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19th July 2012: Sergeants Ball

Posted by AddictedToScopex , 20 July 2012 · 4,460 views

Well yesterday saw me with a day off work so what else to do but get myself out of the house and do some fishing. With the rivers still being so high I decided they were going to be a bit of a write off. I decided (as is becoming more and more common) to reach for the lure fishing gear.

The target for the day was going to be the perch on a stretch of canal that I have been trying to master for a while now. It has produced some large pike for me and almost never results in a blank. It is a great stretch and one that receives relatively little angling pressure. It both surprises me and delights me that canals dont get the attention they deserve by anglers these days. This stretch is really stuffed with fish and standing on one of the bridges it is possible to see all manner of fish rolling and cruising and various predators smashing into shoals of roach or gudgeon. Its a lovely place to be particularly at sunset.

Anyway back to the fishing. I arrived at the cut at about 2pm with the intention to simply catch a few perch if possible and then switch to the pike gear for the last hour or so. I tackled up using one of my own homemade traces (the first I have made for myself) and attached my go to perch plug. A 'devils own' sardine pattern. It is a long and thin plug about 7cm in length with two very small sets of ultra sharp trebles on. It is not a deep diver and will run at whatever depth I choose. I made a start by having a few chucks around the first bridge but nothing was doing. I was however seeing a lot of dimpling and smaller fish moving around so I had high hopes for the perch being active. I decided to waste no time and make my way to the first lock.

Upon arriving at the first lock the sight that met me was staggering. As I crept up to look into the lock I saw masses of perch going mental. They were cruising in groups and hammering each other every couple of minutes or so. I dropped my lure in the middle of a group of them and they immediately turned and smashed straight into the lure one at a time until one engulfed it totally and ran off. It was a nice fight on the soft rod and I lifted the perch out and onto the soft grass. It wasnt a large fish but it gave a good account of itself and had nice colourings:

From here on in the action was absolutely frantic. Everytime the lure hit the surface it would be hounded by a group of perch. It was like they hadnt fed for days. I got hit after hit but only a few resulted in hookups and a few fish were lost. After a while I decided to sit and watch as they nailed each other and any other smal fish that was foolish enough to cross their paths.

I decided it was time to try a new lure. It was one I had just got from AGM but hadn't yet tried out. It was a small fat roach pattern that was very shiny and put out a great flash and a very fast wobble. The perfect perch lure in my eyes. I put it on and chucked it in and again it was nailed immediately. A better fish this time.

I couldnt believe how the fish were feeding today. My guess is that the lack of boats (being midweek) had meant that not many prey fish were left in the lock and so the perch were getting very hungry. I think I will have another midweek session and try to prove the theory.

I continued getting hammered by the perch and I was loving every minute. It was a real red letter day in terms of perch fishing with lures for me. I decided that as the perch were really having it I would try a bait that I had very little confidence in to see what happened. I attached a small rubber shad with a 10g jig head on it. I have had very little success on these in the past. I lowered it into the water where it got the attention of a few smaller perch. A couple took a nip at the tail and then sank into the depths. I decided to chuck it in at the opposite side of the lock and let it flutter back to me. As I did so it was absolutely hammered from the side by a huge perch. I dont like to speculate sizes but I would have put it at 2.5lbs+. It hooked itself and shot off on an escape bid. One that sadly proved successful. The hook pulled and I felt deflated. What a fish. It was a sight to behold as it nailed the lure. I decided to have another go. I dropped it in and let it flutter back past the detritus on top of the water at the lock gate. Amazingly it was nailed again. This fish was a real fighter. It went berserk and shot off across the lock. I knew it was a good fish again. I lowered the net down and scooped it up. When I lifted it up my eyes lit up. No matter how many times I catch a fish it still gives me that boyhood excitement. To catch a fish like this made my heart pound. It was definetly a pb perch. I reach for the scales immediately on to realise the worst. I had left them at home. I was gutted. I will never know how big that perch was but it looked huge in the flesh. The pictures just dont do justice to the true size of the thing. I know it was clear of the 2lb mark but I wish I knew by how much. It was around two hands long (about 12-14") and pretty wide.

After this fish I was really spurred on. I returned the fish and went to drop the lure in again. As I did so I noticed two boats approaching the lock. My heart sank. This would surely put the fish down and release some from the lock. My captive audience would be no more. I resigned to that fact and picked my gear up and walked down to the lock they had just come from to have a dabble while they messed about at the good one. I sat down and had a few casts. I had an instant take that resulted in a hook pull folled by another two. This was to signal the change in luck. On one occasion a perch missed the lure only for a 3lb(ish) chub to come up from the depths to investigate. I was so surprised that I missed the take completely.

I didnt get any fish out of this lock and decided after 20 minutes to walk back the previous lock. I planned to fish it for a further ten minutes before breaking out the big pike spinners. I arrived to see a couple of perch still left patrolling the edges. I dropped the lure in a few times and had another small perch that lifted my spirits again. I had another few follows and then the heavens opened. My heart sank. Had it not rained who knows how many perch and pike I could have picked up that day. It was as thought the fishing gods were saying ok enough is enough youve had your fun. It was a great few hours and I felt pretty lucky to have seen the perch in such a fedding frenzy. The whole canal seemed alive with life and I cant wait to get back down there.

As I trudged off down the tow path back to the car I had a smile to myself and started making plans for next time.

The Flying Tench
Jul 20 2012 10:19 PM
Great blog, ATS. Thanks!
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The Flying Tench
Jul 20 2012 10:25 PM
Out of interest, how clouded was the canal? My local Kennet and Avon is great for perch, but the trouble in the summer for lure fishing is that it is very clouded as a result of the boats. I haven't tried lure fishing very often in those conditions, but the few times I have it hasn't been successful.
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Jan 06 2013 01:28 AM
Out of interest, how clouded was the canal? My local Kennet and Avon is great for perch, but the trouble in the summer for lure fishing is that it is very clouded as a result of the boats. I haven't tried lure fishing very often in those conditions, but the few times I have it hasn't been successful.

Apologies for the delayed response Tench. Only just seen your comments. The canal in summer is often clouded as a result of all the boats and visibility I would estimate to be around 1 foot deep before you would lose sight of the braid. In those conditions I often use a lure with a rattle or strong motion but in this case I could see the perch in the upper layers (1-2 foot max) so knew I could rely on a sight lure. In winter it is very cloudy due to rains and perch are a non started. I still catch pike there in winter even when cloudy but I usually go for a spinner in these conditions as the vibration is powerful with them and they can be fished close to the bottom easily where the pike are lying up without picking up to much debri which plugs can.


I actually prefer cloudy conditions as it doesnt allow the fish to see too much of the lure or line ahead of the lure. I certainly wouldnt be put off by it by any means. I have had a harder time in totally clear conditions (which are very rare up here lol). The only thing that stops me lure fishing is high wind with cloudy water conditions as it makes it hard to provide either sight or sound with the lure so you are relying on pulling it straight past the nose of the fish really. Feel free to pm me if you want to for anything.

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