Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Sergeant's orders

The weekend came and along with it the storm, rain and relentless winds, lights flickering in the Erdwin household and eventually culminating in a 14 hour power cut, many trees had been uprooted in the area and quite frankly I was glad that I had eventually seen sense and decided against popping out for a spot of fishing on Saturday.

Unfortunately Sunday passed me by too and was spent with disposing of perished items from our fridges due to the power cut, can't say I was best pleased as it was very spring like and the thoughts of fishing and photo opportunities of wildlife that I was probably missing did irk me somewhat.

It was lunchtime Monday when I decided come hell or high water (the latter being very attainable..) that I would grab the gear and head off back down to the river in search of perch for a few hours. So with some liquidized bread laced with krill and mixed with maggots, caster and a plentiful supply red worms  from the family compost to chop up and feed in too I set off.

Getting to the river was a bit of an ask, debris everywhere, silt had been deposited into areas I didn't even think were possible and this combined with deep pools of mud along the way gave me a distinct marshmallow man meets Bear Grylls feeling, it was a slow process and at times precarious.

On casting an eye on the river I could see that the winds had not left the area unscathed, rows of trees still stood to attention as if mourning their fallen comrades, but in this negative there was still a positive, new features had been created that will no doubt provide sanctuary for many fish come next season.

The river had fined down a bit, if you could call it that and I decided to target a slack, fishing lob worm tipped with maggot for the stripeys.

Within the first half hour and having lost a fish earlier to a hook pull, I found I was in a lively scrap with a very fit perch, its proud dorsal creating a miniature maelstrom each time it cut through the surface, before bullishly darting back down for the safety of tree roots and sunken debris.

Dry tongue and throat were quite an issue until I finally slid the net under her. She was plump and very beautiful.


After taking one last look at her and finally saying goodbye she glided away majestically into the river, little did I know that this was going to be the catalyst for a red letter trip.

As I sipped coffee and was being kept company by kingfisher and woodpeckers on the opposite bank, the rod twitched, a more subtle bite as the fish mouthed the bait, I lifted the rod and held the line to feel for any more activity, sure enough every so often a soft pluck which slowly become more regular, almost with its own rhythm, I struck, the clutch ticked steadily and rod lurched as the fish bolted for cover, this felt another solid fish and as I drew it toward the landing net I could see it was lightly hooked in the upper lip, I winced at the thought that the hook hold might slip, thankfully it held true and she was soon recuperating in the net.

Replete with a cavernous mouth, the last thing that most minnow and gudgeon might ever see, she was a finely conditioned river stripey on both flanks, this trip was becoming something else.


Opposite flank and looking fresh off the perca production line

By now I was in the land of surreal and this jelly baby had an almost warm and fuzzy glow about himself.

The rain came and went in fits and spurts and it remained overcast, low light levels, perfect perch conditions, it was just after one such spell of rain that I slipped the net under the third stripey of the day a pristine fish.


By the time daylight had faded I managed to add one more, a fish of 2lb, with some very striking markings and a distinct little orange blemish under its chin.


The way events had unfolded really had been very special and as I packed up I took a long thoughtful look at the river  thanking it and the army of proud, healthy sergeants for such a red letter day.


  1. Some cracking Perch there Mark. I've a swim on the Avon in mind for the weekend, not much time left on the rivers this season and I've certainly missed it.

    1. Cheers Mick, was nice to find the river partly fishable but what a state after the storms, not seen so many trees down since the storm of 87.

  2. What a fantastic day's fishing Mark, well done that man!

    1. Thanks Dave,

      not got round to purchasing those circle hooks yet though (must sort that), it was an amazing trip and I had to pinch myself a few times, they were certainly on the feed.

  3. I am very impressed by that stamp of Perch, very impressed indeed, well done Mark, they look absolutely amazing condition, re: the storm of 87, I was born in it and my parents said the same thing in regards to the widespread destruction, even today I lost two set-ups on submerged tree's in the deeper water. Again a fantastic session.

    1. Thanks James,

      Sometimes the shorter trips can be real red letter ones and the perca were very active and in picture perfect condition, I think the 2.10 was probably the cleanest looking fish.

      Yes 87, that fateful day when weatherman Michael Fish proclaimed there was nothing to worry about.
      I was 8 at the time and cannot forget how much damage was wrought. After these floods and storms there is plenty of new snags no doubt and does not surprise me that you lost some tackle James, a friend was on the Thames and went home after losing a fair few weights to the new topography created in the floods.

      Thanks again mate.

  4. A catch of perch for ANYONE to be pleased with. Well done and nice to see they have not all been washed out to sea.

    1. Hello Jay and thanks my friend, believe me I really was over the moon, would be nice to see the weather settle down before the season fully runs out of steam though.

  5. Wow what an awesome catch of stunning river perch Mark, superb! What a brilliant fishing trip.

    1. Cheers Ben,

      it was wonderful and very surreal, especially when everything slots together in such a way, I am rather smitten by their beauty.

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