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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


06/03/2020 - Perch- Perch and More Perch

A handful of lobworms


At the start of my two weeks house sitting I had spotted a good perch chasing small roach and perch, immediately I thought there must be a good chance of a big perch from the pool, more so as the water is only fished by myself, I have always reckoned that predators survive better when there is little pressure on them from anglers. My problem was I didn’t have any suitable bait at the time, also my mind was fixated on float fishing for roach and carp. As the days progressed I kept a close watch for further signs of perch, apart from dozens of thumb size fish I caught when roach fishing I didn’t see any more signs of big perch.

Lobs Prawns and Gentles

With a few days left of my stay I was able to get into a tackle shop in town, where I got as good supply of lobs and red gentles, then it was off to a supermarket for two bags of frozen prawns. Back home I cut the prawns into small bits then mixed these into some sloppy ground bait, before throwing the lot into my two chosen areas, I then cut a lot of lobs into dozens of inch long pieces which were scattered in the same areas as chopped the prawns, along with a dozen whole lobworms, For the next two days just after dawn, then at dusk I added more chopped prawns worms and gentles, again several whole lobs were thrown in my two chosen spots.

Tackle Choice

I used one of my Milward swim master 12 foot rods, matched with a Coxon Aeriel reel certainly a great combination, the day before I’d put on 50 yards of 4 lb BS line, then chose a small peacock waggler with a cane insert, adding 2 BB shot, finally attaching a spade end size 8 barbless hook I’d whipped onto the 4lb reel line. My plan of action was to fish just as the false dawn in the east appeared for about two hours, then have breakfast before starting again fishing on and off until I could no longer see the float. The m ain swim I chose was an area where there were some bushes in the water, its well know perch and pike like cover and snag ridden areas.

First Day

I was up and about around 0600 hrs, as usual it was raining, but thankfully no wind, in the first light of dawn if one could call it light in fact it was very gloomy as I slowly walked to the lake full of hope that I would be connecting with a perch or two. In my first chosen swim I threw in some chopped prawns and lobs, though bits of prawn floated on the surface, sitting back from the water’s edge I baited the size 8 hook with a lob hooked in ther head then added a plastic gentle to keep the bait on the hook, all I needed was an underhand cast to drop the baited hook two feet in front of the sunken bushes, I quietly waited for some action. I fished on and off all day until darkness, I had two bites both from carp which quickly busted me off in the underwater bushes.

Day Two

Another day of rain this time with a strong wind, I decided to fish as I did the previous day, but also fish for the roach further out in the pool but in my line of sight so I could see both floats. It wasn’t until around 1500 hrs. when I started getting bites on red gentles when I was targeting the roach, apart from roach I was now catching perch after perch, In fact for every one roach I would have five or six perch, but don’t get excited as you read this, the perch were not much bigger than my forefinger, most were thumb size. I had a succession of these tiny perch until darkness, not a bite on the float fished lobworm or prawn. I didn’t see any activity from bigger perch chasing the smaller perch or roach. Where the bigger perch were, was a mystery, they couldn’t have just disappeared overnight.

Day Three

The morning started off like previous days with rain, this time I also had to put up with with sleet and hail showers, I moved away from the swim of the previous two days to fish an area where the stream flowed in, hoping perhaps the fish had moved into this area, so strong was the flow of water into the pool, I could trot a baited hook down the flow until it ceased flowing. The water was well coloured, I thought perhaps the perch had moved to this area. I changed the waggler pattern float to a small Avon taking 3BB shot, then spent most of the day feeding chopped worms and gentles, catching some roach, also hooking and losing three carp, which quickly dived into the lily roots but also numerous small perch but none of the size I was seeking. With darkness falling I ended the day as the other days no sign of a big perch, just numerous small ones. In fact I had never ever seen so many small perch in all the years I have fished the water, the next day I packed away all my gear, then Kate and I cleaned and dusted through the house leaving it clean and tidy for our friends when they arrived home next day. It had been a good couple of weeks despite the atrocious weather during our stay. On Monday 2nd March I went off to hospital to have a cataract removed from my right eye, all the NHS staff were excellent, the operation a great success, sadly I cannot go fishing for the next few days, but hopefully with the help of some friends I will get in some late afternoon sessions as the river season comes to an end.








My Coxon Aeriel

My perch swim

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Martin James Fishing
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