No slowing down as I get older (perch article, entry 377)

For me personally, the great benefit of being an all-round angler is that my fishing never becomes stale and dry. Not only targeting different species, but doing so on a variety of venues ensures that I am always fresh. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those who faithfully sit it out week after week in the same spot after the same fish. I admire those people and ultimately it’s none of my business what other anglers choose to do, just as much as my fishing habits are of no concern to anyone else either.I suppose one of the ‘downsides’ if you can call it that, of being in the all-round camp is that you have so many things you want to do, you find it hard to satisfy your cravings! And no matter what I’m fishing for, perch are never far from my thoughts. Even when I was out on the carp lake last week I was thinking about getting back on the local canal and fishing for my favourite species. And that’s where this week’s article kicks off.

I made an early morning start, which at this time of the year is much more reasonable that in the middle of June. Setting the alarm for 5.00am I was on the towpath fishing within the hour. I have gone through my set-up on the trailer video, so need to repeat that here, or even the general approach which if you read my Angling Journal regularly, it’s as you were. Bait was the usual worm over dead maggots and brown crumb and I added SBS Ace liquid worm to the mix.

 

 I had a busy three hours with lots of small perch but nothing what I would call ‘big’ for the venue. I did have a couple of pleasant surprises though, first of all in the form of a small eel and secondly courtesy of a pike that was probably a scraper double. It was a good length and well padded out so if I had weighed it, I was confident it would have taken the scales to double figures. I’ve fished deadbaits in this area many times and never had a pike, and I go and catch one on worm. That’s fishing for you isn’t it!

As I get older I am finding that rather than becoming comfortable and middle-aged in my attitude, I’m actually stepping up a gear or two. And that’s in every area of my life, but definitely in my fishing.

 

My appetite for adventuring is showing no signs of slowing whatsoever, and as previously stated, quite the opposite. I have a thousand and one things in my mind all bouncing around, competing with one another, hoping that they will be the lucky ball that gets sucked up the chute. Well I have had one particular venue in mind for a while and my second session of the week saw me loading the car and heading off for a very large lake that you would describe as a big carp venue. And whilst it’s no secret that you will get perch in the commercial carp waters, it’s not such an instant connection that they may be present in venues at the other end of the spectrum. It’s a place where I have fished for specimen carp before, and of course have seen other carpers on there, but never anyone after perch. In fact when I arrived and another angler came over to talk and I told him what I was after (he asked), he replied that he didn’t think there were any in there. And he wasn’t trying to put me off either as I don’t think he was interested in them in the slightest, so he wasn’t trying to protect his patch. But that just merely spurred me on as I love a challenge. And there is something really exciting about casting out into the unknown. A feeling that is only bettered when it all comes together.

 
 
 
 And as you can see from the trilogy of fish above, the pieces of the jigsaw certainly did fit together very nicely. Fishing into a decent depth I opted for a cage feeder approach and a single red maggot on a size 18 hook. The feeder was packed with dead maggots, live maggots with brown crumb as the carrier. And there was a special ingredient in there as well, which I’m sworn to secrecy about, but if it does materialise then you will be the first to know. Sorry to sound all cryptic but hopefully in due course I will be able to explain what I mean! But it certainly did the business as in just a few evening hours up to dark I landed a number of good fish, and apart from a couple, all needing the landing net as well.

Casting out, it took a while before I had any sign of activity though. But striking into the first bite it was brilliant to find that I had hooked my target species. It could have been anything, but when it’s what you set your stall out for that’s gives you a sense of real achievement. And with the water being gin clear I spotted the fish well before it came to the net as it battled away to avoid capture. As most of my perch fishing is done on waters such as the Staffs/Worcs Canal that are really dirty and you only get to see the fish as it slips into the net, it really did get the adrenalin going. And returning the fish was equally as good. The little ones shot off like an express train leaving a cloud of mud in the margins but the bigger ones gracefully edged away with a gentle flick of the tail. With dorsal fins erect they proudly made their way back home. Brilliant!

 

Check out the trailer video for this article. It’s 2010 number 44

(Originally published September 2010)

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