Read, think, work out, and put into practice (Perch article)

Click photographs above to enlarge

After distractions of the nicest possible kind, ie fishing for other species, I am back on the perch trail in this week’s Angling Journal. A path that led me to the reservoir where
I have recently fished for the first time and had some nice perch. Full of
confidence, I parked my car and made my way to the water’s edge. I was soon
fishing and enjoying the bright sun that even made me feel like nodding off.
You know the sort of days where you start to feel a battle coming on in the
snooze stakes.

However that all changed as the weather took a sudden and
totally unexpected downward turn. At first I thought it was just a minor
passing shower, so much so that I didn’t even get my umbrella set up. But
within minutes I was underneath it with torrential rain beating down. It was so
bad even the wildlife were pairing up. And even though the intensity of the
rain backed off, the rest of the day was cold, damp and murky.

It was also fish-less as well. Even though I had the occasional
pluck, nothing developed. They weren’t the lightning-quick takes of roach that
resulted in sucked maggots though. I had the distinct impression that there
were perch out there that simply couldn’t be bothered. It was just one of those
days. But far from discouragement setting in it merely motivated me to get back
on the same venue and teach it a lesson.

But in the meantime I had a few hours free one evening that I
decided to invest in exploring a water closer to home. It’s one of those places
that has lots of carp anglers but as we know, perch aren’t part of their
equation and as boilies are the going bait, none are likely to get hooked
accidently either. I arrived early evening and set up in a peg that had 14 feet
of water a rod length out. I put out a few balls of brown crumb / SBS predator
mix / SBS liquid lobworm / casters and dead red maggots. Fishing a small (1/4
ounce) bomb I flicked a worm on a size 8 Drennan Super Specialist hook out into
the lake.

After a couple of hours I decided to move due to the weed. One
of the keys to successful angling is when to stay put and see it out and when
to up sticks and relocate. Due to the weed I was getting it wasn’t a hard
decision to make. Moving to a similar swim but one that had no weed at all in
it, the moment I cast the bait out I had a perch on the drop.. And it was
certainly no fluke as 4 out of the first 5 were over 1lb. It dropped off a
little after that as just one more of that bracket fish was caught in the total
of about a dozen in an hour.

What was particularly encouraging was that I’ve never seen
anyone perch fishing on there, so it was great to connect with some quality
fish as a result of thinking outside the box. That’s all it takes, just do
something that others anglers aren’t. Sometimes it doesn’t come off but when it
does it’s brilliant. You even get people say there are no roach/perch/pike or
whatever in here, so when you do get amongst them, the sense of satisfaction is
even greater. And talking of pike I had one latch on to a perch I was playing.
At first I thought the perch had gone into a snag, then the snag began to move.
I saw it in the clear water as it held on for about 20 seconds before letting

I so enjoyed my session on the lake that I returned two evenings
later, this time in the peg that I had the fish in from the start. It wasn’t
quite as hectic, as I had a few quiet spells, but I did have a few perch up to
dark. Nothing big though, which was a surprise. But then again, angling is full
of surprises. You can see video clips of the session though on the accompanying
video. My tackle, tactics and bait were as the previous visit.

My next visit to the lake saw me setting up in nice sunshine in
my tee shirt, only to be tucked under my umbrella a few minutes later with a
pullover on. Talk about the weather changing, the first I knew something was
underfoot was when I heard some thunder. The next thing was the sky went black,
the heavens opened and I’m in the eye of a storm that lasted for about ten
minutes. I was absolutely drenched, particularly as I had a good pull-round
which had me out in the elements playing a decent perch.

Not that I am complaining though as the fish was the biggest of
a number of perch caught throughout the short session. And by that I mean two
hours in length. It’s better to spend that amount of time at the water’s edge
during feeding spells than it is to sit there all day long in the middle of the
day when the chances of a big perch will be slim. I’m always amazed at the
number of anglers who are packing away when I’m only just arriving. ‘Been here
all day mate’ they say, before adding, ‘There’s nothing in here’.

With my enjoyment of the lake being such that I put the
reservoir on hold for a while, I returned for my final session of the article.
I nearly didn’t make it as a major congestion on the road saw me pull over way
before I normally would. As I was only doing a couple of hours I did consider
whether to just turn round and go home. But rather than quit, I left the car
there, grabbed my gear and set off on a trek past a never-ending line of
traffic. Then the venue appeared and suddenly it was like being in another
world. The fumes, horns and noise was in the past as the tranquility of the
lake took over.

It didn’t take me long to get set up and I was fishing in no
time at all. A very simple rig comprised of a 1/4oz bomb, a short hooklength
and a worm on a size 10 hook. I had a small bucket of groundbait that consisted
of SBS brown crumb and predator mix (ratio of 4:1) and dead maggots. I used
predator groundbait mixer, which I added to the venue water. Not the 50/50 that
I would usually use for pike, zander or eels but about 5/1. I didn’t want to
overdo the concentration, as I was experimenting with it. But perch are
predators as much as the previously mentioned species.

It all came together though as right from the start I had fish.
In fact as I had the first one in the landing net and I was getting my camera
set up, the tip again went round and so I did a photo with two perch. From then
on the action was so fast and furious that I lost count of fish in the 1-2lb
bracket in the first hour alone. The second hour was just as hectic and by the
time I packed away I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. Some of the sessions in
this week’s article have been slow, others not so, but I think it was
definitely a case of keeping the best till last.

On the subject of continual fish, once I arrived at a lake and
set up a few pegs down from another angler. It was one of those days when I had
fish after fish, yet the poor guy along the bank had nothing at all. I could
see him watching me as I played the first few fish but then he wouldn’t look at
all. Although no words were spoken between us I sensed he didn’t like it. When
I packed up and walked past him he looked the other way as he didn’t want to
speak. Jealousy destroys us.

But if you’re in the situation where another angler is doing
well, rather than withdraw and become bitter, find out why he is catching and
you’re not. Even if you approach him and he’s not helpful, you can still
observe things such as feeding frequency, where he is casting to and that sort
of thing. And even with the internet you can research and come up with a lot of
food for thought. Take my Angling Journal for example, I may not always tell
you where I am fishing in terms of specific location. But there’s enough
information in there to get you on the right track.

Yet I am constantly asked questions that indicate to me the
person has not read my article for that week, or indeed ever. Just watching the
videos alone is akin to looking at the pictures in a book but not being
bothered to read the words. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not criticising
anyone, simply stating the obvious that if we want to become better anglers, we
need to dig deeper. Being entertained by videos and pictures will not get us
off the first rung of the ladder, If we want to progress then we need to read
what others are doing, particularly if they are catching a few fish along the
way. And not just read, but think, work it out in our own situation and then
put it in to practice.

And finally, from this month I am also putting my Angling
Journal entries on Word Press (You’re here now!), and you can access that via
the link on the home page. It’s just another avenue to explore in terms of
wider publicity. And on the subject of publicity, if you like my weekly entries
then why not share them? Apart from the traditional paste and copy method there
are also share buttons on YouTube and Word Press. Thanks. And on the subject of
social network, I have a facebook page where you can communicate with me. The
link is below, it would be great to hear from you. (Article published September
17 2011)