Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

December 2015 - Healthy movements

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One or two of our favourite, most reliable areas for big perch have faded away before our eyes over the course of the last two seasons. I can think of several possible reasons for this. Dredging would do it, bankside clearance could and a lack of suitable baitfish certainly would. The most likely cause in my opinion however, is lure fishing pressure.

I’ve explained why I believe that lure angling pressure kills the fishing often enough and I don't intend to go there again today, but other factors will most likely increase its effect. Today's venue has a lot of obvious features that have always made it a productive one. Locks, moorings, structure, wide water and even until a year or two back, a sewage outfall. Being situated next to a busy road, recommended to all and sundry by a local tackle dealer and appearing in at least one youtube video with its location mentioned has almost certainly had an adverse effect on results.

Over the last eighteen months, catches have diminished dramatically, and we probably wouldn't have gone there at all today if we hadn't spotted a feature on the map, a mile further up the towpath, that looked interesting but which we had never previously fished.

 

It is still mild around here and today was no exception, however it was windy and to be honest we struggled. An hour spent along our previously productive bank was utterly unproductive, not a tickle. We set off for the untried feature further on but even here, it was another full hour before I had the first take. My tan pearl shad was just dropping down the far side of the boat channel when I felt certain that it had been taken. The wind was making bite detection a trial, but there was a definite flick on the tip and I lifted into a nice perch of around a pound.

I had been fishing the long line all morning, trying and failing to catch by searching as much water as possible. There hadn’t been, and still weren't, any nearside features that would suggest that dibbling under a short line would be worthwhile but it was time for a change, so I swapped lines and started working the inside line. At first nothing happened, but realising that close in it was a bit too shallow given how clean the water was, I gradually began worked the bait further out until the lure was in what I figured would be the nearside of the boat channel.

My retrieve was slow, slight even. I picked the lure up about six to ten inches and put it back down a few inches away. Usually I would hold the lure still a few inches above the mud and leaves coating the bottom. It was here that the takes came. The first was from a nice fish of 1-11. The second was my best of the day at 2-6. I had a third at around the pound and then just as Pete was losing hope he lifted into a lovely perch of just two pounds.

One or two small fish aside, that was it. The boats started, the pub was open, backs were complaining. We left, and we left re-invigorated, because these fish were not just well-earned, but caught in a nondescript area. This is not likely to be an area that naturally draws concentrated fishing by casual anglers. It was a long walk with nothing to make it stand out and has excited us about the potential of this and other areas that aren't obvious to those who, as we have so often in the past, gravitate to obvious features. It might just be that those fish that have been so heavily pressured in the obvious places have simply moved to areas where they are not so easily found. I suspect that with the exponential growth of lure fishing, these are the kind of places that we will be fishing a lot more. Because the pressure on the fish in these areas is inevitably more diluted, our kind of precise, careful pole fishing might just pay off and as long as it puts up a fish or two like these occasionally, we will be very happy.
 

 

At last things were looking better, especially as the next three casts provoked hits from two small zander. Pete was struggling to muster any interest, but soon afterwards, he nicked out a couple of small perch dibbling down the inside line. Cue the first boat of the day, which chugged up to the only spot wide enough to turn around, just where we were fishing, and made a right meal of doing so. That killed it stone dead.

I don't think either of us could believe how difficult we were finding things, after all, for most of the time, the water was clean, boats were few and it was mild. Only the wind was making bite detection difficult, if indeed we were getting bites at all. We persevered, but in the end, we decided to move back to an area that was very sheltered from the wind. Woods on both sides were keeping the wind at bay, but frankly apart from that, there was nothing to make it stand out from anywhere else.

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