A distinct lack of perch (Entry 109)

The concoction made its way out to the swim via the pole cup. A dark, sloppy mess if truth be told, but one full of attractive amino acids soaked into compost. Amongst it chopped worm segments still wriggled attractively. A few casters finished things off perfectly. Upon hitting the water it began clouding outwards and down. I was on the canal once more, in search of perch, determined to try to make contact with one of specimen proportions. They certainly lived here but so far this autumn I have yet to find where these monsters are lurking. The rod and reel had been left at home this week. I planned to fish the far bank and knew the pole would allow me to get much closer. Within inches if I so wished. For now though I had baited about a foot from the reeds that lined the far bank and I began to edge a light pole rig through the swim, letting the tow drag the worm along the bottom, hopefully right into a big perch’s mouth. Well, I can dream.

Another early start on the canalI had arrived just before dawn and positioned myself in between two barges. There was a light mist in the surrounding fields and the day was predicted to be overcast. It was perfect conditions for fishing and I felt very confident of catching. It took a few runs through the swim to get any interest though and when it came it was my nemesis of recent weeks; the bream. What was different about this fish was the way it fought. I honestly thought the fish was foul hooked at one point, every time it neared the surface the bream bolted powerfully back down to the canal bottom. Maybe it had been taking fighting lessons from a resident tench? Eventually it gave in. No more the a pound and a half and not the target species. Gratefully received all the same.

More bream!

Another four bream followed in successive put ins albeit of a smaller stamp. The fish were certainly enjoying lobworm. They were enjoying four dendrobaenas halves too. It seemed that no bait was too big for their mouths. And nothing could curtail their appetite. Still, I was catching fish and there was nothing wrong with that. The species then changed, firstly to perch, small ones not more than a few ounces and then to ruffe. Although they are quite pretty looking fish it’s never a good sign to see them appear in your swim. In my experience they are usually the death knell.

The humble ruffeI decided that it was time to try fishing a little further out. Maybe the fish were tucked up amongst the cover of the reed stems. I shallowed the rig a little and began to explore. I lifted and drop the rig. Dragged the bait through the swim. Held it dead still. Nothing. I decided to lift it once more but this time I held it for a few seconds before letting it fall back the the bottom. The float settled, well it looked as if it was settling, instead it just vanished into the murky water. The strike saw coloured elastic peel out from the end of the pole. This felt like a better fish. Much better indeed. The mystery fish dropped from the shelf down into the boat channel and I was sure that I was playing a good perch. Definitely a two pounder, maybe more. I slowly shipped the pole back in readiness to net the fish, which had begun to see my way of thinking, and rose to the surface. A little jack pike and not a perch at all! It’s toothy grin was one of ‘I had you fooled, didn’t I?’

A small jack pike with a liking for lobworm.The fishing was very slow after this. In the next hour I had just one other tiny perch. It looked like the boat traffic was picking up too. Time to pack away. Defeated once again but certainly not beaten. It had been an interesting session on a picturesque stretch of canal. I’ll certainly be back. Next week though, I might have a change and come back to the perch once the autumn has truly set in.

So, where to go and what to target?

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Until Next time tight lines



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