The first is soon told. We set off for a Kent gravel pit, in the campervan, with loads of bait aboard, hopes of a decent perch or two, and looking forward to a couple of days appreciating the wildlife and ambience associated with that venue.
Approaching Canterbury the clutch pedal failed to respond – pressed down, it stayed down. Obviously a failure of the clutch’s hydraulic system. Called out the breakdown service who sent an “engineer” in a van. (just an aside - there are plenty of half-baked grease monkeys in the motor trade masquerading as “engineers”) Anyway, this “engineer” proceeded to spray everything he thought relevant with WD40 – to no avail. We were not amused to be told it was a common problem which even affected his own Golf - which hardly helped our confidence in his ability
So back home on a recovery truck. Large bill to put it right – it was the slave cylinder, positioned in a most difficult place that was leaking. (and the leak was difficult to detect under a coating of WD40)
Anyway last week, van repaired, bait and hopes replenished, off on the second trip. Contrary to the weather forecast, we were met with a NW gale blowing at the southern shore I wanted to fish. I usually float fish worm here, but the wind made that impracticable unless I hiked half a mile round to the other side (my arthritic knee said “No!”) Anyway, isn’t facing the wind supposed to be a Good Thing ?
So , I elected to fish across a large hole, 13 ft deep in the middle, and fish the far shelf where it was about 6 ft deep. It needed a cast of about fifty yards. I decided the bait should not lie on the bottom A sliding float with a running paternoster was my choice, so that the bait was suspended about a foot above the bottom (which was covered with weed as my weight bore witness on each retrieve) There followed some thought on the geometry of the rig. A fifty yard cast. The rod tip two foot above the surface, the lead eight feet below, the bait a foot higher. A sliding Polaris float to steepen the angle of line from surfaceto lead. By how much ? Hmm, that needed some guesswork, but I tried the lead on a five-foot running link, with a short hook length of about 9 inches. #6 hook loaded with as many dendroboenas as I could cram on, and out it went. Out went a second identical rig, Gave each about fifteen minutes and leapfrogged the two baits along the opposite side of the deep hole.
About the third cast, got a bite – a “teenage” perch of a pound or so. Then it was a-bite-a-chuck for half an hour (4.30 to 5 pm) which produced another “teenage” perch, two tiddlers and one of 2-8. This was a remarkable colour - all yellow, no stripes. In fact when it rolled at the surface, and I got a glimpse in the waves that half concealed it, I thought “small tench ?? - it isn’t fighting like a tench” but of course it was this perch. No further bites until I packed up for the night, no matter how much I searched. Next morning, started with the same tactics – nothing until 9.30 am, then half a dozen “teenagers” and another “yellow” perch – not the same one, but smaller at 2-1.all within about 40 minutes Apart from a jack that attacked the worms on the retrieve and bit me off - that was it for the day. The third day I had a few hours before leaving at lunchtime – the wind had veered to North and only two tiddlers wanted my worms.
Thus all the sizeable fish were concentrated into 30 minutes on the first evening and forty minutes the next morning – just a confirmation of the roving and shoaling nature of gravel-pit perch.
What was intriguing was the catching of two yellow perch. All the others were normal stripey perch, from the same swim in the same time intervals. The first “yellow”was the first such coloration I had heard of, let alone caught - perhaps it was not too remarkable to catch another the next day, obviously the same cohort, probably from the same spawning. Any other catchers of stripeless yellow perch out there ?
Took pictures, and will try to add them as soon as possible