After my pair of three pound Perch I made a concerted effort to try and find a venue other than the river capable of producing a genuine four pounder, a real beast. It didn't take me long to find one fairly locally. A lake on caravan park had given up a massive Perch of 4lb 6oz a couple of years ago. The chap who caught it was fishing for Bream at the time and caught it on sweetcorn of all things.
On my next day off I headed to the park and timed my arrival just right as the park was just opening. The man in charge was a glum looking fellow, maybe he didn't see many anglers in the middle of January. I asked Mr Miserable which lake the big Perch came from and he kindly told me (there are six lakes on site). This narrowed down my search somewhat and he also claimed "there are a few threes in there too" rather unconvincingly. I'd already worked out he knew as much about fishing as I do about caravans. After paying for my ticket I rushed around to the lake in question and such was my enthusiasm I got my car stuck on the grass. Fifteen minutes of frantic tooing and froing later and I was back on the roadside.
A quick check on my phone and I found the same peg the Giant Perch had been caught from. "Easy then Phil, catch it first attempt did you?". No. Six frustrating hours in the rain soon brought me back to reality. I tried every trick in the book and all I had to show for my efforts were two micro-Perch and a small Bream. Not sure what else to say. I'd might go back but part of me thinks life may be too short for this specimen hunting lark.
A score to settle
Ken, he with the rucksack and carboot sale tackle put me to shame on our last trip so it was time to get even. I picked him up ridiculously early and we headed over to the river. We arrived so early I couldn't even see to set up. Luckily it gets light super quickly this time of year so I was soon in my favourite spot while Ken wandered about with his lures. He was first of the mark with a small Pike while I waited patiently behind my quivertips. I needn't have worried as I was soon playing a decent Perch. Then another. Both over two pounds they were great fish but nothing unusual for the River. Sounds like I'm being ungrateful but it's the truth.
Ken decided to have a go with some maggots after thrashing every peg to a foam with his lures. He pulled out an ancient looking tip rod. I say tip rod, it was just a very short rod with the end painted red. I lent him one of mine and reassured him that his would come in handy should we need to do any impromptu pole vaulting or cattle prodding. I even tied his rig for him, a simple water knot link leger. Ken wandered off downstream, heading for a spot I had told him about. I even told him where to cast. Ten minutes later he came running back with this, the biggest Rudd I have ever seen......
At 1lb 14oz he had beaten my personal best. Jammy git. As I placed it in my keepnet though one of my tips started to move. I struck into it and immediately a battle started. It was a powerful fish and if it was a Perch I was sure it was a good one. It was, and at 3lb 6oz it was a real specimen. "Holy cow, that's the biggest perch I have ever seen" exclaimed Ken, echoing my sentiments about his Rudd. It is the bottom fish in this picture....
One of the two pounders and the 3. 6.......
We persevered for another couple of hours with no luck. I moved downstream, again to no avail. Ken dropped into my Perch peg and snared a decent Pike that came off as he faffed around trying to land it. A short while later we both decided was time for a move, several as it turned out. We fished five or six drains on the way home. Ken had three more Pike while I added a couple and we also witnessed a fairly rare double rainbow along the way.......
Back on the trail
A week later and I was ready to get back out there. A friend had put me onto a Perch hotspot on a drain not to far away from my house. It was still dark when I arrived and to be honest I couldn't really tell where he had caught. Four drains all meet in a massive shallow, weed infested intersection. Totally baffled, I headed upstream to a spot I fancied having found it on google earth. By the time I got there it was raining quite heavily. This combined with ridiculously steep banks made fishing very uncomfortable. The drain was alive though. Fish moving everywhere. Small fish topping and scattering as they were chased by unseen predators. I stuck it out for half an hour catching a couple of tiny perch and a Bream on the tip. With the weather worsening I decided to head over to another spot I reckoned would have some decent Perch, more importantly it had flat banks so I could get my chair and brolly in.
