The Perch are learning?!


A grey winter Monday and an afternoon off. The perfect opportunity to go fishing. I joined Scott in the morning, our plan for the day was to try and locate some chalk stream Chub. The rivers had been in flood, after a few days without rain we expected reasonable levels and feeding fish. I was wrong, we arrived in the car park to the sight of a swollen river consuming the fields. Waders on we decided to brave the conditions, quickly we realized the river was in to poor a state to fish.

Perch had been on my mind the whole day, so we decided to make a move, driving to a heavily fished section of urban river. Higher banks and concrete structure kept the flood waters at bay while bridges and moorings provided slacks from the current.

Scott & I arrived at the spot with a couple of hours of light left to fish. We started in a slack basin tempting a few fish to reaction crays, a quick switch to the Goby Crank lead to a pike that slipped the hook and a small perch. The next move was to a spot 50 yards down stream where the river narrows then widens. We cast into the crease line of the flow finding tightly packed baitfish. Long pauses were the key often the bites were coming 10-15 seconds after the lure had settled. A few more good fish fell for the reaction cray.

We moved back upstream stopping to chat to a friendly coarse angler. He had a productive day catching silvers and was now packing up. I watched as he released the contents of his keep net, certain a pike or perch would be waiting nearby. The fish here through immense angling pressure have learnt to be wise. They lay in wait for a freshly caught roach to be put back or a keep net emptied, picking off unwary or disoriented strays. I dropped my cray tight to the bank and began to jig it back. On the second run through I felt a rattle and dropped the lure to the bottom.

A single tap followed by a quick strike, I had connected to a solid urban Perch. The fish fought hard in the flow lunging for deeper water but soon we slipped the net under her. I quickly unhooked the fish and dropped the lure back down. Before hitting the bottom, another fish was on the line, not nearly as big but a beauty. After a second dogged fight we had spooked the shoal. We photographed the 2 fish and slipped them back. A great short session came to an end. A sized opportunity producing a big opportunistic Perch.