Crispy Morning and a few nice Perch
Arriving on the river at first light like we usually do tested all layers of our clothing this Monday! A lovely -1 degrees, 'crunchy grass' and foggy ice cold morning air welcomed us to the water. River levels had dropped quite a bit but with still quite a lot of flow pushing through, we decided to fish 4-5g Cheb heads rather then our usual 2-3g for this river stretch.
While Howard and Myself were concentrating on the far bank (Big Bite Bait #Yomama for myself and Crazy Fish #Polaris for Howard). Rob concentrated on his highly efficient close margin fishing with a Gunki #Naiad. Vertically fishing the dense snags close in with this lure has produced some good fish for Rob in the past and was going to produce bites this session as well! First person to get a contact was Howard when his lure got slammed just after impact next to a far bank weed bed. After a quick strike the fish stayed on for a few seconds but managed to shake off the hook too early for us to make out the species, a decent Chub was the consensus but hey, you never know. Not long after I saw Howard strike again, this time the fish stayed on and a nice river perchy found my net after a quick battle and showed off its beautiful colours in the morning sun soon after. After the release we all felt a boost of confidence as this particular water (like plenty of others) seems to have very precise and short biting phases during which the Perch feed hard.
Not this Monday though, only a few careful taps here and there and the smallest Jack I have personally caught in my life (yay), indicated the fish were around but not feasting actively. Lunch time it was, a nice and warm pub welcomed us with some cold beers and full on meals to strengthen us mentally and physically for the afternoon. A quick briefing about the after-lunch strategy and off we were again to annoy some stripeys. With similar techniques to the morning we continued to fish concentrated; soon after I spotted Howard getting the net ready for something Rob was battling underneath his rod tip. Upon arriving I was glad to see it wasn't a rogue Jack but an absolutely beautiful Perch which had been feeding lots and was really getting its winter figure on. Rob had this time picked it up from the shallow far bank. Quick shoot in the afternoon sun and back the stunner went.
I had started fishing again for maybe two casts, bottom dragging my Crayfish imitation in a shallow eddie close to a sunken tree when I felt a heavy pull rather than a knock which made me think Jack Pike but upon first slow headshakes it was clear there was a decent perch on the other end of my line. It must have warmed up well in the shallows as it showed me a good scrap and continued being very active after I netted it. This fish hadn't quite gone winter body yet but certainly measured over 40cm which usually is my goal when targeting specimen perch. Quick shoot with the boys and see you in January!
After this very short but obvious active hunting phase the activity went down to the before described gentle taps, one more Jack nailed my Crayfish upon impact on the far bank and gave me a nice scrap in fast water.
On our way back to the car we stopped at a hot spot we knew from past days but hadn't fished today, Howard dropped his lure down the artificial wall and upon lifting it, witnessed an absolute unit of a perch curiously following it to the surface but with no intention of having a little taste. Also Rob and my lures - which obviously flew into this spot straight away 😉 - didn't find any attention so we called it a hard but in the end successful day which soon has to be repeated! Tight lines out there to everyone, we hope you find some chunky winter preds over the next few months!!