Friday, 21 February 2014

A surprising new water.

I have used up most of my back up waters by this point and like everyone still stalwart enough to continue through this infernal wet winter, I feel like I am fishing the same waters again and again. It is this that has pushed me on to venture forth to pastures new, where I don't risk repeat captures. Needing a new spot to angle upon I made a list of waters that fitted the bill. All were to be commercial and far away from rivers, but the size and age had to be just right for me. Honestly I felt goldilocks skimming the list uttering things like 'too big, too small and too young'. As I compared the information, one stuck out to me as 'just right' and in doing so warranted more research. How in god's name this place passed me by I do not know but thinking about it now, it seems a glaringly obvious big perch venue and I feel rather dim for passing it by for so long!
With a target in my sights I went into research mode on the internet and after going through a hundred possible searches and a similar amount of key words, I finally found snippets of information hidden away in some match reports; turned out this particular venue came into its own once the lakes carp population became a little more dormant. With this in mind I conferred with a couple of match angling chappies I know who both confirmed the presence of what I sought. They even tipped me off on areas that produced them and what baits they had caught them on before so I was well set for a visit over the weekend.
Normally this place is a no-go area at the weekends as matches dominate and non-competitive anglers are hissed at as they pass by stepping over amusingly named poles. But luckily for me no matches were booked and the banks were deserted. Now I have fished a fair few commercials in my endeavour to catch big perch but this one takes the first prize for most commercial commercial. The banks are so well trodden that somewhere in the twenty feet gaps between pegs I wouldn't of been at all surprised to see a bunch of WW1 soldiers exiting a trench. Honestly this place is so well worn that I feel sure Chris Yates would instantly bend double, stomach cramping, and vomit into his cap should he find himself here. But for me it did have a certain deserted or abandoned post-apocalyptic feel to it with no match anglers around, and I kind of liked it. It was like I was the last angler alive after the world had crumbled and I was after any wild fish that still remained in this god forsaken pool.
And wild fish I think is an important way to refer to the perch I was after. You see that carp rule in this place and the perch are neglected as they don't eat corn or pellets and certainly don't often get caught fishing a shot gun feeder fished within millimetres of the opposite bank. These fish roam free, the top predator in a world on heavenly pressured pigeon mouthed carp, only getting caught when times are so hard for the common garden carp bagger that they turn towards silver fish as a route to that ever important brown envelope full of cash. For me this is like a perverted form of heaven. Although they undeniably get caught the fish that reside in this pool I hoped would be maybe green and hopefully forthcoming and I couldn't wait to get after them.
Three casts and fifteen minutes was all it took... I walked the bank once picked out two swims out of the hundreds, which was actually quite hard as I was surprised by the volume of features on this commercial. I baited sparingly and built up the swim with a very match angler like rhythm of feeding. Then bam float slides away and seconds later a big stripy flank rolls on the surface and in the net went my first nice perch.

2.12 was a very good start as far as I was concerned. But then how amazed was I when half an hour later another one took my bait. This one only scraped two pounds but still two twos in under an hour seemed good going for a first shot at a new venue and it didn't stop there.
After catching some small but very stocky sub pound fish that I knew had a very good set of genetics on them I landed another good fish of 2.6lb.

Time was flying by with the capture of a bunch of immaculate perch and my constant feeding and the rewards at that moment seemed amazing. Sometimes on commercials I have found myself fishing for a single bite from the right species in a plethora of bites from the wrong species. Today however they were crawling up the line. I feel I must say at this point that I had in fact landed several largish roach and skimmer as well as the perch, so it wasn't all perch purity.
I finished up landing two more fish over two pounds before time got the better of me and I had to make tracks. But this new lake had dug its hooks into me and having seen what it had to offer I couldn't wait to come back and see if it held what I suspected it could.
It was a week before I could return what with the weather and work. There was no messing round this time looking for spots so I headed straight back to the scene of the last good session. With my float still set at depth from before it was just a case of kicking starting the swim with a little feed then casting out. I stuck to the previous baiting pattern and after the initial feed I kept a constant stream of small amount of baits trickling in. This I think is more to attract the silver fish rather than the perch, which in turn attract the perch to their activity.
Now although I didn't catch anywhere as near as many fish in the second session I did catch three more fish just over two pounds. In doing so a small bit of paranoia crept into my mind, 'were there any repeaters?' Though I did no trophy shots of this second trio, I did take some net shots. Looking back the fish were worryingly similar, even having the same pattern of stripes, but by comparing similar shots differences began to appear, as the next two photos show.

Ignoring the different light levels both look very similar, but it's the fins that differentiate them. The bottom fish has a split in its tail and a tiny spot at the front of its anal fin, whereas the top fish has straight white bar down the front of its anal fin. The first fish also has some pitted markings just above its mouth. Apart from these incidental differences the fish it seems are the same shape, especially with their small heads and distinct hump just behind the head, as did all the other fish I caught. I checked as best I could and am convinced that in fact all eight decent fish are different fish. Furthermore after comparing them all it is obvious they are all closely related. The weights are so close that I would go as far as to say they could well be the same year class.

Honestly I am really pleased with this new pool and the results that have come in two very short sessions. Given the numbers of willing perch patrolling this pool and their good average size this pool might have an amazing future ahead of it! And it leaves me with a serious target... their mother.

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