I’m sure we all have our favourite species. For many that will be carp or barbel as they are certainly cult fish these days. Perhaps for a few it may be roach, particularly if you’re an old-timer. When I was a kid, they were definitely up there in many anglers’ affections. For me though the perch sits firmly on the throne of my own piscatorial league table.
It’s difficult to say why; perhaps a number of reasons. Even though I am a genuine all-round and enjoy fishing for all species, I always find myself getting drawn back to perch. So with just a few hours free on the evening, my opening session found me on my syndicate lake. Busy with carpers I found a free peg and cast out.
My set-up was straightforward and I’ve mentioned it many times before. A cage feeder filled with brown crumb and dead maggots, with the hook length created by a 5mm bead and size 6 shot. The line was 4lb Maxima straight through to a size 10 Drennan Super Specialist hook. Bait was a lobworm. I was fishing 4 lengths out in about 14 feet of water.
You cast out, feed the line through your fingers as the feeder falls through the water. Then when it hits the bottom you tighten and in the process draw the feeder back towards you emptying the crumb and maggots on the bed of the lake. I did a few casts one after the other early on to get some bait out then put the rod in the rest and waited.
I didn’t have too long either before the tip pulled round and I found myself playing a perch of about 12oz. A nice fish to kick the session off with. Whatever you’re after it’s always good to get the first one on the bank. And that one for me this time signalled an endless stream of perch. Most of them were around the 4-6oz bracket but several were bigger and you can see some of them in the first three photographs in this article.
Fishing right up to dark, my session totalled just three hours. But it’s about quality not quantity in the context that it’s better to fish three hours at the right time than twice as long when it’s not ideal. A short dusk or dawn session will be more fruitful than a whole day spent in bright summer sunshine. So if your fishing time is limited don’t worry, just use it efficiently if possible.
My second outing, and although perch were still the target, my tactics were different as I opted for the spinning rod. I have a Greys G Lite 6′ which combined with a Spro Passion Micro reel is a balanced and effective set-up. I do appreciate though that these are specific for perch or other small species, and unless you do a reasonable amount of spinning for them, it may be hard to justify the expense.
That’s the thing with modern angling; I remember the days when you had two rods. A float rod and a leger rod. And even as a young boy, just one for everything, including sea fishing when I went on my holidays! Now we are so specialised that when you really get into your angling you literally end up with the stock of a small shop! I certainly wouldn’t recommend buying gear for the sake of it, but if you’re going to be doing plenty of perch spinning the right tackle does make a difference.
The lake in question is pretty much open water, but there are a few lily pads in places, and it was to a clump of these that I headed for my first cast. And on just my second chuck I saw a perch shoot out from the cover into the crystal clear water and nail the spinner as it passed by. The clarity was such that I fished a silver spoon Mepps Aglia number 3. Even at a distance of 30 feet I was able to watch the lure as it came back to me on the retrieve.
I ended up with a good 25 plus fish, all perch. And most of them I actually saw as they took the spinner. If there’s one thing more exciting than feeling the thud of a perch attack the lure then it has to be watching it. The fish were mostly below the 1lb mark, with just one over. But it was great fun. No, it was brilliant. And isn’t that what angling should be about really?
With less than 2 hours available in my next slot, it was back out with the lure rod. The fish weren’t so obliging and I ended up with just five, although I shouldn’t use the word ‘just’ as I didn’t feel disappointed in any way. In fact I enjoyed myself as much as the previous outing when I bagged up. The fish were all small as well so my landing net remained dry.
My next outing coincided with a delivery of items from Rock Tackle that I will be working on in the near future in terms of testing and product development. With a range of different products to get on with, I chose… a bead! Well a bead is just a bead isn’t it? Well yes and no I suppose. My first impression was good and you can see the bead in terms of size as it sits between my usual 5mm and 8mm for comparison.
Fishing a simple set-up that I often use for perch with a cage feeder on first, followed by a bead and the hook length created by nipping a small shot on the line, the item was perfect. I usually have to force the 5mm over a size 6 shot and the 8mm is too big, but this one was just right. It slipped over the shot with ease as if it were made for the job. Just a small item in terms of the big picture of rig construction but definitely gets top marks from me.
So how did the session go? Casting a 20g cage feeder 3 lengths out filled with brown crumb and maggots, it was the third cast when I had my first perch and from then on it was action all the way. Just a short evening session, a few hours up to dark, but it’s about quality not quantity in terms of time, as I’ve already stated. Hook bait was 4 red maggots on a size 12 hook. The fish were mostly in the 6-8 ounce bracket with just the odd one pushing a pound.
I did get a bigger perch, but as I played it in it took me into something. It wouldn’t budge so I placed the rod on the rest and waited. This is definitely an option if ever you get a fish take you into a snag. There’s always a chance it can swim free again, which is what happened here. Unfortunately though the hook hold had also been loosened and that and the fish parted company. But at least the fish was safe so that was the most important thing really.
To finish off my perch pursuing I visited a different water – one that is much bigger, as you can see from the photograph. It was a glorious day and regardless of any fish being caught, I knew I was in for a suntan at the very least. It is quite deep and casting around 25 metres I opted for a helicopter rig so at to minimise tangles.
I had spent the evening before tying rigs. With so many components and knots involved, you can’t do this at the water’s edge. Well you can I suppose, but it will seriously eat into your fishing time. It’s much easier to do it in the comfort of your home and once on the bank it’s a pretty straightforward job of basically connecting everything together. And if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, it can be fiddly as well.
The session itself went reasonably well with a few perch and a single bream/roach hybrid in the net by the end of the day. None of the perch were big, certainly all under the 1lb mark. But that’s fishing, you don’t always catch big ones every time. And sometimes you don’t catch at all! And because I don’t have any image to live up to, or an ego to feed, I’m quite happy to report every session as it is. Hook bait was 2 red maggots on a size 16 hook and I used a 20g cage feeder packed with brown crumb and maggots.
The truth is I just enjoy my fishing regardless. Of course, I want to catch something, and always target specimen fish, but if I don’t it doesn’t bother me. And with over 1,000 gulls on the water I had plenty to occupy my mind as I switched between the bite alarms and the birds. I saw 5 different species: black-headed, herring, lesser black-backed, great black-backed and common. I don’t often see so many in one view at the coast! The most I’ve ever seen in one place is 7 – the previously mentioned ones plus Iceland and Caspian.
Make sure you check out my Angling website HERE and on the home page you’re just one click away from any of the last 14 sessions. I also do a monthly video that you can access on my YouTube channel HERE. I get between 600-700 video views a day, which over the course of a month is about 20,000. I recently passed the 800,000 mark – the power of the internet eh! You can also connect with me on facebook and twitter – the links are on my angling website. And finally, if you’re out and about yourself, tight lines!