A fruitless hour was spent here and I was on the move again. Yet another river and another blank hour. Heading home at lunchtime wasn't what I had planned. A quick bike ride with the dogs later and I was back out again with the cheese I showed you last month. If the Perch weren't playing ball surely the Chub would? I still had the rods set up and tried all my favourite spots. Nothing. The river was up and coloured but not enough to put the Chub off I kept saying to myself. Sure enough I did manage one of exactly four pounds out of sheer stubbornness to round off a rather miserable day.....
The next day I was browsing the Internet again for big Perch. A picture of a barely credible five pounder came up. I recognised the place. It was the drain with the steep side I had fished first-off the day before. My initial hunch was right. The following day I was back there fully prepared. As I pulled up in the car a Cormorant was in the swim but it soon flew off when I got out. Heading over to far bank it was reasonably flat although very muddy. I set up two tip rods, a float rod and a lure rod. I fished the tips mostly but needed to cover every eventuality. "I suppose you caught that five pounder then did you Phil?". If only. I did catch a great deal of Perch though, thirty eight in total, biggest a creditable 2lb 1oz. Sorry about the rubbish photo but I was keen to get them back in the water......
Strange place though. If I cast to the far bank, I'd get a perch, the near bank, a Bream or Rudd (bearing in mind the drain is only probably twenty feet wide). On two separate occasions people pulled into the layby opposite and just stood staring straight at me. A seagull helped itself to a small fish now and then while a big Pike hunted on the far bank. This is all by a very busy road in the middle of a village. Not sure if I'm any more likely to catch a four pounder from here than my favourite river. It is certainly a lot less pleasant to spend a day at. In total I had twenty five pounds of Perch and silver fish, no wonder that Cormorant was there.
That wasn't the end of the day though. I stopped off at a couple of likely looking places on the way home. I added a few small perch but nothing of any note. Maybe I should have stayed where I was to see if the big girls would have turned up.
The last few sessions have taken it out of me. I'm desperate to catch a four pounder but I may be trying too hard. It is all very well knowing where they reside but sussing out a venue can take both time and effort. I'm going to have a week off and just try and relax a bit.
In other news I got a phone call while on the drain. I was asked to fish for my local team in something called the Supercup. No idea what it is and I wasn't keen initially. I'm a specimen hunter now I thought until I gave myself a slap around the face. They have kindly asked me so I'll do it. Besides it's at a local lake where I've had some big perch. Only joking, I'll catch Carp. There are only Perch without brains.
Every month I talk to you so I thought it might be nice for you to have a nosey in my tackle bag.
Top left- Tackle Bag is actually a Korum coolbag but is big enough for what I need.
Top Middle- In each end pocket are two reels. These are a Shimano Nasci 4000 for feeder/lure work and a Shimano Exage 1000 for float fishing.
Top Right- My workhorses- Shakespeare Mach 2 reels. One is brilliant, the other a temperamental sod. Three spools with each.
Middle Left- In the main compartment I can get four boxes in. This one is full of rubber lures.
Bottom left- Main lure box.
Bottom middle- Feeder/bits box
Bottom Right- Float box and one I use the most. Hooks/weights/plummets/disgorgers etc
Not pictured- Front pocket. Scales/forceps/gloves/torch/line/baitdropper etc
I have to listen to other anglers whinging on constantly about Otters and Cormorants etc doing untold damage to our sacred hobby. The Chub river I fished was meant to have been decimated by Otters. I'll tell you what though, when I was there all sorts came floating by me. Polystyrene blocks, burger boxes, a football, a shoe and that was just the stuff that floated. Likewise on the Drains, the amount of crap on the banks is terrible and I'm afraid, unlike the Chub river, most of it is from anglers. Pike anglers in particular seem not to have any kind of system for storing empty packets and the like. Shame.
Thanks for reading and remember you can contact me anytime via e-mail
Till next time..............