NO BEASTS THIS WEEK (Perch) – Blog entry 666

The first fish that I ever caught, way back in the 1960s, was a gudgeon. I can still recall it all these years later. The thrill of finally getting a fish on the bank after so long was indeed an exciting one. No-one in the family fished and there was no internet to turn to, hence I ambled along until it finally came good.

The humble gudgeon, my first ever fish
The humble gudgeon, my first ever fish

Therefore it’s still good when I catch one now, even though I’m in my 50s. It brings back lots of memories, all good ones. In the first outing this week I fished a pool where they are wall-to-wall, a bit like the Staffs/Worcs Canal used to be when I caught my very first fish all those years ago. The pool in question is comfortable in that the swims are easily accessible and you can park quite close to them.

I thought this was a perch at first!
I thought this was a perch at first!

Its not really the sort of venue that I would normally head for, as it’s too much like a ‘commercial’. Let me say at this point though, I’m not anti-commercial and I would never criticise them as they do serve a purpose. They’re just not my scene that’s all. Occasionally though I do venture down that route, especially in this case as it’s on a club ticket. There are a couple of pulls, one of them the fact that I can target gudgeon.

A sunset over water, always a great place to be
A sunset over water, always a great time of the day

Fishing about a rod length out in six feet of water I caught small gudgeon, perch and roach with a bonus chunky bream thrown in for measure. When I first hooked the bream in the murky water I thought for a moment that it was a perch. What a fish that would have been! All the ones I caught were on single red maggot on a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist hook. I fed loose maggots on a little-and-often basis and an occasional ball of groundbait.

Some see urban decay, I see water
Some see urban decay, I see water

Always wanting to make the most of every opportunity, taking someone to the hospital in Wolverhampton I put some drop-shotting gear in the trunk of my car. The intention was that they waited, I fished. Well, whatever they say about the state of the NHS, on this occasion it was in and out within minutes. I hardly had chance to do any fishing, I think I managed half a dozen casts that was all.

A canal perch goes back
A canal perch goes back

The remainder of the outings were on more familiar canal territory for me – the Staffs/Worcs. With numerous short sessions, both evening and morning, I caught several perch. I fished the same spot that I have been targeting in recent weeks. I’ve never seen another angler there, in fact everyone who fishes that particular stretch walks past it on their way to fish elsewhere.

An old long-tailed tit nest
An old long-tailed tit nest

I have had some cracking perch from there and I can see it becoming one of my favourite places. My  ‘fear’ though is that when I’m playing and netting a big perch, an angler will be passing by just at that moment. Especially if he’s the sort who goes on the internet and gives directions to anyone who asks. You know what I mean. It’s not selfishness just common sense.

Another perch going back home
Another perch going back home

This week though, no beasts (well it is entry 666 so I need to get that in somewhere) put in an appearance. I know they are there though and that’s good enough for me. I will be returning regularly throughout the year I am sure, so as they say, watch this space. It’s not too far from home and with a made-up rod that means I can be fishing in a short period of time. If you do a lot of quickie sessions like I do, you need those sort of venues.

A very colourful scarlet elfcap
A very colourful scarlet elfcap

It’s great to see nature continuing to wake up after its winter slumber, albeit more of a nap in many ways than a full-on Rip Van Winkle job. I spent some time watching a pair of long-tailed tits nest-building. They were at the feather stage, which is always fascinating to watch. In the bushes behind me was an old nest and although the back had been ripped out,  the front still looked immaculate.

A small roach on the bank
A small roach on the bank

I do love nature and in particular that of the British Isles. I’ve been to Africa on many occasions and seen all manner of things in their native environment but I still get a buzz from what’s going on in my own back-yard. Although birds would be my ‘Mastermind subject’ if ever that was the case, I’m into everything associated with the natural world. That includes fungi and I spotted a very colourful scarlet elfcap while out and about this week. (Published April 16 2016)