Setting the alarm for perch o’clock (perch article, entry 401)

With the river season counting down in days rather than weeks, and with the Severn looking in decent condition, I decided to focus on perch in the two sessions that you can read about in this article. I had a busy Tuesday and by the time I got to bed well after midnight, just for a moment I thought about a lie-in the next morning. But only for a moment though; the alarm was set for perch o’clock, I settled down to listen to some Tamla Motown on my ipod, and as is usually the case, before I get much into the second song, I was asleep.

I had pretty much everything ready for loading into the car, all I had to do was make a flask and get some dead maggots from the freezer. With roads clear of traffic, I was soon at the side of the river and ready to discover what goodies she would unveil during the day ahead. With the sky being very overcast it was quite a chilly day, and one of those where the water temperature is higher than the air. But well-wrapped up, the latter didn’t bother me and with the former 7.4C it was looking good.


Fishing quite close in, just a length or so out, I was able to use a 3AA waggler in about ten feet of water. Anything deeper and it’s the cage feeder rod that would have been my line of attack. My approach was pretty much as written about in recent Severn perch articles: 6lb Maxima to size 8 Drennan Super Specialist hook. Bait was sometimes a single worm, other times I put two on, depending on size. I fed regularly with dead maggots and brown crumb. I also added liquid lobworm additive, but more about that later in the article.

It was a slow session to begin with and hardly any action at all in the first couple of hours, just a couple of small perch and a few quivering movements on the float. But it can take time for fish to move in or switch on, and in due course I caught the perch on the left. It’s a great feeling when the float dips, you strike, and you realise it’s a landing-net sized fish on the other end, topped only by the netting itself.


Although float fishing for perch doesn’t give me the same opportunities to take in the wildlife as say when I have the rods on alarms, and don’t need to concentrate so much, nevertheless I am always dialled in to the world around. Even before I had cast out for the first time I saw an American mink out the corner of my eye, as it swam along the river margins to the right of where I was. On the bird-front I clocked treecreeper, kingfisher, 3 common buzzard soaring and a solitary female goosander. Normally found further up the river, she looked a little lost and didn’t have the natural wariness that the species usually has when people are around. In fact several times she swam in front of me.



As the day wore on so did the fishing pick up. By the time I packed away at the end of the day (it was a first-light till last-light session) I had a nice head of perch, some of them quite decent as you can see from the photographs either side. Like other species, it’s not so much about the individual weight but rather the venue.

And with the Severn not being a noted perch river, to get amongst them in quality as well as quantity is really exciting to a perch addict like me. And the great thing is, that even when the rivers close, I can still pursue them elsewhere. But I wanted to make the most of the present.


I do look forward in my angling, but I never let it interfere with the enjoyment of the present. With plans in the next few months to tackle a large stillwater I ‘discovered’ last year and caught some good fish from, plus my local haunt the Staffs/Worcs Canal, I’ve got plenty to keep my perch juices running. But for now it’s the river and that’s the focus of my attention this week.


Hence, after a day in between where I concentrated on work and some jobs around the house, I was back on the Severn. The conditions were identical to my previous visit. As per the first session I fed with brown crumb and dead maggots, with liquid lobworm added to the river water. I’m not a fan of using tap water and preparing mixes at home. After all if we say that additives make a difference then surely the chemicals in council pop (as we call it in the Black Country) will also affect it.

The stuff I use is pictured on the right. In fact I had been down to SBS the day before to replenish my stock (and have a natter with Des Taylor), as my current bottle was down to its last session. Some anglers rubbish additives and extracts in general, but as far as I’m concerned bait is very important. And even if it’s just the confidence factor it influences, that’s got to be a good thing. But for me, it’s far more than that. Even the anglers that ridicule 5ml of this and a teaspoon of that will ensure that they buy maggots from a shop where they are prepared properly, use fresh worms instead of half-dead ones and even sprinkle stuff from the kitchen on bait to make it more attractive. All they are doing really, but to a lesser degree, is acknowledging the importance of the right bait. It’s just that some anglers go further than others as they pursue ‘the edge’.


As with my previous session, it was a slow start. But as they say, it’s not how you begin, but how you finish that counts. And as the day wore on so did the fishing improve. A steady trickle of perch with the odd decent one amongst them plus a bream and a surprise tench (pictured below) thrown in for good measure. Although in effect the tench shouldn’t come as that much of a shock because since the big floods of recent years, pretty much everything has found its way into the river. In stretches where pools have been located on the flood plain I’ve had tench, rudd and several carp.



I enjoyed my session, as I always do in fact. And certainly where perch are concerned, when I catch well, then there’s always that added sense of achievement. And with the river conditions looking favourable, I intend to see the season out on the Severn after perch, so more of that next week.. Things are going well at the moment, so why change a good run. Plus there’s always that chance of a real monster.

If you’re on facebook then join me and ‘like’ my page (the link is below). Linked to my twitter account, not only does it announce all Angling Journal updates as they happen, but also lots of other fishing-related stuff, including posts from the water’s edge. And on the subject of my Angling Journal, this article is number 400. Published weekly since the middle of July 2003, that’s commitment for you. Although having said that, it’s not exactly a hardship writing about fishing. Here’s to the next 400. (Article published March 19 2011)




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