Perch in the Park

I’ve enjoyed a session with the lure kit this week, on a water I never expected to fish with artificial baits, in search of the humble perch…

I keep a close eye on social media, picking up snippets of information on local venues, to see where is fishing well, and looking for the unexpected. A brief post I noted told of some quality perch from a venue I’ve fished before, but only for carp, and in truth, I didn’t really know much about, as it’s thirty miles away. However, I had a few spare hours, so decided to check it out! I love my light lure fishing, and took only my Sonik Light-Tec rod and AVX reel, which is loaded with 6lb braid, to which I attached a length of 5lb fluorocarbon. At the sharp end, I have to admit that I’ve yet to find a better or sharper jig head than the Ecogear Shirasu, which I load with my current favourite lure, either the Rapture Slurp (in pink if you must know) or a small Fox Rage micro-fry which gives a trembling paddle tail action; perfect for perch!

The lake in question is an unassuming concrete bowl, a former Victorian boating lake, shallow, and quite weedy, so a tricky proposition for the lurist, and another reason I’d chosen a light jig head which wouldn’t sink in to the debris. It’s fringed with reeds, offering dark ambush points for predators, (and plenty of snags!) but aside from that, there isn’t much to make an angler consider perch… hence my surprise at the social media post which told of fish over 2lb, maybe bigger! I arrived early, and rather than wander looking for signs of fish, opted to start at the gateway, and work my way around the whole lake having a few casts every couple yards. Checking behind me for errant cyclists taking shortcuts to work, or kids returning to school, or dogs, or local miscreants that frequent such public places, I flicked out my first cast, and as the lure splashed in, quickly took a turn to tighten the braid and started a slow retrieve. WHAM! Within five seconds, I felt the solid hit of a nice fish, and the familiar head shaking thump of a decent perch. A couple of minutes later, and a feisty sergeant of just over a pound lay safely netted; a good start indeed!

I moved forward, casting to the limits of my tackle, and tried a variety of retrieves to stimulate a take. I had a couple of hours to play with, and quickly found that small, shoal perch were laying right up in the water, and that the lure was often taken on the drop almost instantly, but if it got through the waiting hordes, bigger fish often lurked beneath. After hitting around fifteen bites, all from small perch, I had another of around a pound, and then a third of similar size, both from a shallower area devoid of smaller fish, where I had to work a little bit harder. I lost a couple of fish too, snatching at small plucks of the lure, but as I worked my way around, I found that the bank exposed to the morning sun was almost completely fishless, and that almost every bite had come in patches of water steeped in shadows; something to note for others.

Most of the fish were interested in the paddle tail lure, but constantly swapping between that and the Rapture Slurp, I managed to keep bites coming with some regularity, the bigger fish often taking the pink favourite, the shoal fish hitting the fire tiger paddler, but most of all, I was having fun! I love short sessions like these, exploring new tactics on new venues is all part of building up the bigger picture, and just adds to the enjoyment. I was stopped a couple of times too, once by a lady walking with her elderly father, who told me about her carp fishing exploits, and by a young mum with a pushchair and toddler who wanted to look at the fish I’d just unhooked, then by a chap who had just joined the club, and wanted to know more about the lakes, so we chatted for almost thirty minutes…most enjoyable!

Eventually, I arrived at the restricted part of the lake, set aside for the model boat club, in which fishing is not allowed when the group are in attendance. It was clear of boaters, and I found a huge shoal of perch, catching a fish almost every cast for the next five minutes, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a gentleman approaching me; I’d forgotten it was Wednesday… model boat club meeting day! I wound in, keen to keep good relations with other lake users, and we started to chat about his boat, a fine tugboat, only marginally smaller than the last warship I served on! They really are a piece of engineering, and I was most impressed with the dedication and knowledge of this particular chap as he expounded about radio frequencies, battery lifespans, fibreglass mouldings and much more, and I have to admit, I quite enjoyed watching the boats moving across the water, especially the airboat, which had a remarkable turn of speed! In return, he and his friends asked about my lure fishing, the inhabitants of the lake, and the tactics to employed to tempt them, and I’d like to think that after our discussions, both sets of lake customers have a better appreciation of the other, which can only be good going forward! After a successful couple of hours, catching around fifty fish, some of them worthy of a picture, I turned for home to plan for my next session, but made a mental note to return soon…there has to be a monster or two in there somewhere, but who really cares if there isn’t, I really enjoyed the visit, and that is what it’s all about!


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