Thursday, 17 March 2011

Big Perch Quest - More than Nothing, Less than Something

In my mind, perch have been growing in significance recently. This is due to many things coming together in my head at once not least of which is the closing of the rivers and the lack of anything else in ponds and lakes feeding in earnest right now, the females being as heavy as they will be all year long with their spawning coming up in April, having also a couple of waters at the extreme outside edge of my walking range that contain very big fish indeed, but mostly, it has to be said, because of the fact that I have been suffering from, and trying hard to ignore for years, a bad case of perch constipation, a blockage that seems quite impossible to clear.

I might have to work it out with a pencil...

I'll explain. My personal best perch is a meagre one pound, eight ounces and for someone who fishes lobworms as often as I do that's a very low figure indeed. Those lobworms were fished for canal roach of course as I have never once set out to fish specifically for the canal perch, but I should have caught at least as many perch as roach don't you think? Well, the case is that I have not caught very many perch on lobworms, and those that I have managed to land have steadfastly refused to beat that personal best.

March has been perch month. I have had four trips out fishing for them expressly but have fared rather badly whilst all around my fishing friends and challenge competitors happily wind in two and even three pound fish as if such fish were the commonplace.

Fully equipped fishing huts for the long stay carper - makes sense to me - might have to rent one out just for the crack

Just the other day Keith and I visited a local carp brothel to fish for the very large perch reported (Steve Philips had a three plus here) to live in such places, perch growing thick and fat on a diet of small fish and unrestrained in their growth rate/ceiling by the presence of pike. Within an hour or so of setting up Keith was catching steady stream of nice roach and had a lobworm in the margins after a perch, while I struggled to get bites on the float fished maggots but opened the perch account with a lobworm ledgered against the island reedbeds. It was just like a football - well, a tennis ball really...

Then out of the blue Keith had a proper perch on. A short brisk fight and it was in the net, all two pounds four ounces of it. A fish to beat my PB by three quarters of a pound!

At three in the afternoon we moved over to a second pool where we fished a quiet reedy corner well away from the carp boys, the incessant bleep of buzzer and crash of lead. I actually used buzzers too but as I was paying attention to what was happening with my bobbins and actively fishing my baits, I turned them down so far in volume that they were inaudible to anyone but me. I had twitches, liners and runs immediately from baits positioned down the marginal shelf and just a few yards out, one of which I connected with. After a splashy few seconds it shed the hook, a perch almost certainly, and a good one too.

Keith, floatfishing worms no further out than a yard or two from the bank then embarked upon a perch frenzy banking three or four fish over the next few hours, two of which were weighed in at precisely two pounds seven ounces (Keith's own constipation weight perhaps, him having landing no less than three fish this weight, his PB, in the last few weeks) while I struggled to get bites, eventually having another small perch for my troubles.

On Sunday I wangled a day out on the river fishing a millrace for dace and hoping for a big female - I got dacelets, chublets and roachlets too, but there was nothing else worth mentioning about them apart from their sheer numbers. Later, bored by the continually bouncing rod tip or the dipping float, I put out a sleeper rod with a huge lobworm as bait to see if any big perch were around, on the off chance...

I got all excited when this massive snake of a bait was taken and the rod top started jumping up and down madly. The strike met nothing. This happened again, and again, and again. Eventually, well after dark I moved down to the weirpool and fished into the wash with my worms, where, to my amazement I got big bold bites straight away.

Once again they could not be hit, that is until I eventually did have a fish, wound in expecting perch or chub only to find myself staring at the very last thing I'd have thought. I go out after perch with a huge worm on a size six hook and what do I get?

A half pound roach...

Still, here we have river roach feeding well after dark on lobworms in a weirpool and that's a proper lesson learned, so my day was not entirely wasted effort.


  1. Q. What to Mathematicians do when they are constipated?

    A. Work it out in logs with a pencil.

    Arf arf.

  2. Carp brothel hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!