Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Hatt Standard Perch

It's been quite a while since I last went to a proper commercial fishery. A year I reckon. It must be because in my right mind I never bother at any other time of the year but this, and for two good reasons. The first is that before March 15th I've better things to do with my time than sit immobilised at an ugly half frozen puddle for the outside chance of a large perch, and the second is that by April 15th I've better things to do with my time than have my right arm wrenched off by an endless succession of hyperactive carp. Between times it seems worthwhile.

It was blowing hard when we arrived but luckily it was blowing hard in just the right direction and slap into the backside of a screen of dense conifers along our preferred bank. We had shelter. I hate windy fishing more than anything because it gradually wears me down. I'll do most anything to avoid it.

I have a terrible track record of ignominious perch fishing failure. I wrote about this in Fallon's Angler just recently and I'm proud to have admitted it for all the world to read. You see, I cannot catch perch much over a pound and a half under my own steam while those around me achieve two, three and even four pound fish with ease. And no matter what I do to dodge it, this is a hex that dogs me.

About an hour or so in Martin had a small perch. I was contending with graceful lifts of the float followed by plain sail-aways to which I could not connect and when I finally did, and to a good sized perch, bumped it. And then a little while later Martin had a fat two and a half pounder to his credit.

Things were starting to pan out just as they always had...

The hook seemed sharp enough, but I changed it anyhow. It made a great difference. Now I connected cleanly with a bite but the big perch I hoped it might be turned out to be one of those worthless F1 carp thingies that match anglers adore, but I can't fathom any earthly reason for. Nevertheless, it seemed that a nice perch would surely come and snaffle my prawn at some point, because bites had been regular till now and looked to continue whilest skies remained overcast.

Just as it began to rain I banked a perch of my own. A small one about half a pound in weight, and then ten minutes later a better fish that would be a great disappointment should she remain my best of day, because she pulled the pointer of the scales down to a little under half a pound over the bloody inevitable.

The Hatt Standard Perch.

Of course that's when things got tough. The rain stopped and perch stopped biting. The float dithered about for a good two hours longer as the prawn got knocked about by the lake's hoards of tiny gudgeon all too small to swallow even the tail end. Then as the sun warmed the margins we were truly crapped out by F1 carp, who came one after another. The damned things!

Only at the bitter end did I finally hook a proper carp, and actually the fight I had against the fish with the tip of a fourteen foot float rod bent seven feet distant from my nose was quite entertaining, but in the end Martin got the net under and we banked it. A very pretty fish. If only it had been a perch the same

You know, that's probably what will happen when my hex finally breaks...

All the way from poky pounds and piddling ounces to a high five in one fell swoop.


  1. Steve in Colorado31 March 2015 at 02:49

    Hang in there, Hatt. That sulky PB perch is just around the next bend... mind you, going 'round the bend might well be the result of pursuing it but ah well.... we'll all have a drink together at Mad Hatter's Hall someday ;)

    1. Thanks for your confidence, Steve. I'm afraid they just don't like me, those big perch, and it's becoming more and more apparent as time goes by. Not quite out of my mind about it, yet though! But I will go crazy if it persists as it has for the past eight years for the next eight...