Tuesday, 24 February 2015

perch-plexed - Dying light fix

Red fins and stripey black markings, angry dorsals and flaring gill plates, the subtle plucks as they tentatively pull the quiver tip round and bold tussle they give, dorsal raised like a freshwater marlin, I don't think there is a finer species that reside in our waterways and I do like a spot of perch fishing for all of these reasons.

A couple of my recent trips found me confronted by pike that were bullying the perch out of the area. Esox that were intent on snaffling up my worm hook bait and putting a bit of a bend in the quiver. It was fairly evident that no perch with an ounce of common sense would be seen hanging around whilst the crocs were on the feed and midway through the second outing a nagging doubt started to seed itself in my mind, partly due to having a mink pop its head up in the swim.

I thought things over slowly, were the pike dominating this area of the river? Had the perch fallen foul of  predation by mink or otter? Or maybe the fish had not fully moved into the area for spawning yet?

The last idea seemed a reasonably logical one, as did the first and I must admit that I have seen only mink on this waterway no otters as of yet. I decided to try a side channel, an area where small fry are normally harassed by perch. A light scattering of red maggot was placed over link ledgered lobs and I waited in earnest for any signs of activity, I was thankful it wasn't an overly bright afternoon, light levels were what I would call perfect with a healthy helping of cumulus.

As daylight gradually diminished there was no signs of activity, no plucks not even the faintest of twitches, my first thought was to stick it out, the other to move further afield and try a few other swims, the stay put and "all in or nothing" won out.

Daylight had almost retreated as I began to question my timing, swim selection and wondering if it would be wiser to leave targeting them till nearer the end of season, when I saw the tip move a fraction, the faintest nudge, followed by those guitar style, strumming plucks that seem synonymous with a finicky perch bite. Setting the hook there was a reassuring response, thump thump, followed by a proud dorsal breaking the surface. The perfect lime green flank and blood red fins slid over the net cord.

Last knockings 2lb perca
This solidly built perch had really left it till last knockings, but it was like a shot in the arm and my confidence was fully restored. Perhaps some of its parents will come knocking next time, who knows.


  1. Superbly written Mark and a well thought out approach. Nice one mate.

    1. Dave I was getting a bit perturbed when that damn mink appeared,it didn't seem too afraid of a human being about either, I suppose that seeing the odd mink might mean that any otters have not pushed into their territory yet.

  2. I wouldn't worry too much about mink unless you are using a fish bait), and yes, it is a sign that the otters have not cleared the stretch. Mink are brazen little critters and seem happy to stand or swim close without a care in the world. Catapult and boilies maybe? ;o)

    1. Not a bad call Dave, I was thinking more along the lines of a well rounded club to the back of the head.