I have lived in Warwickshire all my life and been fishing in the area since I was a child,but in all those years I have never even set eyes on, never mind fished, Napton reservoir. So when Keith invited me along to follow a hot challenge tip how could I say no. The tip we were following was a supposed population of the diminutive bullhead, which could turn out to be a key species in the ever more competitive challenge.
Upon arriving I took the time to wander round the lake to try and get an idea of it's geography whilst tapping any anglers up for catch info. Initially I set up on the windward bank as had Keith, but after a biteless hour my confidence dwindled and I opted to move to the causeway where an angler whom I'd spoken to had caught some good perch through the afternoon.
Shortly after I had moved Keith who had also begun doubting the previous area, moved in next door. My first bite wasn't long coming on my ultra light bullhead rig consisting of a 3 x no8 drennan pinkie pole float, 1lb hook link with a size 24 hook delicately tied to the end. With little to no resistance I was convinced my first bullhead would be soon in hand. Admittedly it was tiny but slightly the wrong species.
The current perch record is 5lb 15oz and at this size A rough estimate of 10 to the ounce would mean 960 of these would be needed to make the point.
I will issue a Sub challenge to my fellow competitors that if any of you can catch a smaller perch than this, I will buy you a four pack of the finest ale payable upon the Xmas piss up.
The next dip of the float yielded something much larger and the perch point looked well on the cards. At 12oz ten of these cracking Sargent's would make the point.
The no7 pole elastic shot from the top kit after the next strike which came as surprise as I never knew bullheads fought so hard. After a testing fight and successful netting it Keith refused to acknowledge my claim that my bullhead rig had landed a universe record bullhead of 3lb.
Two more giant Napton bullheads managed to throw the hook on the next two casts and my regular feeding of small amount's of red maggots attracted ever more to my short line.
This was how my pole spent the majority of Thursday evening.
I could not believe the Tench action here, as myself and Keith landed one after another hard fighting tench.
By nine o'clock I'd landed six and lost another seven on my light rig. What I find hard to understand was the lack of other anglers after them on a warm summer evening. This place should have been packed with anglers with nothing but tincas on their mind.
The only thing that let this heavenly tench lake down was the mouth damage to every other tench, more than likely caused by ether braided hook links, or being dragged through the heavy weed by anglers not targeting them using heavy gear.
As the light went so did the tench from my swim, only to be replaced by some very nice perch indeed, and for the second time that session the perch point looked to be within my grasp as I landed fish of 4,6,8,14,8,12,8,2oz one after another. It was going far too well! Then a good perch of over a pound came off at the net and I could have kicked my self. The next better perch turned out to be a tiny tench, then the sky darkening in a rather biblical way was followed by a drop of rain here and there. Just after both Keith and I got our brolly's up the deluge started. A hour in the dark in heavy rain totally unable to see or get a bite and it was game over. With only four and a half pounds of perch another point was missed, although seven tench up to 3.5lb more than made up for this.