I can't deny I've been lingering round after a big perch since Christmas. It's largely to do with the rivers poor conditions but also partly to do with me fancying a really big one. Only problem is that I have failed to land the giant I've sought! In the process though I have landed getting on for twenty fish over two pounds from five different venues, which now I see it on the screen in front of me doesn't sound that bad at all. In fact if you translate that into carp numbers for comparison which is essentially ten times that of perch weights, I have then caught what is the equivalent of twenty, twenty pound carp and that sounds even more insane!
Anyway that is all by the by as this malingering has to stop as I am beginning to see signs of tench being caught and the niggling urge to throw feeders into the stratosphere creeps upon me. But I needed an out or a finale to finish this fluviatillis phase I've been having. So rather than go back to one of the myriad of pools I have been inhabiting I decided to head back to the stretch of canal that has in the past provided me with more than my fair share of Jurassic perch to try and end it with a bang...Oh and it ended with a BANG!
I arrived after dinner thinking I would fish right into that classical perch feeding time just before dark. From the inside of my temperate car it looked to all intents and purposes a warm sunny spring afternoon. Outside my car the choice to not wear any thermal leggings under my trousers felt a little foolhardy! The wind was cutting along the canal in exactly the wrong way for comfort. I trudged along the bank looking for shelter but there was no chance of that on this session as the wind was actually blowing perfectly in line with the canal. With no one spot seeming any more sheltered than the other I decided to instead just plonk myself in what I consider a good area.
The action was slow to arrive in truth and after an hour and a half of regularly distributing broken uplobs around my two floats which were positioned one on and one off the shelf, I’d only had a two smallish perch and a random four pound bream. The wind was by now beginning to bite through my clothes and I’d even searched out a pair of gloves from my bag.
Persistence paid dividends though and after upping my feed rate a wave of bites came along. In that first wave of fish I had a couple of pound plus fish and a fat two pounder along with several smaller ones. Then the bites died off, I feed hard again and a second flurry occurred and this time I had two big ones in the rampage of smaller fish.
This script continued on for the entirety of the session and much as predicted as the boats slowed and the sun sank to the horizon the action went into over drive. Soon the perch were going crazy and it was inevitable I would get a double hit. I was playing what looked like a really deep fish which had come on the inside line when I saw the second float slide away towards the centre of the canal. With one rod jammed in between my legs I forced the first bigger into my waiting net then swapped rods to land the second smaller fish.
One over two and one under, both bulging, these fish were seriously hungry and fighting fit. I still had two hours of light left by my reckoning. The action went from the sublime to plain old out of this world and all the time I was getting colder and colder. But the chance of me leaving was very unlikely as I was making hay whilst the sun shone, or should I say catching perch whilst the wind blew. Having plenty of bait and queue of hungry perch just lining up to get in the action I fished as hard as I ever have right up until my floats were no longer visible in the dank light of dusk.
Packing away shivering in the dark I was a very happy man. Give or take a few I reckon that conservatively I caught over forty perch in the five hours I fished. Most were between 8oz and 1.6lb, seven were over two pounds and the biggest of those weighed in at 2.9lb. Add in the handful of mint roach, three zander and that four pound bream and I reckon I put over thirty pounds of fish on the bank.
I only have one regret about this session... That I didn't take a keepnet along with me as what a picture all those perch would have made!