A perch, a perch, my kingdom for a perch…

Since returning to fishing around a fortnight ago I’ve noticed that the number of perch being caught at the lake compared to last year is significantly lower. I myself have had just the one over a pound in weight, whereas this time last year I was averaging at least two per session. I realise that conditions change year on year, as does fish behaviour, health and water quality, but this drop in catches has been noted too by a few of my fellow anglers who frequent my primary fishing hole.

I’m not overly concerned, it’s still spawning time for many of the residents and the weather is scarily hot. In my experience my preferred baits (lob and dendrobena) don’t perform as well when it’s very warm. Perhaps a change of tack is in order.

So, I had a short session from 4.00pm until 8.00pm this evening as I ‘luckily’ managed to snag an evening off work. The downside was that I had to do a full 24hrs standing shift to cover sickness as many of my staff are either on leave or sick themselves. I got home this morning (I believe I floated rather than drove… it’s all a little blurry) at around 9:00am and had a power nap until 1.00pm. Looking at the weather it was, again, a scorcher and my poor arms simply weren’t up to any more sun, sun-block or not. This prickly heat is driving me mental.

Anyhoo, by 4.00 it had cooled and I had half a match pack of dendro there to get rid of as well as some chick peas, so I figured I’d go carping on the offchance of picking up a perch. This is what I do now – I go carping, hoping for perch. That way I’m not disappointed… well not much.

Same drill as last time, brolly up, deadbait rod prepped and half a piece of sweetcorn on a size 16 to get some bait. I picked up some roach and some small bream and sent the roving float replete with fresh roach across to the island, then proceeded to set up the float rod for some carp.

The action was generally slow, but steady. I had a big shoal of bream in the swim biting very shyly, and they weren’t that interested in worm so I switch to sweetcorn and eventually managed to pick up this bad boy.

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He’s old, he’s got half a tail and he’s near on 7lb 2oz and my biggest yet. He was so relaxed when I put him back I thought I might have to do CPR on him. Eventually he looked up at me mournfully and wallowed back into the murky depths.

I then picked up a few 2-3lb commons and F1s and missed a corker of a carp as it ran headlong back underneath me and tangled itself in the deadbait rod-rest.

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Eels again appeared regularly, nothing of any size yet this year but always good to see healthy numbers of them

As for the pike rod, I had one sharp double tap on the float and that was it for the entire session. Always worth having it out there though, especially if the bait is small enough for a larger perch to handle.

Wet nets 🙂

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Popped down for pike…

… and picked up a few perch.

1.2lb and 2.4lb today both on the feeder on lob. Pellet waggler died unfortunately but wanted a shorter margin rod anyway so, thanks fate, I guess!

Just a tiddler…
That’s much better…

Deadbait float rigged roach produced a few runs from jacks but nothing big enough to get itself hooked. Will be downsizing to size 8 trebles next trip as I’m sure some big perch were lunging for the deadbaits.

Just a quicky today as I’m at work (joy).

Wet nets.

Dirty Breams

It’s hard for me to gush about bream. I don’t target them and I certainly don’t like catching them. They’re lethargic, slimy and generally irritating. No doubt somebody loves them, though why escapes me.

I did, however smash my bream record today with a 3lb 3oz fish. Tiny by most people’s standards but it’s not theirs, it’s mine!

It all started at lunch time, with half a box of casters and very lethargic maggots and a few hours to kill. I knew there was a match on at the complex today, and I’d fully intended to stay away but boredom prompted me to use up the leftover bait.

I never fish the horseshoe lake as the perch are generally small, but go I did nonetheless. I picked a peg with structure and started by heavily baiting close in. The first few hours brought in around 30 small perch and roach, with the odd decent roach over half a pound now and again. Mostly though the fish were barely out of fry shorts. Oh, and an eel of course.

Relaxing and fun, but not particularly exciting. I decided to bait out a bit deeper around a rod length off the tip and was rewarded with the first and largest bream. It twitched forlornly once when hooked, then laid on its side and allowed me to unceremoniously drag it in, mouth open and gazing blankly at the sky. I almost felt sorry for it.

Shortly after this I began to run low on maggots, so I popped a can of corn and continued to feed the same spot picking up seven more bream between 2 and 3lb.

Certainly a different day, but yeah, sorry bream, won’t be back if I can help it!

Wet nets.

A roach, a perch and half a pike

No time for all the gear, no idea today. One birthday party to taxi for and another one going away for the weekend tonight. I decided to try and winkle out a few perch from the abandoned locks at the local canal instead, for an hour.

Now they say you should never revisit places you fished as a kid as you’ll come away disappointed… and they’re not wrong. The locks were choked with rubbish and weed and the surrounding stretches of canal were silted almost to the roof.

There were fish about though. I’d caught them before, last year in fact, but the canal at least in this area seems to have taken a header. It’s pretty shameful that you’re charged to fish here and doubly so considering the area is supposed to have been ‘regenerated’.

