I tried to suggest that as everyone else on the site was writing about catching fish maybe my articles might provide a welcome relief but he didnít seem convinced; he can be very single minded at times. My options seemed rather limited, either set up a rival website that included the odd angling anecdote as an aside from time to time or bow to his demands to stick to the bloody point!
Okay, okay I can take a hint and so Iím not going to tell you about last Saturday night (absolutely amazing!) Iím not going to even mention the young girl in the boob-tube that needed stronger elastic, and when it comes to her twin sister in the red suspenders youíll just have to use your imagination; donít blame me, e-mail Mr. Maynard (Sir) with your complaints!
Instead Iíll tell you about last Thursday when I went fishing...
I donít generally go back to a water after I have caught all that Iíve wanted, as with my women they never live up to the memories second time around. (Whoops, sorry Ed)
This particular venue differed from others because in reality I shouldnít have really been fishing there in the first place. It was private with a capital ĎPí; reserved solely for employees of the company that owned the lake. Despite never being in the said companies employ I knew a friend of a friends neighbour that had a sister-in-law with a husbands cousins that worked there. I got a key cut and blagged myself two seasons worth of captures until I was rumbled. My main fault was catching too much and Iím sure it was a jealousy scenario that culminated in my exclusion.
Ten years on and I found a new friend that was best mates with an employee; hoping there had been enough changes of personnel to forget me. It was. I got hold of another key and decided to give the water a second look.
Before, Iíd been so wrapped up in the carp that Iíd ignored all the other species on offer. Iíd caught a bream of seven-pounds and a perch over the three-pound mark accidentally on boilies during my first time at the venue and this time around I decided that the carp could take second place. All the carp were now upper doubles averaging around the eighteen-pound mark, the lake record standing at twenty-four ponds, the same fish Iíd caught twice before at twelve and twenty-two pounds respectively, the thought of capturing her again didnít really inspire me. But the concept of that perch and her sisters, a decade on, really whetted my appetite.
Perch hold a special place in my heart, their voracious appetite, and the fight you get (pound for pound they take some beating) and the general look of the species really gets my pulse racing. Iím sure Iíve mentioned it before but my favourite fish ever was a 4lb. 4oz perch Iíd caught. Despite catching thirty-pound carp this fish is still my Ďpersonal bestí.
I can feel a digression coming on here. I heard a subtle joke today that almost seems relevant; two budgerigars were sat on a perch, one said to the other, "can you smell fish?"
Back to the fishing; I arrived at the lake at dinnertime; unfortunately it was dinnertime for humans not for the fish. I slung out about two-pounds of cooked hempseed and after plumbing the depth fished five red maggots over the top on a size twelve hook. The float didnít have time to cock before a little rudd took the whole ensemble. I repeated the process a dozen times over with similar results. Finally I revised the rig and Ďbulk loadedí the bait to shoot straight to the bottom. It was meant to be Ďperch or bustí but the next lift of the float resulted in a one and a half pound rudd. The next lift left me playing a five-pound common carp for half an hour before it finally succumbed to the net. After that it was a small eel before a three-pound bream snotted up the end tackle.
There was one other angler present fishing a Ďbaited trapí technique to no avail. He didnít say a word to me until I caught the carp then enquired after my bait. When I replied 'maggots', he left.
I was toying between slinging out a worm or giving up and putting out a boilie and going back to what I know best when I hooked another 3oz. rudd. I set up a second rod and affixed the rudd as a dead bait, surely no bream would take that! It was scarcely in the water ten minutes before the swinger was rising upwards. As I struck, I pondered about the possibilities of what I may have hooked. This is the negative aspect of carp angling, when you get a bite it is invariably a carp or a disappointment, anything else is a Ďlesserí fish, such is the thinking of the modern carp angler. I have caught very large tench and bream, even a six-pound eel when fishing Ďexclusivelyí for carp and have been less than pleased because it wasnít what I was hoping for; I do tend to get blinkered!
The resulting strike lead to a perch of some twelve ounces, the dead bait was lost in the struggle. Not to worry though, it was a perch and thought I would persevere. It never fails to amaze me just how big a bait a predatory fish will see as food.
The second dead bait went out as I continued with the adjacent float set up. Whilst playing (and losing) an impressive double figured mirror carp on the light main line of the float set up, the dead bait rod came to life again. This resulted in a more impressive two and a quarter pound specimen of stripy fighter.
Despite fishing on until dark, little else happened on the dead bait. The rudd carried on patchily on the maggots but my confidence is rising for the next trip or two when conditions may be more favourable. Perch tend to be a shoal fish, unlike their predatory cousins, the pike. I feel the key to success here will be heavier ground baiting to hold the Ďbaití fish in place to appease the target ones.
Preoccupation can be achieved with all fish, with carp you have to feed correctly with the bait you intend them to ultimately take, but with perch you have to keep their interest alive by encouraging their intended victims to stay put.
Fishing anywhere, for any species, should be a learning curve and I think next article may feature a few more stripes, confidence is the key and Iím brimming.
Due to work commitments Iíll have to wait a week to have another go; I canít wait!
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