Specimen Perch From Commercial Fishery's

Thu 14 March 13


After the rivers burst their banks in some of Dorsets worst floods in years I was forced to stop my campaign on the rivers trotting stick floats, a method I had been having great success on and more importantly enjoying some good sport catching different species. So where to head now then?… I had planned around February time to target some big perch on some of my local commercial fisheries but I felt now with the weather forecast for more heavy rain in the weeks to come that my time would be best spent on the local lakes.
So I grabbed a couple of light barbel rods rigged up with very free running lead set ups with foot long 4lb fluorocarbon hook links to a large size 6 Mixa hooks and headed out in my Jack Pyke Boots with are an essential bit of kit when fishing the wet and boggy bankside after flooding.

The Rods would be fished on alarms to enable me to pick up any movement around the rig from the silver fish that I hope to draw into the area and from any shy biting perch, this coupled with long drops on my ultra light bobbins would be an effective setup. My rods are fished slightly tip down and with the rods fished on single bank sticks both facing towards the rigs, theres no point having your rods looking tarty its all about creating the least resistance for the feeding perch. I use a line clip with a large loop of line gently trapped under light pressure I tend not to fish an open bail arm like some anglers favour as I am usually fishing day sessions and I am always by the rods ready to strike early and my long drops and large clipped loops give me all the time I need. If I do fish at night then an open bail arm allows the perch to run free with the bait until you can quickly react to your alarms.

My groundbait concoction of many ingredients is vitally important for 2 reasons not only will it pull in small roach into my area to create disturbance and attract the predators closer it will also trigger the perch into feeding with all its acidic attractors. Firstly I chop a small amount of rag worm which is a bait often used by myself on my many sea fishing trips and I have seen just how much juice these leak out once the worms are chopped up so this is a key ingredient. To this I add chopped lob worms,mashed up prawns and Fish Pro, then I add lake water and mix the liquid up. Then comes the powders I add a dark ground bait along with fish protein and krill and once this is thoroughly mixed together I will have a ground bait I can ball into my areas every hour or so to keep my swim active.

My starting hook bait is always a large fresh king prawn (unless live baits are allowed) mounted on a large hook as its important to match the hook to your hookbait and a size 6 Mixa is perfect with its large gape allowing the hook to stay exposed. The bait is kept in place by a small piece of red rubber banks this stops against crayfish or smaller fish pulling the prawn off and to allow safe casting. The hook is barbless! I cant stress how important this is when perch fishing a large beaked point hook will keep hold just fine and avoid difficulty when unhooking with the correct tools…

So with my baits in the water I decided to fish 2 king prawns one rod having a prawn straight out of the packet and on the other rod I had a king prawn that had been soaking in Predator Plus which colours the prawns red. I had not just chucked these baits anywhere I had done my homework and heard that when the lake was netted a particular area held more perch and after picking a swim with many features and cover for the perch to ambush I felt confident that I was on fish. Both rods I had fished no more than 2 rod lengths out as my features were mainly my margins although its always worth switching from spot to spot and keeping your prawn fresh and moving, I will often twitch the prawn and offer a handful of red maggots to create more activity.

Instantly I was in shortly after first light around an hour of being in the swim and a great start a good fish well over the 2lb mark a short and sharp fight and a very confident take a fast rise on the bobbin allowed me to quickly strike the fish to avoid the perch from swallowing the hook. I returned the fish 2 swims up to stop the fish potentially spooking any perch I may have had in my swim. More of my groundbait mix was balled in with high anticipation for another quick bite…
I was then faced with a long spell of inactivity which is not uncommon with perch as they prefer feeding in low light conditions when there eyesight becomes at its most useful. Several hours passed and even when the fish weren’t feeding I would still feed up the swim keeping the attractors and cloud hanging in the water ready for the fish to switch on. Then it happened suddenly a flurry of fish one after the other seeing multiple 2lb perch landed most around the 2.1 to 2.8lb range.

This was a crazy spell and with the fish being very confident with the runs pulling my bobbin up until it crashes into the rod blank. This is were being prepared is key having all your rigs pre tied and baits ready to go as you need to capitalise on these intense windows of action as any time out of the water is a potential chance missed. I left just into darkness to leave only the night anglers fishing and with a result of a session that I was more than happy with being only my first perch session of the year…

I had nearly forgotten all about the rivers after this exciting day session and with the buzz for perch its going to be hard to stay away there is just a child like excitement about perch fishing that I just don’t get with any other species and you will be seeing some more perch action very soon…

Chris Westley


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