The perch bug bites (perch article, entry 399)

After three week’s worth of articles on pike fishing, I was getting the perch bug. And with limited time, and therefore not being able to do a ‘proper’ sit-down session I decided to dust down my spinning rod. Literally dust as well, as it’s been a long time since I flicked a spinner out after perch. Too long in fact, and I have been thinking about it recently, so it wasn’t a second-best attitude that I had as I drove the short distance to the local canal.

One great thing about lure fishing in general is that you can travel really light and of course you don’t need to build a swim up, you take the bait directly to the fish the moment you cast. In this instance, the ‘bait’ was a Mepps Aglia number 3 silver spoon. I have fished with several spinners but the Mepps is my first choice. Others may go for another option, that’s the beauty of angling. It’s like asking ten anglers what is the best line, and you get ten answers.




The section that I fished has been kind to me in the past and I’ve had some good fish from there. But spinning is just like any other discipline – you get red-letter days and other times you really struggle. This session was much closer to the latter than the former. I did catch though and the fish on the left is typical of what you’d call a decent perch from the canal.

The photograph doesn’t do the fish justice, as it was a lovely dark colour and looked beautiful. However, as perch have a special place in my heart anyway, I think they all look great. Although I’ve only ever encountered one pike from the stretch before – and that was very small – I used a wire trace. You can see that from the shot, as it was taken as I lifted the fish from the landing net, and so the spinner was still connected.


On the nature front I noticed fresh badger diggings on the far bank. They looked very promising, and so as dusk drew in, I headed back along the canal to see out the session in that area, in the hope that I would spot a badger. However, trying to multi-task wasn’t a good idea as I tangled with an overhanging bush after a few casts, and once you do that the chances of a successful pull are pretty much impossible. I hate losing items of tackle; especially when you can see it hanging there just yards away.

On the subject of Mepps Aglia, take a look at the Harris Sportsmail site (the link is on my home page) and go to the spinners section in the menu on the left. There is a great choice available and they’re post free as well. In fact I’ve ordered a couple of the red fluorescent ones myself just now as I viewed the page. I remember speaking to Harris’ main man Steve Collett last year about them, but as I haven’t been spinning since, I never followed it through (no pun intended!). However after my session on the canal it won’t be too long before I go a-spinning again. I’ll let you know how I get on with the flashy looking lures.


My final session of the article wasn’t spinning on the canal though, but bait fishing on the River Severn. With the water dropping back to normal winter level I decided to pursue the perch. With the number of river days ticking away, I want to try and get a few trips in before the middle of the month.

So with the alarm set for silly o’clock, I was up really early and ready to cast out at first light. I must admit I’m not much of a morning person (particularly when I’ve had a busy day previously and not much sleep in between) but the prospect of fishing easily overcomes that.


I was fishing in ten feet of water, so just about float territory, which was my chosen approach. Tackle details were a 3AA waggler, 6lb Maxima line and size 8 Drennan Super Specialist hook, with a worm as bait, and brown crumb and dead maggots mixed with some SBS lobworm additive as attractor. I had to wait a while before the first bite came, but after a couple of bumped fish, there was a steady trickle of perch. A few were what you would call reasonable, as in the photographs above. Not specimens, but needing the landing net and putting a healthy bend in the rod.

The best one (bottom) came right at the end as I was about to pack away. Were the bigger fish coming on the feed for the last couple of hours? I couldn’t wait to find out as I had to be back home because I had a church speaking engagement that evening. I did post on my social networking sites ‘should I call a sickie?’ but of course I was only joking. I’m passionate about my fishing but I also happen to love my work as well. I run a church and a charity that works mostly in Africa, so in effect I have two jobs. How do I find the time for angling! Well, for one, my life is well organised and I’ll certainly teach the Germans and Japanese a thing or two about efficiency!


I really enjoyed myself this week, and that should not be a surprise really as perch are my number one species. I don’t really know why, I can’t give a definitive answer. I guess it’s just a heart thing. But whatever it is I do love them. Not that I would, but I was thinking, I’d love a tattoo of a perch. Something grand like a massive one that covered the whole of my back. Now that would be something eh!

Anyway back to reality and the session on the Severn provided a regular sighting of a single kingfisher. I’m assuming it was the same bird, but it could have been a pair that I saw individually. I didn’t get chance to sex it though as it was literally a fly-by job each time. A small flock of c8 siskin fed on common alder trees in the area, a sign that in spite of the upturn in the weather the winter migrants are still with us. Other birds seen included a pair of mistle thrush and several lesser black-backed gull. (Article published March 5 2011)



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