This week I started my perch fishing campaign on a canal noted for having a good head of specimen sized fish. Well, that is the word on the grapevine, but I like to catch the fish for myself before I believe that what people say is true. I really should have more faith in things I guess but hey that’s the way I am. I think it makes it more exciting too.
I arrived at the canal for an early morning session. Strange choice you might think usually late afternoon and into dusk being the normal time associated with catching monster perch. But it was the unusually warm and bright weather conditions forecast that prompted me to have a short early session. Hopefully I could muster a few bites before the sun got too hot and maybe more importantly, the boat traffic became too heavy to present baits effectively. As you can see the swim above offered some far bank cover in amongst the reeds and I would present my whole worm hook at as right as I could using a pole. Some people scoff at the idea of fishing for specimen fish with a pole but if I gives me greater presentation and therefore a greater chance of a bite, the why not use one?
After feeding some chopped worm and red maggots I started the session with a double red maggot hookbait simply to gauge what fish were in the swim. The first few fish were all small roach so I quickly changed to a whole worm. It was obvious that I had quite a few small silver fish in my swim. Perfect. You see the feeding fish will cause a disturbance that any marauding perch would pick up on and investigate. Present a bigger, lively bait in amongst this disturbance and you’ve got a good chance of a big perch being the fish to take the bait. Kind of like carp on commercials.
After some disturbances from barges I eventually made contact with some perch. Pictured above is a perch of about a pound that took a full dendrobaena fished a few inches on the deck. Another one a few ounces bigger followed shortly after. And although the conditions for perch fishing were far from ideal, I was still hopeful for a two pound plus fish. I plodded away feeding regularly with red maggots and edging a worm bait through the swim. I never go perch fishing without some red maggots and I like to feed them little and often so theres a regular falling of them through the water. Perch are very visual, having great eyesight, so it seems the logical thing to do. I also like to push the rig as tight as I can into any holes in the reeds. I am convinced these are the places that canal perch sit and wait for any prey, any small fish or crayfish passing wouldn’t even know they were being watched.
Eventually just before 11am I had a positive bite from one of these dip backs in the reeds and the strike was met with solid resistance. After a dogged fight typical of the perch, I netted a fish that looked like my target fish. On the scales the fish was two ounces short of two pound but I was more than happy with it. Pictured below is the best three perch of the day.
Given the very un-perch like conditions, the very busy boat traffic and the fact it was my first session on this particular stretch of canal I was more than happy with a near two pound perch plus a few pound plus fish. I have much hope for this canal come the cooler weather. There are swims which look absolutely perfect for perch. Overhanging trees, outlets, all sorts. I just hope that when the weather does eventually start to turn more autumnal there will be even bigger perch gracing my landing net.
Until next time,