The autumn sun beamed down as I arrived at the venue. A venue that, in the past when I have dabbled in a little carp fishing, I remember noticing the unmistakable signs of a sinister presence living amongst the carp. Tiny fry fish scattering erratically. Ounce sized roach swimming for their lives amongst ominous boils. Yes, there are perch living here. Good sized ones too. At the time I promised myself a return for a few sessions after them once the summer had passed and the water began to cool. Well, is was that time. And although the weather conditions were still unseasonably mild and the day a bright one, it was a good a time as any to make a few exploratory casts.
Offering a little cover, the island seemed a good place to begin. I had the margins to target too and a very pronounced drop off just past them. With the three depths marked on my rod, so I could switch between them quickly, I began feeding a few red maggots and a couple of lob worm sections per swim. I also had with me a few prawns; either for use on the hook or to be broken in to smaller pieces and fed. For now though, with the sun still bright, I began by fishing the deepest swim. To get a feel for what was going on I stated with half a lobworm on a size ten hook. A fake red maggot was used to make sure the worm didn’t make its escape off the hook. Before every cast I fed eight or ten maggot and cast the rig in over this. The lobworm falling enticingly amongst the free offerings.
If no bites were forthcoming over the next hour I would happy to admit there were no perch in the area. Or at least no perch in the mood to feed. After a few casts the float began to signal small fish in the area with a series of tiny movements. At least I had attracted something into the swim. This commotion would not go unnoticed by a big, old sergeant. I now just needed to persevere. After 90 minutes I had received no proper takes so I thought it was time to try by the island. I had been feeding this swim occasionally whilst concentrating on the other. It was much shallower here. Call it anglers intuition but it just did’t feel right. The sun was much to bright and I didn’t feel confident of a bite. Half an hour without a dip of the float seemed to back up my feelings. Back to the deep water swim. And an immediate response as the tip sank from view. A perch but only a small fish. No more than four ounces. Time to try searching the surrounding area, hoping to find where a large perch may be laying in wait off the main shoal of feeding silvers and small perch. The float is a fantastic tool for searching swims. Another hour passed me by with no reward. I was starting to debate moving areas altogether when the sun went behind a huge grey cloud. The light levels dropped. The swim was transformed in a matter of seconds. I felt I owed it to myself to see the day out here. Why not? I was having great fun and thats what fishing should all be about. I fed the deep water swim with a few catapults of maggots and two or three broken prawns and worm pieces. I myself had some bread and soup and I allowed the bait to settle.
Naturally my mind began to daydream of perch marauding in the depths. Picking up the scent of my bait. Searching to find the source. Watching a large, plump worm fall tantalisingly through the water. It’s movement sending out vibrations that are picked up by the perches lateral line. So simple. At least in theory. Back to the real world, I cast once more into the deep water swim and watched the float settle pleasingly. The wind had increased now and it had become quite cool. I needed to add a little depth to the rig to stop it from being blown through the swim too quickly. Three or four unrewarded casts went by before the float vanished without warning under the ripples. I swept the rod up from the rest. Solid weight met me at the other end. Now to hope it was not a carp, of which there here had been plenty moving all day. No, not enough weight for a carp. A few head shakes and jagging motions thundered up the rod blank. Then back to dead weight. I was hopeful. Fleetingly so it has to be said. A side to side motion. Line cutting through the water from right to left and memories of a fish caught a few weeks ago came flooding back. This felt suspiciously like an eel. I gritted my teeth and hoped that the fish would suddenly go back to feeling more ‘perch’. It didn’t. The steady pressure of my rod soon took its toll on what turned out to be quite a long and solidly built eel. After a few failed attempts at landing it (I’m very glad other fish can’t swim backwards) it was curling itself into a ball in the mesh of my net. Ready for me to unhook. Oh joy.
The eel turned to to be a new personal best for me. It was a very broad fish. The pictures don’t do the fish justice. Although I tried to take some to illustrate, the eel had other plans. Such a strong and slippery customer. I fished on for the next hour, until darkness well and truly set in, but received no further bites. I will return though. Those perch are in there, after all.
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Until Next time tight lines