It seems modern society nowadays is obsessed with identity and this categorising has seeped its way into fishing as well. Once upon a time you were simply an angler, now though we all as anglers seem to want to categorise ourselves; carp anglers, predator anglers, match anglers, specimen anglers, barbel anglers, sea angler, lure anglers and pleasure anglers just to name a few. No doubt as you read those descriptions you quite likely would have put yourself into one of the categories as you read it. For my part though I don't see it this way... I see it like this: I think of myself as the centre of a pie chart where the surrounding sections are made up of the previously mentioned types of angler. Dependant on what I am interested in at any one time the specific sections of that pie chart might be bigger. I suppose by description that make me some kind of all rounder, but being an all rounder has its advantages in that by being informed of methods of many facets of angling you can mix and match what your doing to you're advantage!
Of late it is not untrue to say that I am leaning more towards lure angling, but its my knowledge as a specimen angler which inspired my most recent outing. You see I have long theorised that there might be some rather generous sized perch lurking in one of my favourite lakes. I actually know there is a large population of perch which are generally very focused on tiny baits like caster and maggot. These fish range up to 2lb in weight or 35cm-40cm if you're a lure angler. My thoughts though were that there must be a few really big mommas around and that maybe targeting them with lures which the smaller fish really don't respond to until later in the year might help target the big girls specifically.
My idea when I arrived early doors was to target some feature strewn spots using crayfish lures fished on Carolina rigs with which I had been having a lot of success lately. I love the way this set up works! By having the weight of the rig set away from the lure you get these few moments when the weight hits the bottom, the lure is no longer being pulled down by anything and it flutters slowly down - nine times out of ten that's when the perch hit.
Being as I was after a specimen and I knew the smaller perch were unlikely to make an appearance I wasn't expecting many fish, but after making hundreds of casts in likely areas I had zero to show for my efforts. That was until I began casting into a reedy bay where I hoped the perch could be gathering ready for spawning. On my first cast I watched the rig hit the bottom and then the sagging braided line shot taught and I struck into thin air. I was sure a fish had grabbed the lure and quickly ejected it. Then three casts later I felt a very distinctive thump resonate up the braided line which again came to naught. The wind was actually blowing a little into the bay and this was helping me to cast onto the reed line and fish a bent retrieve along the edge of the reeds where I thought the fish might been holed up. About three or four twitches along the reeds something smashed the lure hard sending a fizz up from the lake bed as it moved off. I really thought it could have been a perch at first but the fish just piled on the pressure and powered off sending my little 500 size reel into melt down. Ten minutes of me retrieving line and it smashing the swim to bits and I got my first sight of a nice looking pike deep down in the clear water. It wasn't until it went into the net that I realised just how much of a pig of a pike it was.
She might have been only 75cm long but she was probably 80cm round. Even though she obviously hadn't spawned, she was very much still feeding hard and her stomach was very much laden with fish. Other than her obvious weight issues she was a stunning fish all round and catching her more than made up for the lack of target fish on this outing.