Thursday, 21 November 2013

It felt so right... and yet fished so wrong

We all love Autumn, of that there is no doubt. I think as Spring is filled with hope, Autumn is tinged with reflection. They are both times when fishing can be bountiful as the fish like all other animals are either refreshing stores of energy spent over the Winter, or stocking up for the lean times ahead. And although we are still hanging onto Autumn like those last few leaves that cling to the tree outside the window, there is still fruit to be plucked before the world becomes barren.

Like most I find myself in a predator state of mind right now; fattening pike, hungry zander and of course mammoth perch fill my mind. I count myself to be particularly blessed where the latter are concerned, as I have been lucky enough to, on the top of a solid base of two pound fish, land three three's and a four in the last two seasons, from a variety of  differing waters.

The canals have been good to me in these endeavours and although right now I feel it unlikely that they will produce a massive fish, they have enabled me to hone my perch float fishing skills to a point where I have total blind confidence in my method. Conversely the rivers locally don't inspire me enough to spend to much of my valuable time chasing after stripy ghost stories. So I find myself looking at a myriad of commercial pools that have recently become more viable places to search out those oversized Sargent's I so want.

I really do like fishing for these unpressurised predators on commercial style venues. The idea that they were never stocked intentionally or only as a filler fish and that they have now begun to grow to record shaking sizes kind of gives me a kick. But a small worry has crept in my head over the situation. You see I have begun to look for a certain size of water in this search for perch. I don't want it so big as it would make finding them near impossible and I don't want them so small as they don't have the resources to grow big. For me, and I say me as this is only my personal opinion, half a football pitch to a full football pitch is ideal. This sort of over stocked water can produce more than enough fodder for a perch to become big and it's not to hard in only a few sessions to search a lot of it out. BUT! this theory has kind of undermined itself for me, as now I am beginning to think that I and others might be re-catching the same fish again and again in these limited sized waters. Truth be told nothing spoils a water, peg or capture for me as a re-catch. I don't know exactly why it is that I find so disagreeable about them, but if I see the same fish out of the same swim of lake twice I just tend to walk away.

Oddly though it is a recapture that I took me fishing to the little lake where I was at the weekend. But then this recapture hasn't yet happened and in defence of my contradiction, the original capture happened some ten years ago. The water in question is the tiny woodland pool often used as a salve when lean times take their toll. It was on this small secluded pool that I caught one of my very first big perch by accident. At that time in my life I was merely concerned with catching any fish and was in no way inclined towards the pursuit of bigger sport. I think to say it was an old warrior would of been an understatement: worn down fins, one white eye and a distinct lack of flesh between the dorsal spines would describe the fish quite aptly. Even looking as rough as it did it was one of the biggest stripy's I had ever seen. Then low and behold on the same venue a few weeks later my mate Neil had another totally different one. As with a lot of information it gets discarded to the back of the human mind until something prompts recollection. In my case is was on a warm summer evening a couple of summers ago as I sat watching a quill next to lily pad that I spotted a corner of the pool erupt with fry. The float I was watching lost all appeal for a while and  I reeled in and went off to investigate...

The corner was black with fry and like a pelagic scene the little fishes moved as one. Every so often I could see them dart off in all directions leaving holes where the water would become disturbed by a larger fish charging into the shoal. I must have watched for half an hour before the rush of silver panic came flying from the water and what followed was the thing that prompted my memory. It wasn't a big perch by anyones standard but that single half pound perch, that with one pass of it stripy flank made me simultaneously remember those big fish and realise that this water was stuffed full of prey fish, and that perch were the only real aquatic predator.

Off and on  have been visiting and have had a modicum of  success that has kept me inspired. Although I have only had fish to just over two pounds they have all been young looking fish and that is good enough for me. Though saying that, this like many waters of  it kinds does have a draw back....carp!

As I am sure anyone who goes fishing for perch on these types of venues knows, big baits intended for perch have the magnetic ability to attract even the most lathargic carp on the coldest days, when people that are intentionally fishing for them can't get a bite! They're like anglers going past tackle shops - 'we just cant help ourselves' and neither can they.

The weather was just so perfect this past weekend. Not bad temps, heavily overcast sky and a light scattering of leaves on the water. I even got a pass out for an afternoon into night session. So this seemed the perfect opportunity to fish that most prized of angling times around dusk. The heavy cover of leaves that normally shroud this pool were more than half gone and in the tall oaks at the end of the spinney the crow roost was clearly visible. I was shocked to find no less than six other anglers lined up all along on bank hurling baits within feet of the opposite bank (that is accessible) trying to catch carp. Seeing them I headed up to the deep and thankfully deep end.

Trying to catch perch in a lake stuffed full of carp is a fine balancing act. Attractant is a must, but too much and your swim will be ruined when the carp turn up. So with this in mind, a few chopped worms were mixed into some maggots and lightly scattered into my own margin close to a semi submersed dead branch. It didn't take long for the intoxicating scent of the worms and hypnotic sight of falling maggots to attract some half-right attention.

I never think small fish being attracted to your bait is a bad thing when you're after perch, especially when fishing as clear a venue as this. The occasional bob here and there informed me of their constant presence and kept me confident they could bring in some perch. Even with fish in the swim my float never actually indicated a proper bite until just before dusk when a random hybrid zipped off with my bait. Undeterred, I cast back onto the spot where moments later the float bobbed once then slid off slowly. At first I did think a big perch was on the cards but disappointingly the fish soon surged away with far to much power for my quarry.

The outcome was always inevitable if my lightish tackle held. It did and after several runs out into the lake a big gaping mouth appeared just off the end off my net before I landed...

Not a perch

Its always an awkward time when there's not enough light left to move and build up a new swim, and with that in mind I decided to stay put and take my chances. The perch though were a no show and hell, even if they did turn up, they would never have a look in as after that first carp four more winter coloured commons stuck there noses into my spot. The combined commotion and fuss left my ideal little perch paradise looking like the half settled foam from a pint of cheap larger.

Ultimately even though I had in a few short hours landed some very nice carp I did feel a little disappointed as the conditions were text book for big perch and it felt so right... and yet fished so wrong. But hey, no matter how hard you try and how much you want to catch a particular species you can't stop others from eating your baits, can you?

1 comment:

  1. Much of that debate rings a few bells Danny, can't think why?!