December 2013 - Autumn gathering


From the water’s edge


The first Steves of the year are starting to arrive in the midlands now following the huge shoals of perch that gather on their winter grounds. Desperately effective predators these more southerly species of lure angler have an irritating habit of making the locals appear less clever than they thought they were. Today was no exception.

Steve Polley cast out and caught a perch (repeat at least 36 times if not 50).

“What are you catching those on then?”

“1 inch yellow kopyto, rarely use anything else these days.”

Talk about a predictable reply. We pressed on with 2” ones - and 3” hammers, and 4” daiwa somethings before giving it all up as a bad job and changing to 1” yellow baits as well.

Steve Polley cast out and caught a perch (got that?)

I have no idea what is happening around here. Perch were everywhere. It felt like we had a take on every cast, but of course we didn’t. Over the day though I bet we had one on half of the casts we made.

Once upon a time we caught very few perch and I am not talking about the seventies here, I am talking three or four years ago. I don’t understand at all. These aren’t all the tiny product of this or even last season’s spawnings.

Steve P in particular had a fair few around the pound mark and we all heard our rods groan to the tune of the misjudged swing-to-hand. You know the one, where you start lifting and the rod tip stays where it is before heaving a fish you would have, in more sensible moment netted, into your hand and sighing audibly as the pressure comes off.  

Steve Wade wore urban camo in an effort to kid the fish that he worked for fox and was therefore young an’ trendy. It worked perfectly and he caught everything he deserved for being so showy. Say what you like about red it makes a pretty picture, but I still think he would have caught more on a skateboard but there it is, you can’t help some people can you?

We caught from our banker spots, we caught from the ones we have never seen a fish in. We caught from the spots we only took them to because we wanted to find out what was there and didn’t fancy them ourselves.

I looked around again. Steve Polley cast out and caught a perch.

The wind started to howl and nag and blow our lines about making takes harder to detect, so the fish just pulled harder and hung on longer to make up for our inadequacies.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, I caught fish after fish, but for every one I caught, Pete had one too and Steve Polley had two or three. He wasn’t counting any more.

So what is going on? 1” baits make a huge difference I’m sure. It’s much harder for them, no matter how small they are, to take them without getting the hook too. Pete and I have a better idea of how to fish these waters than we did even two years ago. There are definitely a lot more good lures about than there were ten years ago, but better then two years ago? I’m not so sure about that. Maybe the water clarity is about right, maybe it’s milder than normal for the time of the year. Maybe its all of the above, but I am just grateful that we are able to enjoy the best perch fishing of our lives.

Today, my mantra that it’s all about location was still true, although just at the moment the correct location seems to be anywhere with water in it.

Despite the willingness of these perch to feed their heads off all morning, the best part of the day was catching up and fishing with the two Steves. Always fun, always a pleasure and we just hope that we can keep giving them fishing like this whenever they are in the mood to leave civilisation behind for the day.

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

artificial lite




journal 2013.



journal 2013.