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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


08/09/2021 - The last day of summer

Leighs 6 year old Harry's perch



The six week school holidays had disappeared fast, and with the clock ticking for a return to school in 24 hours’ time, now was the last chance of summer to go in pursuit of a crucian. With an early wakeup call there was some initial hesitation from my six-year-old son Harry to come along for the day. I heard a response just take me to Grandmas on more than one occasion, as she would no doubt provide an abundance of chocolate covered goodies and unfettered access to the TV remote control. After a little chat from mum, highlighting that dad had bought bait especially for the day, we were on our way to a small intimate water in Cornwall.


We travel light and only carry what we essentially need. No chairs or any comfortable goods that anchor you to a spot, we are nomadic anglers that follow the fish or where the wind blows. Today we would be taking our trusted companion, the Edgar Sealey Supreme a rod that had landed us many a crucian in the past. A three-piece cane rod from the 1950s combined with a bakelite centrepin with a celluloid float from the same period would hopefully be our lucky talisman if we were having bites or not.


Loose feed of Pidgeon conditioner, with double red maggot on a size 20 hook were soon connecting with the tiddlers of the water. We took it in turns to share the rod, there is no competition between father and son, we enjoy sharing our precious time together. For those that have caught crucians in the past, you can appreciate the sensitivity of their bites, but this time it was a very positive take and initially I thought it maybe one of the wild looking carp that inhabit this small water. Three decent crucians gracefully came to the landing net in quick succession, having only been stocked two years ago they are growing well, and thankfully surviving the threat of the cormorants and other migratory wildlife.


With those inevitable words just one last cast, the double red maggot was cast out with a good handful of maggots spread around the float. They were by now getting sweaty and starting to escape from the maggot tub. Within seconds the float was under, the boy rod in hand was trying to play the fish, I was sure it was a crucian, until I saw the dorsal fin. We both said at the same time “PERCH” our voices and emotions were full of excitement and we hand never seen on the bank a perch of any size. I carefully put the landing net under this one, this was a fish we did not want to lose at the net.


I had no scales with me, but photographs were quickly taken, and handshakes given. We watched as the perch returned to the undercut in the bank before we decided to call it a day, with visions of returning in the autumn.



Leigh and Harry admire a crucian carp

Picture drawn by Harry of his perch

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