Watch the video Click images above to enlarge Visit my Angling Journal
My flexible approach to angling means that I fish for whatever I want, when I and for how long I want. Thus, as the desire to target big perch came over me, I wasn’t exactly fighting it. Go with the flow and follow your heart! And let’s face it, having a spell pursuing my favourite species is hardly a hardship is it! It meant an early start for session one, but as you can see from the video I wasn’t exactly complaining as I sat there eating my toast, drinking my tea and getting ready for a trip in pursuit of something green, black, red and hopefully big!
Before I do move on to the actual fishing, let me mention Bewdley Tackle. I refer to the shop in the video as I’m wearing a BT hat. A few weeks back I did some filming in the shop and set up a YouTube account for the business. You can check it out at /bewdleytackle. Not only for fishermen in the area, but also for those outside of it who visit for angling, then it’s a contact definitely worth having. But all of that can be found in the videos. And that’s your man, Adam, outside the shop (photo 1) which is about a minute’s walk from the river!
So, back to the perch! The accompanying video is the one that covers my first session and so there’s no need to go into great detail as I cover a few different things in that. Once I had my first fish (photo 2) it was pretty much constant action right to the end, which was mid-afternoon in this case. Nothing big, with the upper end stamp of fish nice enough for a pose (photo 3) but not the monsters I was seeking. I did have one on however, but the hook pulled. Only after I had the wonderful feeling of connecting with it for a few seconds first though. But rather than be discouraged, it just inspired me to get back.
And back I was! There from first light right through to the end of the day. I fished a small waggler in about 7 feet or so of water just a length from the bank. With worm on the hook I fed either loose red maggots or pushed them into small balls of groundbait that went out on a regular basis, every minute or so. Because the fish were feeding constantly, I took the ‘little and often’ approach to keep them keen and competing with one another. You can see the mix I used (photo 4) which was brown crumb and predator mix. The product is SBS but at this moment in time it’s not being made
I was into fish from the first cast, not perch however but bream. But not the sort of bream I target when I am after the species, which is big fish over the double figure mark. Certainly ones that a match angler would be interested in though. Get a shoal of 1-2lb fish feeding in your swim and you’re well away. It was perch though I was targeting and I eventually started to catch them (photo 5) as they began to dominate proceedings. Bream aren’t particularly aggressive creatures, catch a big one and it’s like bringing a carrier bag full of water in, so I imagine the perch simply muscle their way in.
If you’re new to my Angling Journal you may not know that perch are my favourite fish. I think they are amazing creatures (photo 6) and I love catching them regardless of size. Of course, I want to get amongst the bigger ones, but ultimately I can fully appreciate a perch of any size. Whether 2oz or 2lb I just love them all to bits! You can see further fish from the session (photos 7-9) in various stages of pose. That’s one tip I would give if you write a blog and include photos – try and vary the angle, position etc so it’s more than just a standard ‘angler holding fish across his body’ shot.
One thing you may notice in many of my photographs is that I’m not always visible. You often see just my hands or part of my body. I basically want the fish to fill the frame and not me. Holding the fish close to the camera isn’t about making the fish look big. In fact unless there is a weight declared then there’s no motive to make something appear bigger anyway. I just want to capture the fullness of the fish rather than a tiny little object dwarfed by me taken with a camera that is ten feet away.
And on the subject of weights, although I do declare mine sometimes, more often than not I don’t. In fact I may not always weigh the fish, particularly if it isn’t very big. As is the case in this week’s Angling Journal – I didn’t get the scales out once. One thing I am aware of though is that, particularly with the internet, there are weights declared by anglers that are nowhere near what they are saying. Sometimes this is intentional, a desire to deceive (although it doesn’t fool anyone with even a bit of experience of weighing fish properly), other times though it’s not.
Cheap scales, or more likely, not zeroing them is the guilty party. Then you get the anglers who guess. Whether it’s a guess without scales (where we always tend to go higher than lower) or one where we weigh and take a 1lb or whatever off for the net, the result is there are lots of published weights that are nowhere near what they claim. Consequently you get anglers with pb’s of 20lb pike, 2lb roach, 4lb perch when in fact the fish they are claiming were probably half those declarations.
Then you’ve got the outright lies. Maybe to create a name for yourself, covering up insecurities or perhaps you just can’t help but telling lies. Either way there is a lot of this in angling as well. Intention to deceive. Just tell it as it is, you’ll get more respect that way and ultimately you don’t fool anyone anyway. If you read my Angling Journal on a regular basis you will know I share blanks as well as red-letter days. And you’d be amazed at the number of people who contact me to say just how much my struggling sessions encourage them. It’s about sharing it all, warts and all, as they say!
And finally, as I round up my second perch session of the article I estimated I had over 70lb of fish in the net (photo 10) at the end of the session. The vast majority were perch, a few bream, a solitary roach and right at the end I foul-hooked a ruffe! I don’t usually use a keep net but this particular swim was quite tight and I prefer not to let fish back straight after catching, certainly when there’s volume involved. I know the keep net police will be fuming but I had a good length net, pegged out properly and in deep water.
And I don’t say that to justify my actions before the aforementioned constabulary, but rather to point out what is good angling practice. I remember when you could buy tiny nets with massive mesh knots, thankfully all that’s in the past. So with a decent sized net, and laid out correctly, I don’t have issues. In fact I try not to get involved in minor stuff anyway. If you’re going to take a stand then do so over something important such as fish thefts or litter. Not cane rods, centre pin reels or which camouflage pattern makes you a better angler. (article published March 17 2012)