So which one is the stalker? (perch article and video, entry 421)

Click images to enlarge

If you read my Angling Journal regularly then you will know that I fished a reservoir recently for the first time. And not only did I catch my target species of perch, but I managed to get a few decent ones as well. As perch are my favourite fish I didn’t exactly need my arm twisting behind my back to get me to return to the venue. And what a day it was, as you can see from the accompanying video. It was windy everywhere but 100 acre venues have the habit of intensifying whatever is going on elsewhere. With driving rain as well it was a challenge, but as I often say, I’m definitely up for that.

Fishing a small cage feeder filled with brown crumb and SBS predator mix with a ratio of about 4:1, into the venue water went some liquid lobworm. Added to all that were casters and dead and live maggots so when all blended together it looked a positive feast for a big hungry perch. It was a struggle to cast the feeder out as the wind was blowing straight at me, but I managed, often having to wait for a lull in the gale.

I was rewarded early on with a good perch that you can see in photograph 1. It took the worm on size 10 hook very confidently and there was no mistaking the pull round on the 1oz glass quiver tip insert. It was great to get the fish in the weather I was experiencing, so I was happy with that. The rest of the session was pretty hard going though, certainly nowhere near as prolific as first time round when I lost count of the number of good perch I caught. But I managed to get perch and a small bream. I knew that, particularly with the conditions, it was going to be tough. I wasn’t disappointed on that front.

I was kept entertained though by four common terns that did the rounds as they hunted over the surface of the reservoir, as well as five species of gull –herring, lesser black-backed, great black-backed, common and black headed. I also saw a raven in flight and on the butterfly front a few ringlets braved the wind in the area I was in. Of course I go fishing to catch fish, but as a naturalist it certainly makes everything much more interesting because I take the ‘big picture’ approach.

My next visit couldn’t have been more different weather-wise. With the sun out, a light ripple on the surface and the sky looking very ‘dry’ it was a day that was totally the opposite. There again for an afternoon session, I set up in a different peg. There is nothing wrong with fishing the same place of course, and like all anglers I have my own favourite spots that I like to head for. But I also like to explore and in fact it’s through pioneering that I’ve come across some of my most-loved swims.

The water level of the reservoir itself was well down from my last outing. Bear in mind that these types of venues are working environments, they are there to provide drinking water (or in some cases irrigation), they are not first and foremost constructed as angling places. We are just part of the by-product process. That’s why we need to be careful when we start moaning about things; we just need to see things differently sometimes, that’s all. So although my angling might be affected by a drop in three feet, the bottom line is that the reservoir wasn’t constructed solely so I can go perch fishing.

My tactics and bait were as the last time. I was casting about 30 metres and using a feature on the far bank enabled me to hit the general spot each time. Many anglers are daunted by big venues, whether that be the river angler confronted with the lower Severn for the first time or the club pool angler finding himself faced with 100 acres of open reservoir. But there’s no need to be intimidated, the principles of knowing your swim and finding out what’s beneath the surface are the same.

The day was quite slow, and I fished a few hours, right up to dark. I managed to catch a slow trickle of perch though, plus a couple of small bream. The perch weren’t what we call monsters, but still needed the net, so that’s better than blanking for sure. My very first visit to the venue was a real red-letter day, but as an experienced angler I knew that you can’t keep that sort of catch rate up. Even if you fish a goldfish bowl the residents don’t feed 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But that’s angling and while it’s important to be confident and have high expectations, this needs to be tempered with realism, otherwise we will get disappointed and if that leads to discouragement then that will seriously affect our fishing.

While I was there, at one point in the afternoon I heard a voice behind me ‘Hello Mr Bloor, are you stalking me?’ Looking around it was Steve Collett, referring to the fact that this was the second time we had encountered one another in recent weeks on the bank, the other time being the lower Severn. Although as I was already there first on both occasions, the question should be asked as to which one is the stalker, don’t you think! Anyway joking aside, Steve set up in the next peg and we were able to have a good natter for the rest of the day.

Steve also struggled as well, although he was really made up to catch a ruffe right at the end. I know how he feels because I love those fish as well. I got him on film though and you can see the clips on the accompanying video. As well as a few general ones fishing, Steve is my guest for the week, and of course the question I asked is perch-related as I try, as much as possible, to keep everything focused.

My third and final session saw me move to a different part of the venue, in fact quite a walk from where my car was parked. You don’t realise when you’re plodding along just how much ground you cover, it’s often only when you look back and see your car, entry point or whatever as a small dot on the horizon, that you appreciate the walk involved. And with a really heavy rucksack on my back it was a jaunt, but let’s face it, not exactly a hardship.

The place I fished was towards the shallower end of the reservoir and with the level still being down, the shallows were really that and for as far as the naked eye could make out, just a couple of feet of water choked with weed was all that one could make out. But a comfortable chuck with the cage feeder saw me in deeper water and after a few casts I got amongst the fish.

And from then onwards it was a steady and regular stream of bites throughout the session. I caught mostly perch but with a fair few bream this time. They tended to come in spells, obviously a shoal moved in and then moved on. Most of the bream were quite small but I did get a bigger fish that you can see in photograph 4. The perch were all netting size, although no real big ones. With just a slight ripple on the surface and with the sun strong and powerful, it was great to catch fish throughout the day and not have to wait until evening. And talking of evening, that’s a dusk shot of the reservoir in the final photograph at the top of the page.

There are a number of nature-related clips in the video this week including common terns, little egret, and a comma butterfly with flowers being represented by broad-leaved willowherb and marsh woundwort, which you can see in photograph 2. As far as the natural world is concerned, this place is one of the richest in variety of species. And one thing is for sure, I’ll never take any of it for granted.

And finally, I’m going to feature some photographs of other anglers in my weekly video on a regular basis. This will be for people who have ‘liked’ my facebook page and if that’s you then go to the photos section and check out the album titled ‘Fishy Facebook Friends’. We can add any photographs at any time of course, but if you want to be in a video in the next month or so, I’m particularly looking for eel, perch and barbel. And then there are general ones that you might like to share with the world such as venues, wildlife seen while fishing, that sort of thing. Look forward to hearing from you. (Published August 2011)


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