Monday, 23 March 2015

Back on the perch

It seemed to be over in a flash. The river season is well and truly closed now and it's time to look elsewhere. I've had a little dabble on the canal and already had some success. At first the pike seemed interested but the more I fished, it seemed it was follow after follow rather than takes. Most of the pike seemed to be eyeing up the lures as potential love interests rather than food. At one spot I had nine follows in half an hour. Time to go look somewhere else then.

So I knocked up a couple of light traces, pulled out my shiny new Gunki rucksack and off I went. It was nice to be out with the light lures again. Throwing big lures all day can be a bit tiring but the little stuff is just a flick of the wrist. I had a quick look at the usual locks and bridges but I just wanted to be off. Toddling off down the canal in search of the big old stripey. I wanted a fish but I also just wanted to be off. Somewhere different and a bit more chilled out. No pressure on myself to catch a pike, just go light lure fishing. Luckily I even managed to watch the eclipse through filtering clouds and watery reflections. I know eventually my perch fishing turns in to a hard slog, either when I go searching for a big lump or when the rivers feel like they have been shut forever. The canals get a bit boring for me by the time June comes along so for now I'm making the most of it all being a bit fresh.

First big perch of 2015 - Rapala jointed shad rap
My first session I didn't know where to start. Would the perch be in a tight spot somewhere or all spread out along the canal. I didn't really care, I fancied a walk anyway so off I went. Tough going to be honest but then eventually I got a thump and the rod bent round in familiar fashion and I felt the darting lunges of a decent perch. It was a good two pounder and first decent perch of the year. I decided to pop it back in the landing net and have a few more casts before weighing and photographing the fish. As most people know, it's always worth a few more chucks in the same spot any big perch comes from as they often hang about in groups. Bloody hell the rod smacked round again and I was in, but before I knew what had happened it was off. Damn, that could have been two lumps in the net at the same time. I lobbed the Rapala jointed shad rap back out and it was nailed again. After the first few seconds it went on a couple of lunges and I was thinking jack pike but then I wasn't so sure. No flash of a pike in shallow water and I was convinced I had a big perch on, even bigger than the one in the net and the one that got off. Bugger, the hooks pulled and this one was gone too. I reckon my drag wasn't loose enough. When a big perch goes on a run it should be pulling a bit of line off the reel, and this one couldn't. I reckon the hooks pulled because of that so keep that in mind perch lovers. A bit gutted I'd missed an opportunity of an even bigger perch and also the fact that I could have had three big perch in my net in less than five minutes. You win some you lose some. I managed to pick up another perch later, not quite big enough or fat enough to be a two. I've no idea what the first one weighed as I had a right mix up with my scales. I thought I had them in my bag, but they weren't there. I decided to peg the net and run 300m to the car for them. I did that, blowing out of my arse too having run that length in wellies. Upon checking the car the scales weren't there so I had to go all the way back. I had to put the fish back, knowing it was a big two but how big I wasn't sure. Never mind. May be it was a good thing that bigger perch got away. Later on, back at the car I found those scales and they were exactly where I was supposed to have looked.

A plan to go elsewhere was thwarted as upon arrival I was already beaten to the spot by three or four other anglers. So I upped sticks and carted myself off somewhere I'd fished earlier in the week. I'd seen some pike, caught one about eleven pound on a Buster Jerk and seen a few more. I thought I'd give them another go and see If I could get one of them to take this time. Sometimes that's what happens. One day they're a bit fussy, the next time you go they hammer the lure. Also as was the case this time, sometimes they're in the same bloody mood as last time your fished. With time running out before work and my Buster jerk darting left and right I caught a glimpse of something following. A few more taps of the rod and then a pause. I felt a pull so set the hooks and I was in. Panic, get the net! Jesus Christ it's a big fat perch. A big fat perch just came up and nailed my jerk bait. Awesome! Having searched all morning for a big perch, caught a decent one but lost a lump on the light gear I then go and bag the one I wanted on a proper pikers lure and at 3lb 6oz it was big enough to take it.

Perch on Buster jerk - 3lb 6oz

Ady was in the mood for perch. Pike fishing was behind us and he was ready for a stripey, especially after getting phone calls from me about my nice fish. So the weekend meant we were on it and this time he was bringing a mate. One of his buddies Dan, who is more of a carper, fancied a go at this ultra light game just for a change. The chance of a big perch being the attraction as is the case with many this past twelve months as big perch fever has swept the nation. Dan had no gear and didn't really know what to do with the lures so it was starting from scratch. Not always easy when you are fishing with two perch hungry, hundred mile an hour well drilled lure boys. Me and Ady fish together loads and know what to do and even what each other are thinking when it comes to fishing. So it was as hard for Dan to try to keep up as it was for us to try and slow down. It wasn't the easiest day to learn the ropes in the end though. The smaller perch weren't anywhere to be seen, which we were hoping would help him get off the mark. It then turned out that the bigger perch weren't showing either and after a few hours we were fish less. I'd missed a near two, and had a couple of jack follows but that was it for our efforts. We headed back for the car but half way there we fancied a chuck again and within a few minutes Ady was shouting for the net. On his tarty new lure rod he was playing a big perch and the Christening of the rod was complete as the net slid under a super 3lb 6oz perch. The second 3lber to us this week, and we've only just got back in to this perch bashing, what a start.

3lb 6oz perch - Rapala X rap shad

The fishing continued to be tough and another long trek and loads of water covered with not much to show for it at all. But as is always the case, you have to keep going as it only takes one cast to land a fish and before long it was time for another. Again, the shout came from Ady and he was in to a good perch. This one went 2lb 10oz and was another good looking fish.

2lb 10oz perch - Rapala x rap shad

Lunch time came and went, stretch after stretch of canal was covered but we couldn't find any shoals of perch willing to give us some fun and more importantly get Dan his first ever proper perch. We ended up miles from our starting point and we finally got some smaller perch fun though it was slow paced compared to the usual summer time madness. It was getting late in the day and it was looking like we were going to fail with our attempt to get Dan a new pb. Then out of nowhere four or five half decent perch, pushing a pound or so came darting in at his shad rap lure. A quick pluck from a couple of perch but then it was over as the lure was lifted out of the water. I had on a tiny 2 inch curly tail Zman GrubZ lure so gave him my rod. He dropped the lure in the spot where the fish had gone back down and gave a few jigs of the lure and then thump, he was in. It was a tight spot but Ady was quick with the net and it was in. We'd done it. A new pb for Dan and a super one too. A right little fatty of a perch at 2lb 5oz and probably 2lb bigger than he'd ever had before. A great way to finish the session. Hopefully the start of a good bit of ultra light fun over the next few months.

Dan with a new pb perch at 2lb 5oz - Zman GrubZ

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