As well as the roach that have been well and truly on my radar over the past few weeks, with the autumn chill, comes thoughts of perch. My nemesis, and bogey species, it has to be said. Its strange then, considering this, that I should get excited at the thought of pitting my wits against them again. And probably failing. This is not to say that I think I will fail, it just always seems to turn out that way, a species I can never truly get my head around. A close second would be tench but thats for the spring. I can pick an area they are likely to live, I can present a bait I think they will enjoy in a way that will tantalise them, but still apart from hand sized ‘specimens’ the big ones elude me.
Its easy to forget, especially when hell bent of finding that three pounder, of just what accompanies angling for an autumn perch. Wind fallen fruit and shiny conkers. The smell of the damp earth and the crunch of yellowed leaves. Tree branches and gnarled trunks slowly exposed as fierce winds strip them of their cover. Grass, coated in saturating dew, soaking anything unlucky enough to be dragged though it. There really is no finer time to be an angler, or more simply, just to be alive. The great thing is, that as I write this, all of these things are still to come. Though it is still quite mild, autumn is certainly not far away, you can feel it whenever the sun sets or its rays are lost behind the hills of a river valley.
The sun was already setting on my first perch fishing trip of the year. Mist beginning to rise from the water. I’d been very mobile for a few hours, using a light lure rod and soft lures, a style of angling that is quite new to me but a challenge I am relishing. For the first time I felt really confident I was presenting the bait correctly. It’s a pity then that no perch had thought the same. I made my last cast just as the light had got to a point where I could hardly make out the jig splashing through the surface. It was, in fact, my tenth last cast but this one really had to be the last.
Despite the lack of perch action I did have one fish to show for my efforts. As often happens when fishing, the sessions only reward came within minutes of arriving, a premature peak that would turn out to be the highest. It was my second cast, more a drop in than cast, the jig mere inches from the bank. With the line hooped over my finger, I proceeded to lift and drop the tiny lure, hoping to feel an inquisitive as a monster perch came ambushing from cover. I did feel something, though not a tap, more a sudden dead weight. A weight that moved.
On light tackle the fight started slowly but soon turned into run, after powerful run. When something bigger than intended decides to bite, a fishes strength becomes exposed. Their speed and agility too, even a relatively long fish, has the ability to turn on a sixpence. I did land the fish, a chunky pike, which I allowed plenty of time to recover once in the net. A rather delicate disposition hiding behind a fierce facade. Of course I was pleased to capture it, and it proved I was at least doing something right, if only for the pike. I just can’t help wishing it was a perch. Still, all of that is still to come, remember. Fingers crossed.
Until next time,