This session had certainly come around rather quickly. I couldn’t believe I was already starting to think about perch. It seems that the spring rushed by in the blink of an eye and the summer followed suit. A blur of tench, crucian and bream fishing trips. Now it’s almost autumn. The leaves are already turning a yellower shade of green and in some cases have already made their transition to mustard colour. With the frosts still hopefully a good few weeks away, I thought I would start my perch fishing off a little earlier this year. I approached the idea as one of ‘getting to know the water’ more than anything else. Exploring a number of swims, getting an idea of the depths and contours, and making notes of any interesting snags or visible features. The area I am concentrating on; two sections of a fairly deep and slow moving river. A river full of small roach, rudd and gudgeon. Surely an environment perfect to throw up a big stripey or two.
The picture above is perhaps not the typical one you would associate with a perch trip. The bank side grass still lush and alive, the trees canopy still offering plenty of shade. The river was looking lovely it has to be said. Just a tinge of colour but good visibility on the whole. There was plenty of far bank and nearside cover on the length I was on today. Although the sun was shining brightly. Occasionally a cloud would block it from view but in the majority it was bright, and for the angler, rather pleasant. I had brought just one rod with me and it was my intention to fish a couple of swims for an hour at a time. Presenting a tempting lobworm on a float rig. Moving the bait through the swim, holding back or laying the bait on a little. A lovely style of fishing for getting to know a swim.
I fed a few chopped pieces of worm and a few casters and then proceeded to work the swim. On my second cast I had a tentative take. A little rattle and a slight sinking of the float that was enough for me to strike at. The rod arched over into a pleasing curve and in the depths, over ten foot below, the fish hugged the bottom. A very smooth fight, apart from the odd aggressive head shake. I had a sneaky suspicion that this fish was one that has become rather endangered in the last decade or so. Slowly I eased the fish higher, all the time the head shaking getting more aggressive and pronounced. A minute or so later I was not surprised to see the outline of an eel fade into view. It looked a fair sized one too. Another thirty seconds passed and the fish was in the net. Writhing into knots and covering my net in slime.
The fishing gods were smiling down on me though. Thankfully the hook was lodged in the mesh of my landing net and on closer inspection looked to have done so the moment I had netted the fish. I decided to give the fish a weigh and was pleasantly surprised to see the dial settle on 2lb 2oz. I want to say I ‘admired’ the eel before letting it go. I think a more accurate term would be appreciated it. They certainly are an acquired taste. But their life cycle is truly amazing. A feat of endurance if nothing else. They look truly prehistoric. Their eyes are like no other fish I can think of.
With the eel returned I thought it time to move. The next swim I settled in was a little shallower than the last and the pace seemed quicker. There was a delightful eddy on the nearside though and it was here I presented my bait. Second cast and another bite. Yep you guessed it, eel time! Smaller than the first and thankfully only lip hooked. Those fishing gods were certainly taking care of me today. Well, kind of. You see I fished another three swims and took an eel in each. All unhooked and returned with absolute ease. But try as I might I could not tempt a perch. Not even a small one. Still, I had explored the length somewhat and had a good idea of areas I would like to try again. I hadn’t blanked and had enjoyed the method I employed. Such a versatile method for various forms of presentation. Well, static and slow moving. There’s something soothing for an anglers soul to watching a orange topped float amble slowly down a river. Even when the intended quarry are absent. Every time that orange beacon of hope disappears, the heart rate increases, and you never know. You just never know.
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Until Next time tight lines