Being on a new stretch of the Warks Avon this year has been amazing so far. So many of my angling buddies recommended this club to me the over past few years, only for me to never follow their advice and truthfully I could kick myself for waiting so long to get on it. The Barbel fishing when the conditions have been right has been amazing and the few chub I've caught has me almost willing the freezing winter upon us. It's the predators I have on my mind right now, specifically the question of whether there are any big perch lingering around in the slacks of the weirs or quiet backwaters.
So the other day I headed off into a freezing morning to fish lobworms in the deep waters I hoped might hold a big perch or two. Overnight rain made me hedge my bets and take along some stinky flavored meat to fish on a barbel rod as well, just in case. After a quick cast on a deep swim on the way up to weir to see if a big old chub might be tempted to take a single offering which I rolled into a snaggy hidy hole, I went off to my main target area, the weir at the top of the stretch.
Surprisingly although I have chucked all sorts of lures into this weir I have never actually caught a single perch so far. The lobworms I had brought along though I felt sure would root out something with stripes and whilst doing that I planned to put out a big smelly bait right into the head of the weir thinking maybe a chub, barbel or even carp might find it.
The perch weren't hard to find and not long after casting the split worm hook bait into an eddy over the other side the rod tip started to rattle as small perch homed in on the bait. At least ten small perch grabbed the bait and got hooked before finally a bigger example of 1.6lb found the worm to tempting and pulled the rod tip right over.
The meat rod did one single bite all morning, which was a sitter of a bite I still can't quite believe I didn't hook up on. I am not a massive fan of upstream ledgering and I think that went against me in this case. I know you're technically meant to wait for a drop back of the rod tip. On this occasion, the rod tip jerked forward and for a moment I hesitated to hit the bite and in doing so missed it.
Once the sun really got up into the sky the perch bites justs dried up. I had anticipated this might happen and already had plan B ready to go by way of a bag of dead baits in my rucksack. Soon enough I made my way back down towards the backwater which was almost static and looked certain to hold some predators like pike and hopefully perch.
With the banks lined with cover the swim I decided to fish had to hold a few predators and after a mooch around, I soon found a croc holding motionless near some snags...
I couldn't find any perch at all in this deeper static water, but the pike were like buses and after waiting for a little over twenty minutes, two came along one after another. The first was a small jack of maybe three pounds which I left in the net waiting for a picture whilst I recast another roach dead bait into the far margin. As I was setting up the camera the rod was away again and bigger and much more spritely pike ripped around the swim. With no choice but to try and net the fish with a fish already in the net, I went for it. The first pike though was having none of it and shot out of the net at the first opportunity and denied me a brace shot.
The next and final pike encounter of the session came as I searched the cover for a perch. After covering every bit of cover or snag in the entire swim with a popped up lobworm bait, I finally cast it to the last bit of cover on the right-hand side of my own bank. I'd barely had time to tighten down onto the lead before the rod whacked over. Lord above I wanted it to be a perch as it felt big, but I suspected I was into a chub. That was until it powerfully surged off just like a pike and I realised this was going to be one of those fights that might end badly for me with me four-pound line. I did my very best letting the fish get away with anything it wanted on a lightly set clutch. Ultimately it was on a matter of time before the fish inevitably turned onto that light line with its sharp teeth, which it did leaving my line flowing in the wind and me packing up to go home.