Saturday, 29 September 2012

New perch pb

I recently met up with for the first time, another forum regular and blogger Matt Holmes from Fooling Fish. He loves to lure fish and has a far greater variety of skills to his name than I do catching anything from small silvers to pike and even often on his own home made flies or lures. He took me to a canal which is one of his new little gems and while he couldn't promise me a massive perch, there were some in there to be had if we could find them. On my first trip out I managed around eight small perch on a small Kopyto lure that Matt had lent me. Matt faired a little better managing a few more with a nice perch of over 2lb easy, possibly 2.5lbs (photos here). I was happy with my little trip and it was good to meet up with another lure angler to see how other people are doing things. We later had another brief get together, this time with me tagging along late with Matt and Neil who had met up a little earlier. The going was a little tough but Matt had yet again pulled out another perch over two pound, something Neil has noted from his outings with Matt. He always seems to bag a decent stripey! I only had the one fish that evening but it was a little bigger than the usual six ounce perch and I was just happy to get out. A further session together saw me and Neil meet up first with Matt joining us an hour or so later. Neil had three perch and Matt got one in a quiet, head scratching, where have the fish gone, session while I didn't get a sniff.

So today while sitting restless I decided to get out just after lunch time. I decided against jumping straight in to Matts' stretch but still fancied the canal he'd taken me to. So I set about exploring a little further along, having a look at some of the small bridges that criss-cross the canal. My plan was to check out all these features, see if we can get parked up anywhere and then if ever two or three of us meet up here again we've a bit more water to explore in case things are quiet. We'd previously walked a stretch of the canal, leap frogging each other up to the next bridge and then back again. So this time I decided to start at that bridge and continue along and see what is in store.

I had some of my own Kopytos stuck in the post that hadn't yet arrived. My fault for putting the wrong address on my order but luckily I'd bumped in to Dominic Garnett (check out his blog here) at the PACs annual conference in Harrogate last weekend and he had a few Kopytos for sale so I grabbed some. Armed with my new perch catching lure I set about casting at the shadows of the bridge, along the walls and anywhere else you'd expect to find a perch hiding. My first ten minutes or so produced nothing except one strong "pluck" of the lure which I never managed to hook in to. I crossed the road and tried the other side and again no luck before finally settling back on the other side of the road but this time the other side of the canal. I was casting around, letting the lure sink to the bottom as Matt had taught me, and then slowly winding in. Sometimes bouncing it on the bottom, sometimes straight retrieve, sometimes letting it sit on the bottom for a few seconds. Nothing seemed to be getting any attention and since I'd not even seen a perch follow it didn't look promising.

Then bang! My little Greys G Spin rod was bent double as a rather large perch was bashing away on the other end. The water was pretty clear and I soon got a glimpse of the fish and then started to feel the bottom of my arse start to fall out. I squeezed my butt cheeks and quickly grabbed the net. The perch put up a fantastic scrap on the light rod before I got it over the net and scooped up. This was a big perch!

I unhooked the perch and then grabbed a carrier bag out of my rucksack to get a weight. It was a solid, chunky old warrior and I knew it was going to be a new pb, but when the scales dropped just short of 2lb I was gob smacked. I checked the scales, maybe they were a little rusty, so I gave them a good tug and had another go, still just short of 2lb, what the hell? I put the fish back in the net and gave it some water, and then as it gathered some air I gathered my senses. By golly you idiot, that was kilos! It was just short of two kilos and if my math was any good then that converted to a pb by a mile. I got the perch back in the carrier bag for another look. Holly smokes, 3lb 12oz. That looks much better and certainly fits the size of the fish. I've never seen a perch as big in my life up close and what a sight it was, what a creature these big perch are!

pb 3lb 12oz perch

Putting the old warrior back

I make no apologies for blanking out most of the photo. Matt put me on these fish and I'm not about to let out his new little secret so the dodgy photo editing will have to stay. I had another twenty minutes or so in the swim with no more joy so had a walk along the bank about a hundred metres or so. Nothing much happened until I dropped on a shoal of smaller perch around 10 ounces in size. The first one to hit the kopyto lure was chased by another six or seven of the same size. What a sight to see in this crystal clear water. I managed to catch another two from the same spot before it went all quiet again.

I walked back to the car and set about my original plan of exploring the other bridges and features. I didn't spend too long in each spot, thinking that they all certainly looked like perch areas but once I'd not had any action I moved off to the next. Occasionally I'd drop on some small perch which would struggle to get the 2.5inch lure in their mouth and I also dropped a small jack pike which I managed to tempt out, twice, from under a overhanging tree but then lost it off the hook after a very brief tussle. There was nothing to suggest that any of these other bridges held mammoth perch but there's no reason why they wouldn't either because it's the same bit of water just a few miles apart. I'll certainly give them another shot a few times to see what crops up. I set off home happy I'd got that massive perch, but couldn't' resist a cast in another more local canal. I had a few small perch chase, grab hold of and drop off the lure which added a bit of fun before finally a small jack pike of around 3lb smashed out from the weedy depths, took the lure and then set about stripping off around 20m of line. A great bit of fun on the light rod and a good way to finish off my day.

So a big thanks to Matt Holmes for showing me this bit of water. Pity the fish didn't come when you guys were around to see it but as we've already said before, there is lots of potential in this canal and there are some even bigger perch to be had!

2012 pike tally
Doubles 30
Total 197
Largest 22.5lb
Twenties - 2
Bonus Perch 48
Largest 3lb 12oz
Bonus chub - 1


  1. Very nice perch there mate , well done!

  2. Brilliant Perch there fella.

  3. Hi Paul
    A really well proportioned big Perch. Stunning fish, well done


  4. Thanks again. A mate of mine has also pulled out a 3lb 4oz today. Some big brutes in there it seems, more to come hopefully!

  5. Excellent mate, once you've had a big stripey you can't get them out of your system!