You will be pleased to know I have been very busy flogging the banks of Devon in search of the ultimate west country predator. I did a spot of cold water carping that turned out to be about as interesting as a Liverpool FC appreciation meeting, so we'll forget about that and focus on some predator fishing.
As the hunt for perch continues I have made a couple of trips to new waters in a bid to beat my pb of 4lb, the first of which was made in the company of fishing writer and bloody good all rounder Dominic Garnett.We arrived at the water before first light rather excited at the prospect of a big striped one, and made our way round the lake dumping some bait into our swims in the hopes of drawing some fish in whilst we set up.
Tactics for the day
My usual approach to catching big perch is to offer them a live bait. This method is not always an option as some waters ban it. Anyway, I focused my attack around wag and worm fishing on a light match rod coupled with a reel loaded with 4lb line. I also set up a sleeper rod with a simple running ledger rig offering a large prawn or worm on the hook. The session started very slowly. Dom showed me a few things about shotting patterns as the one I set up was not quite delicate enough to show finicky bites the fish were giving in the cold conditions. After the adjustments were made I struck a tiny dip resulting in a skimmer. The next chuck saw me latch into a slightly better fish that turned out to be a perch just nudging the pound mark. However, the sport was still very slow, so we made a few swim changes over the day.
The perch proved to be very tricky, but other species such as roach and skimmers were keen to grab maggots and pieces of worm intended for there striped enemies. Not as much as a sniff on the sleeper rod confirmed the fish were not really in the mood for a feast, but you can't always catch the one you're after. I did however enjoy the day in the company of Dom, and learnt a few bits on the finer arts of float fishing, so the big perch better watch out because I'll be back!
Another session on a new water was spent with regular Neil Edgar. The condintions were terrible with a howling easterly wind coupled with bright sunlight. This time service was resumed with the old paternoster and live bait approach. We felt the fish would need some seriouse coaxing to get them to feed so we made up a batch of perch soup.
This is a very powerful mix which is very good at drawing both preyfish and perch into the swim, without filling them up too much as the mix is finely chopped. Add predator plus or liquid worm to really gunk it all up. The final product should resemble something the dog has thrown up! Use a spoon to fill your feeders if you don't want your hands to turn red. Another good way to feed soup is via a bait dropper but enough about the soup.
As predicted, the fishing started very slowly indeed with only a tiny perch to show for the mornings efforts. The sun had been shining on a calm spot of the pond that was protected from the wind by the trees. I noticed activity on the surface that was obviously caused by small fry. A short while later around 20 1oz roach leapt clear out of the water urgently trying to escape death! For a moment I thought about setting up a free roving float rig as the perch now seemed active, but I quickly reeled in the paternoster and fired it out to the scene of the crime. The rig landed with a plop which must have caught old perchy's eye as the rod hooped round instantly! After a jagged sluggish fight I slipped the net under a right old bruiser of a perch that tipped the scales round at 2lb 12oz.
The lines we had fed the soup into did produce a steady flow of hand sized roach caught on worms and prawn pieces, but no more perch graced the bank that day. I did lose a very good fish of a similar size to the previous which was a shame, but I think this water has a good head of perch and needs to be looked at during more favourable conditions.
As an angler you may have been lucky enough to enjoy one of those dream sessions where you can't do anything wrong. These sessions make up for all the time spent freezing your ass off in a shit storm only to go home fishless! As a specimen angler this is unfortunatly part and parcel; our fishy friends do have the tendency to switch of for days, especially river and canal pike. This was far from the case on a day where I hit the river Exe for a wonder in search of Esox. Armed to the teeth with a variaty of dead baits I opted for a large head half of herring, and I presented this just off the bottom under a large float. I only had to wait 15 or so minutes before my float kited to the left as a pike eagerly snatched the bait! I struck the run, quickly connecting to what felt like the bottom before a violent head shake confirmed I was into a good fish. The fish woke up and started to go ape shit on the surface almost soaking me with the amount of commotion she was making. After some grueling hangings on she started to tire which opened the opportunity to extract her from the drink. At 21lb 8oz I was well happy! The session then started to get silly. Neil was now into another fish that turned out to be a jack we have met on a number of occasions ( bless him ), and as Neil was returning him, I looked up to see my float bury! I scrambled to my rod and leant into what was clearly another lump! The bussiness was done again and this time with a fish of 18lb7oz. I now had an even bigger grin on my face. After chillin out for a bit to soak up the fact I had just had 2 pike for 40lb my float slid down stream again. I hit the bite to be met with heavy resistance once more! I could not believe my luck when I slipped the net under another big girl; this time a fish of 18lb 13oz.
I went a home a very happy man that day! Here they are in order- 21lb 8oz-18lb 7oz-18lb 13oz. Note the blood in the first pic is mine not the pikes! (see the botched plaster in the second shot). I always hit runs asap. Deep hooking from carless angling aint cool, you get me!
Til next time