Initially I had intended to head out and fish around 7 am; first light. However, with my alarm failing (me ignoring the alarm) that was pushed back to 10 am. I arrived at the lake and the first thing I noticed was a never before stream flowing in from one side, the lake was up about 2 foot and ready to burst its banks after the recent flooding problems.
Being strong headed (and car less having been dropped off at the lake) I decided to fish on with the hope that a Perch or two might be hungry and fall to my traps. The lake was heavily coloured and debris strewn with several branches having been blown in after the stormy weather he have had in recent days and weeks.
My bait of choice for Perch normally consists of two; Prawn and lob worms, I decided to try one bait on each rod and sit it out. My first hook-bait, a King Prawn was flicked out a mere foot from the bank as it dropped about 6 foot just in front of me. Once the float had settled I grabbed about 6 small prawns and bunch of dendra worms and chopped them up finely and carefully dropped this around my float. My second baited rod, this time with lobworm was set up on a buzzer and was cast to my left and once again surrounded with a similar concoction of loose offerings.
Perhaps 1 hour went by before there was any movement, then my float slowly disappeared and... I had hooked a cray-fish. This unfortunately continued sporadically for about 2 hours. In this time my Fiance's father drove across and sat with me. Being a hero, he brought me some much needed fuel in the form of sausage, bacon and egg sandwiches. Fishing was tough and only witnessed me hook and loose several cray-fish.
At this point I was half tempted to call it a day as there was a cold westerly breeze blowing in my face and fishing began to look rather bleak. However, my father called and mentioned he was going to come across and join me for a spot of fishing so I decided to sit it out in the hope that the Perch would eventually locate my hook baits.
My father arrived and I decided I should re-cast my feeder rod to the middle of the lake as it would be slightly warmer in the deeper drop-offs. I sprayed out some chopped prawn and this time I mounted a King-Prawn on a hair rig, It was perhaps 10 minutes before my alarm went off and I struck into what was almost certainly a Perch, thud thud then nothing. I can only guess that the fish sucked up the Prawn on the hair and not the hook? Within seconds my father was into a fish and like me lost it in quick succession. There are two ways of looking at this scenario. Painful that a fish was lost but there was also a positive sign that the fish were perhaps beginning too feed...
It was I would say only a further 10 minutes before a second bite was to come to one of my rods, the float dipped and shot away. My centrepin clicked and I struck. "surely a Perch" I exclaimed. A spiny erect dorsal-fin shot out of the water and back down again, my target species was hooked but would I land it? My gillie for the day joined me and held the my landing net in the water, after a bit of persuasion I eased the beautiful Perch over my landing net.
Not a bad way to christen my new reel...
2lb of beautiful winter Perch
It was an absolute beauty of a fish and absolutely perfect in every sense of the word, if it wasn't December I would say it was spawn-bound as it seemed very chunky1 After a couple of pics and hand shake from my old man I released this beautiful Perch back into the lake to fight another day. To be honest that made my sessions and I considered it a success already but there was still another 2 hours of fishing time so we got our baits back in the water.
I recast my float back into the same spot and also recast my feeder rod this time about 1 foot from the bank to the left of me and dropped another handful of loose feed. My Dad noticed a boil in the water in the reed beds, then some spraying of fish. A sure sign that Perch were hunting and looking for their next meal. No sooner had he dropped a prawn amongst the commotion than the float disappeared and he hooked into a Perch. It only took a matter of moments and we had it in the landing net, this time it was smaller and 1lb 6oz but perfectly proportioned; long but with space to fill out in February/March time.
1lb 6oz Perch for the old man...
We both had a smile on our faces as most people would take one look at the lake, take into account the cold, windy weather and decide to stay in the warmth of their home. It was Christmas Eve after all. We sat it out for another hour, I recast my feeder rod once again and almost instantly the rod tip went round. I struck and once again felt the all-telling head shake of a specimen Perch. This fish fought a little harder and took a time to persuade it to come to the surface, it shot down again and gave my father an opportunity to bring in his pole and come across and act as my gillie for a second occasion for the session. This fish looked a little longer but not quite as thick set but beautiful all the same.
Yet another beautiful winter Perch
Now I really was in Perch heaven, two very nice Perch, two early Christmas presents and I was over the moon. The last half an hour of fishing went by in a blur and we packed up our gear with broad grins on our faces.
With a week still to go in the Christmas Holidays no doubt I will head back to my local lake and perhaps catch that monster that I feel is in there.