I had a break from the river carp this week. I didn’t go to a different venue though. Still on the same river but on a different stretch. This served two purposes. The first being it allowed me to still keep some bait going in over the spots I’ve been fishing for the carp. The second is that I am thinking about fishing this river for perch come the colder weather, when conditions are favourable, and I wanted to see if I could find any potential swims, areas and hopefully catch a few fish along the way. Not really after anything specifically, just being there and enjoying myself. And boy, am I glad I did. Nothing to do with what I caught but what I saw.
I wasn’t alone today, my old man was with me and it was nice to have some company. I’ve been keeping him up to date with my carp venture and it must have got his spirits going again. If you’re off to the river I’ve got some casters in, just in case. Well, I knew he would put them to good use and was sure, even with the river being so clear and the flow lacking, that he would get some roach feeding and catch a good number of them. Whilst he set up I wandered off to feed the carp swims. When I returned a good hour later he was already catching plump 4-6oz roach with surprising regularity. He hardly bothered looking up as I stood behind him talking. Who could blame him?
I eventually settled into a enticing swim. It certainly looked the part. A fair amount of marginal cover that could prove invaluable given the clear water conditions. It offered a good depth fishing just over the ledge. I fished a stick float set up over depth, cast out into the flow (what little there was), and allowed the rig to swing back onto the shelf on a tight line. There the rig held stationary, presenting a dendrobaena and caster cocktail. What passing bream or marauding perch could resist?
It turned out that quite a lot of these little perch couldn’t resist. Over twenty in the first hour. But me being me, I wanted something a little bigger. Just after dinner I bait dropped a good amount of dark groundbait, chopped worm and caster into the swim. After a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee my first cast produced a nice 2lb bream. The next cast I hooked another bream that quickly shed the hook and signalled the end of any more bites. Even the little perch had gone. I sat it out for a while longer before I packed up and went and sat with my dad. Here is where the story gets interesting.
Thinking about it now I should have got a catch shot of my dads roach bag but for some reason I didn’t. It was a lovely catch of fish, maybe 10-12lb of prime river roach with a few perch mixed in. Oh, and a little gudgeon. With the fish safely returned he spread his keepnet out to dry. That’s when we saw the gudgeon was still in there. It must have got stuck in a fold. My dad saw to it he went back like all the other fish had. Sure enough he swam off, slowly, into the clear water. This hadn’t gone unnoticed though. There was a dark shape underneath him, just inches from the bank. At first I though a jack pike had been drawn in by the commotion of the other fish being returned. In the split second the fish bolted up to the gudgeon and engulfed it, I realised how wrong I was. Not a jack pike but a huge perch. This fish was enormous. I have never seen a perch so big. Its dark green back was so wide it was almost carp like. It’s mouth could have engulfed a golf ball with ease. I am not going to put an estimated weight on this fish. Lets just say if I was ever lucky enough to catch this fish it would probably be my PB for a very, very long time. It certainly makes you think about the potential of the waters we fish and the fish that live there.
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Until Next time tight lines,