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After distractions of the nicest possible kind, ie fishing for other species, I am back on the perch trail in this week’s Angling Journal. A path that led me to the reservoir where I have recently fished for the first time and had some nice perch. Full of confidence, I parked my car and made my way to the water’s edge. I was soon fishing and enjoying the bright sun that even made me feel like nodding off. You know the sort of days where you start to feel a battle coming on in the snooze stakes.
However that all changed as the weather took a sudden and totally unexpected downward turn. At first I thought it was just a minor passing shower, so much so that I didn’t even get my umbrella set up. But within minutes I was underneath it with torrential rain beating down. It was so bad even the wildlife were pairing up. And even though the intensity of the rain backed off, the rest of the day was cold, damp and murky.
It was also fish-less as well. Even though I had the occasional pluck, nothing developed. They weren’t the lightning-quick takes of roach that resulted in sucked maggots though. I had the distinct impression that there were perch out there that simply couldn’t be bothered. It was just one of those days. But far from discouragement setting in it merely motivated me to get back on the same venue and teach it a lesson.
But in the meantime I had a few hours free one evening that I decided to invest in exploring a water closer to home. It’s one of those places that has lots of carp anglers but as we know, perch aren’t part of their equation and as boilies are the going bait, none are likely to get hooked accidently either. I arrived early evening and set up in a peg that had 14 feet of water a rod length out. I put out a few balls of brown crumb / SBS predator mix / SBS liquid lobworm / casters and dead red maggots. Fishing a small (1/4 ounce) bomb I flicked a worm on a size 8 Drennan Super Specialist hook out into the lake.
After a couple of hours I decided to move due to the weed. One of the keys to successful angling is when to stay put and see it out and when to up sticks and relocate. Due to the weed I was getting it wasn’t a hard decision to make. Moving to a similar swim but one that had no weed at all in it, the moment I cast the bait out I had a perch on the drop.. And it was certainly no fluke as 4 out of the first 5 were over 1lb. It dropped off a little after that as just one more of that bracket fish was caught in the total of about a dozen in an hour.
What was particularly encouraging was that I’ve never seen anyone perch fishing on there, so it was great to connect with some quality fish as a result of thinking outside the box. That’s all it takes, just do something that others anglers aren’t. Sometimes it doesn’t come off but when it does it’s brilliant. You even get people say there are no roach/perch/pike or whatever in here, so when you do get amongst them, the sense of satisfaction is even greater. And talking of pike I had one latch on to a perch I was playing. At first I thought the perch had gone into a snag, then the snag began to move. I saw it in the clear water as it held on for about 20 seconds before letting go.
I so enjoyed my session on the lake that I returned two evenings later, this time in the peg that I had the fish in from the start. It wasn’t quite as hectic, as I had a few quiet spells, but I did have a few perch up to dark. Nothing big though, which was a surprise. But then again, angling is full of surprises. You can see video clips of the session though on the accompanying video. My tackle, tactics and bait were as the previous visit.
My next visit to the lake saw me setting up in nice sunshine in my tee shirt, only to be tucked under my umbrella a few minutes later with a pullover on. Talk about the weather changing, the first I knew something was underfoot was when I heard some thunder. The next thing was the sky went black, the heavens opened and I’m in the eye of a storm that lasted for about ten minutes. I was absolutely drenched, particularly as I had a good pull-round which had me out in the elements playing a decent perch.
Not that I am complaining though as the fish was the biggest of a number of perch caught throughout the short session. And by that I mean two hours in length. It’s better to spend that amount of time at the water’s edge during feeding spells than it is to sit there all day long in the middle of the day when the chances of a big perch will be slim. I’m always amazed at the number of anglers who are packing away when I’m only just arriving. ‘Been here all day mate’ they say, before adding, ‘There’s nothing in here’.
With my enjoyment of the lake being such that I put the reservoir on hold for a while, I returned for my final session of the article. I nearly didn’t make it as a major congestion on the road saw me pull over way before I normally would. As I was only doing a couple of hours I did consider whether to just turn round and go home. But rather than quit, I left the car there, grabbed my gear and set off on a trek past a never-ending line of traffic. Then the venue appeared and suddenly it was like being in another world. The fumes, horns and noise was in the past as the tranquility of the lake took over.
It didn’t take me long to get set up and I was fishing in no time at all. A very simple rig comprised of a 1/4oz bomb, a short hooklength and a worm on a size 10 hook. I had a small bucket of groundbait that consisted of SBS brown crumb and predator mix (ratio of 4:1) and dead maggots. I used predator groundbait mixer, which I added to the venue water. Not the 50/50 that I would usually use for pike, zander or eels but about 5/1. I didn’t want to overdo the concentration, as I was experimenting with it. But perch are predators as much as the previously mentioned species.
It all came together though as right from the start I had fish. In fact as I had the first one in the landing net and I was getting my camera set up, the tip again went round and so I did a photo with two perch. From then on the action was so fast and furious that I lost count of fish in the 1-2lb bracket in the first hour alone. The second hour was just as hectic and by the time I packed away I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. Some of the sessions in this week’s article have been slow, others not so, but I think it was definitely a case of keeping the best till last.
On the subject of continual fish, once I arrived at a lake and set up a few pegs down from another angler. It was one of those days when I had fish after fish, yet the poor guy along the bank had nothing at all. I could see him watching me as I played the first few fish but then he wouldn’t look at all. Although no words were spoken between us I sensed he didn’t like it. When I packed up and walked past him he looked the other way as he didn’t want to speak. Jealousy destroys us.
But if you’re in the situation where another angler is doing well, rather than withdraw and become bitter, find out why he is catching and you’re not. Even if you approach him and he’s not helpful, you can still observe things such as feeding frequency, where he is casting to and that sort of thing. And even with the internet you can research and come up with a lot of food for thought. Take my Angling Journal for example, I may not always tell you where I am fishing in terms of specific location. But there’s enough information in there to get you on the right track.
Yet I am constantly asked questions that indicate to me the person has not read my article for that week, or indeed ever. Just watching the videos alone is akin to looking at the pictures in a book but not being bothered to read the words. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not criticising anyone, simply stating the obvious that if we want to become better anglers, we need to dig deeper. Being entertained by videos and pictures will not get us off the first rung of the ladder, If we want to progress then we need to read what others are doing, particularly if they are catching a few fish along the way. And not just read, but think, work it out in our own situation and then put it in to practice.
And finally, from this month I am also putting my Angling Journal entries on Word Press, and you can access that via the link on the home page. It’s just another avenue to explore in terms of wider publicity. And on the subject of publicity, if you like my weekly entries then why not share them? Apart from the traditional paste and copy method there are also share buttons on YouTube and Word Press. Thanks. And on the subject of social network, I have a facebook page where you can communicate with me. The link is below, it would be great to hear from you. (Article published September 17 2011)