I made one pass down the locks, bombing through the duckweed with a relax Kopyto shad. Just a small 2″ silver one. No takes.

There’s a jig in there somewhere…

I saw some roach rising in one of the turning ponds and, conscious that I only had an hour I decided to pop the only float I’d brought on and try and get a maggot in a weedless spot. Sadly the roach were super wary and small but I did pick up this one on the drop.

By now time was getting on so I popped the little knobbly shad on that I found a week or so ago and tried bombing through the duckweed again with better results.

Just a small one but a perch all the same!

Before I left I thought I’d topwater a shad across the turning pool above the weed. First cast I spotted a pike of around 5lb following, so I threw it again and after 2 misses he picked it up. Sadly when I got him to the bank he bit me off.

Bye lure. Bye pike. Had fun though.

Wet nets.

Worms, I take it all back

Having dug the borders out this morning and collected a fair amount of lobworm, I thought it would be rude not to use them…plus I wanted to check I still knew how to fish with them, having had poor luck recently.

I got to the lake amidst drizzly and misty conditions around 12:30pm. Thankfully it was fairly warm, but not particularly being fond of wet weather I headed up the ‘wrong’ side of the doughnut lake to peg 12 where a large tree offers some cover.

I took everything, but only ended up using the float rod as I had half a pint of mixed red and white that I wanted to use up. I fed maggots tight to the lilies on the left of the swim and baited up with a whole lob, then downsized to double tails or double reds as the small bites became irritating. I soon started picking up small F1s and roach.

No perch showed themselves all day, but about 2:00pm I had a smashing bite which ran headlong for the lilies and promptly tied itself up. I waited for a few minutes for it to swim out and commenced playing it properly for all of 5 minutes. It gave me a hell of a run.

In the net she was just under 9lb, having snaffled a whole lob.

Nothing much special for the rest of the session other than a common of around 3lb, more roach and an eel. I packed in around 3:30pm.

An enjoyable few hours nevertheless, even if it was a damp one.

Wet nets.

Oh, hello lure!

This morning the wife and I set off on a grand adventure, namely to buy a new electric stove. We probably did around 80 miles all told, and ended up buying it in our home town.

With most of the day wasted I was in two minds whether to pop down to the lake or not. It was getting on for 2:00pm, rather chilly and quite overcast, but with tomorrow already fully booked I thought I’d better grab the carp by the barbules, as it were.

I pulled up around 2:30pm to find my happy place full of kids, so I opted for the hawthorn peg as it usually produces close in. I had lob and red & white maggot, and again throughout the session the lob did absolutely nothing. The fish are either getting wise to it, or it’s my presentation. As nothing has changed with the latter, I can only assume the former coupled with the copious amounts of 1 – 2″ fry that are present.

First cast with the float rod (all I took) with triple red maggot, I picked up this 2lb 7oz bruiser of a perch, replete with battle scars.

Ok, I could now go home happy.

The action was pretty steady all afternoon, with everything landed on maggot. Several F1’s and a nice 4lb common, plus a string of small perch and roach. Bream have been noticably absent of late, as have eels, though I did pick up a bootlace on my previous trip.

Throught the session I had what I thought was a jack crashing the party, right next to the reeds. I’ve seen jack pike caught there before. In fact just a few weeks ago I was chatting to a lure angler about the perch he’d been picking up when he caught a small jack from the very same peg. After he left I noticed he’d dropped one of his knobbly shads so I popped it in the bag in case I ever bumped into him again.

As I was packing up I thought I’d pop the shad on to see if I could pick up the jack. Out went the jig and within a few minutes I’d landed not a jack, but a rather handsome 1lb 10oz perch.

I’m not a lure angler, but this has certainly inspired me to take the drop shot rod with me next time I go.

Wet nets.

The Magic Maggot

I haven’t been fishing for a good while but, whilst I had the chance between shifts this afternoon, I headed to the lake.

I picked up a small amount of bait on the way home, namely a small tub of lobworm and half a pint of red maggots. I wasn’t planning on spending a long time bankside today after a 24hr shift.

I arrived around 1:00 and was greeted with a relatively quiet scene. A few match lads were practicing on the walk in pegs and one pleasure angler was seated half way up the right side. I positioned myself between the two, rigged up the float rod with lob and a wide gape 12 and settled in.

The action in the first two hours was regular but slow. I landed four carp and lost a largish one due to a hooklink break. Two small F1s, a 2lb common and a 3lb mirror.

After the lost fish it slowed down for around an hour, so I switched to maggot and a size 14 hook. I picked up another F1 and a small perch plus lots of small roach. Sadly the big perch didn’t want to know.

Around 3:30pm I noticed the float running sideways and sidestruck into a lump. Reeling in gingerly due to the small hook size I was pleased to see a fair perch break the surface. 2lb 4oz all told.

All in all a fun afternoon. So much for expensive lobworm, eh?!

Wet nets.