeder out about 3 rod lengths with overhanging vegetation and trees just to the side of where I fished. I had lots of plucks from small roach, the sort of thing that if you were fishing maggots would drive you mad.

 

I only caught a couple of perch, one I would say was probably ‘reasonable’ and the other ‘zander bait’. Into dusk though I did have a bite that saw me giving line as the fish went on a run. Although I would have loved it to be a perch, I knew from the moment I struck, and its reaction, that it was a tench. And so a few moments later I slipped the net under a nice fish. Although thought of as a spring and summer species, tench will feed throughout the year, but you wouldn’t really target them during the colder months. And talking of tench, if you’ve never fished for them seriously then Dudmaston Big Pool is an excellent place to serve your tinca apprenticeship. There are stacks of fish in the 4lb – 5lb bracket and the chance of a bigger one too.
 

 

Before I move on to my second perch session of the article, let me address the fact that the weekly video is no more as from last week. When I started my Angling Journal in July 2003 it was as a written weekly article (as per what you are reading now). Then, a couple of years or so back, getting into YouTube and making a few accompanying videos I found that these were actually replacing the article for some people, so that they watched the video but never read the piece. I was forever getting questions that had the answers in the article! ‘What bait did you use?’ was a typical one, where I had devoted a paragraph or more to the detail. I didn’t want to run parallel means of communication, each one saying the same thing to a different audience. So I cut the video down and made it just a trailer. But the questions that followed got even worse! However the main reason for ending the videos, in a nutshell, is that I am a writer and not a cameraman. The reality is that I still get thousands of readers and only hundreds of viewers! Plus being a ‘one-man-and-his-camera’ outfit means that you are always thinking of how to get a good shot, and I go out to enjoy the angling and not to see what sort of production I can put together. Although our initials are the same, I’m Stewart Bloor not Stephen Baldwin!

 

My second session saw me back on the venue where I recently lost the big perch. Even in the few trips I have made so far I have worked out that it’s not an easy place to fish. But there again, what do we expect as anglers? Turn up, cast out and reel in specimens every ten minutes? The reality is that the sort of fishing I do does present a real challenge. It means you can sit there for seven hours looking at two rod tips that remain motionless – as happened on this visit. But every session is a learning curve, it’s all part of the ongoing and continual process of becoming a better angler. I’m always thinking, trying to work out what’s going on beneath the surface and considering whether I need to change, adapt or reinvent. That’s why when people say to me that fishing is relaxing, although I know what they mean, as far as I’m concerned it can be demanding at times. I guess for many they have an image of an angler in a deck chair on a sunny day by the river reading a book and drinking a can of lager, who having cast out, lets the rod do the fishing. And while that may be for some it’s certainly not my experience; not that I don’t enjoy my fishing though. Far from it. A bad day’s fishing and a good day’s work and all that!

 

 

To finish my perch exploits off for the week I did a short late afternoon session on the local canal. It seems like ages since I have been on there, and that’s the problem I have with my angling: there are so many venues and species competing for my time. It’s a nice problem to have though, I can certainly live with that one. I have invested in a new thermometer recently (my previous one gave up the ghost) and that’s it on the left. There are many factors in angling that contribute to the big picture of success or failure, and for me personally, right up there at the top or thereabouts is temperature. Or to be more precise, temperature trend. And that’s why I would always go for a thermometer with tenths so that you can monitor what’s going on beneath the surface of the water throughout the session. This one cost £19.99 from Maplins and has a 3 metre lead which is essential for the angler. And as the probe is just plastic I tied a small weight to the end so it becomes easier to use. As you can see from the photograph it was 12.2C during my session. And I haven’t set the clock just in case you think you’ve caught me out when I said I was doing an afternoon session, so that’s why it’s 12:13. You would be surprised at the number of people who spend their time scanning angling writers’ articles so that they can ‘expose’. Sort of self-appointed proof-readers but with an ulterior motive!

 

I fancied a float fishing session as opposed to my usual canal perch approach of two leger rods fished close to far bank vegetation. I still fed dead and live maggots with brown crumb as the carrier though, and fished a worm as the tempter. Even though we are now well into autumn, the boats were still coming through right to the end. Not in great numbers, but the lock movement made fishing difficult at times. But that’s the Staffs/Worcs Canal for you, it’s becoming more popular with boaters I would say. I still caught fish though, although my chosen species, the perch, were smaller ones up to about 6oz or so. I did catch a couple of nice chub that put up a great fight on the light tackle. The days are getting shorter now and I was off the canal by 7.00pm as the common pipistrelle bats and tawny owls were beginning their night shift. No big perch to report this week, but I enjoyed myself and that’s what really counts. Before the temperature drops too much I am going to do some barbel fishing so I’ll let you know how I get on next week. (Article published October 16 2010)

 

 

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