The legend. And the secret spot (perch article, entry 384)

We all know how secretive the angling world can be at times, and with good reason as well. Now that the internet is well and truly part of our lives, it not only opens up a platform for knowledge gathering in the positive but also the negative as well. And by that I mean catch something decent, and be careless, and without doubt you will live to regret it. There’s no need to get paranoid, but at the same time there is definitely a case for secrecy. And that’s the introduction for this week’s article as I get back on the perch trail big time. The story goes back to a conversation I had with a friend some time back who said he would introduce me to a fantastic perch water, but that I had to keep it totally hush-hush. Well, like everyone else I have my faults, but the inability to keep a secret isn’t one of them. And that’s why I was taken into confidence in the first place of course. Anyway, Lawrence Breakspear is the Legend (which he is!) and I’ve decided to call the venue the secret spot (which it is!) 

The day began with a meet in a layby, and from there we drove the couple of miles or so to the venue. It’s funny when you have heard a lot about a place but have yet to see it. You automatically build a picture in your mind and invariably when you arrive it’s nothing like you imagined it to be. And that was true on this occasion as well. But it wasn’t the scene above the surface of the water that interested me but rather what lurked beneath it. And with monster perch in residence, I was certainly fired up on that front. From the off we caught fish – mostly smaller ones of a few ounces, but after a number of those, the stamp of perch rose a category so that we were landing beautiful looking ones in the 6-12oz bracket. I was the first to hit a big fish and that’s it pictured left. What a beauty it was, and whilst for most waters you would be content to catch one such perch in a session, for us that was merely the beginning. The best was yet to come! In fact I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing days fishing I have had for a long time!


What was particularly exciting was the The Legend (he will love reading this!) said to me even before we went that I had an open door to go back whenever I wanted. And as we hooked and landed perch after perch right throughout the session I was already working out my diary for the coming week. And as the quality of fish increased throughout the day I was even considering leaving home for good and pitching up there permanently! If I say that we honestly lost count not only of the fish to 2lb, but also the ones well above that mark, I am not exaggerating. And with the best fish in the 3’s (and falling to The Legend, pictured centre below) it was a fantastic afternoon’s fishing that we had. At the end of the day it also took two of us to lift the net from the water, and again I don’t write that for effect. And apart from one small roach that I caught, every single fish that we had was a perch.


The approach that we took to the water was slightly different in terms of tackle, how we got the bait out and so on, but the common denominators were that we both float-fished worm over red maggots. It’s not rocket science really when it comes to working out perch baits, and although there are other options to bring into the equation, if you use the worm/maggot combination as a starting point you won’t go far wrong. Above you can see another couple of quality fish that I caught on the session, plus Lol’s 3lb’er. They are nice ones for any angler but as perch are my favourite species, you can imagine just how I felt. It took me a good day or so to come back down to earth! And it wasn’t just me either as Lawrence was feeling exactly the same way as the texts between us confirmed. We’re both experienced anglers who have had some decent fish between us over the years, but without any hesitation whatsoever, we both agreed that this was an extra special session that would live with us for a long, long time to come.


A few days later and I am back on the water, this time alone. I would describe myself as balanced, logical, realistic and practical, so I was under no illusions that all I had to do was turn up and emulate the catch of the previous session. But in spite of all that I was incredibly excited once I knew that I could fit a time slot into my diary that allowed me to return. The countdown saw me like a kid as the last few days before Christmas draws near. Going for another afternoon slot, the weather again was reasonable. Mild autumn weather and perch were definitely made for each other as far as I’m concerned. Having been to the place once before I was much more prepared this time round and one major adjustment saw me leave the 4lb – 3lb 8oz line approach and go for 6lb straight through. I increased my hook size from 12 to 8. With some real quality perch in the venue, I wanted to make sure that should I hit that real monster fish of a lifetime then I was going to land it.

As it happened, I didn’t connect with any massive fish, although I had one 2lb 8oz+ that you can see pictured above. The back-up fish consisted of five between 1lb and 2lb, although they were all much closer to the lower weight than the higher. Then there were numerous ones in the 8oz bracket. The sport wasn’t as hectic as the opening session but I would have been surprised if it were. I know a red letter day when I experience one, that’s for sure. And they don’t come any more scarlet than what we had first time round. And finally, I make no apologies for the fact that all five photographs in this week’s article feature perch. As my favourite species, the indulgence of such quality fish adorning the written word is the icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned.

 (Originally published November 2011)

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