Featured on Fisherman's Blues - Talksport2
It was a few weeks back when I finally got a chance to spend some time by the bank over the weekend, which is a rare occurrence for me. I had made plans to go fishing with a couple of buddies, Ben and Dan.
Ben is someone I have been fishing with for many years, but we have been finding it difficult to coordinate a session lately. On the other hand, Dan is a recent acquaintance of mine who has some experience with predator fishing.
Dan and I met up and loaded our fishing gear into the car. We drove to a stretch of water where I was confident we could catch a few perch, and perhaps even a larger fish. When we arrived, Ben was already there, eagerly waiting for us. We quickly unloaded our gear and set off to begin our fishing adventure.
I must admit I was unsure of what to expect. It had been quite some time since I had last gone after perch, as I had been mainly focusing on catching pike. I was feeling apprehensive about my lack of knowledge regarding where the perch might be hiding. To overcome this, we decided to explore a new area along the river where my friend Ben had previously spotted a huge shoal of bait fish. This felt like a promising starting point, especially since Ben had also mentioned seeing some large perch during a previous visit.
First cast, first blood and a tangled mess
Within moments of the first cast, both Ben and I caught some perch. Although they weren’t anything notable, it was enough to confirm that we were fishing correctly and that there were perch in the area. Meanwhile, Dan had somehow managed to get his line tangled up, which took him about 10 minutes to sort out. By the time he finally threw his first lure, we had already moved a little further down the river.
It always concerns me when I take someone to a fishing spot that I know to be productive, but they struggle to catch anything. Despite our best efforts to help them, they still struggle while we catch fish with clenched teeth.
Sharing in Success
After approximately 40 minutes, I called out to Dan and showed him my fishing technique and the spot where I found a group of perch. During this particular fishing session, I utilised a drop shot rig alternating lures and baits, which the perch appeared to be attracted to. I handed my fishing rod to Dan, allowing him to catch a few fish. It is always gratifying to see others succeed, or at the very least, observe their confidence grow, usually manifested in a smile and eagerness to cast again.
After Dan caught about a dozen perch, we continued exploring. Since we all had caught fish, there was no pressure. We worked our way down the river, taking turns to fish at different spots. Eventually, we arrived at a section of the river that I knew had perch all year round. I set up on the opposite bank while Dan and Ben remained on the familiar side. We all fished this deeper stretch and quickly caught a lot of perch.
These fish were a bit on the smaller side, and I must admit, it was a little underwhelming. However, it was still better than coming up empty-handed and it made for a fun social outing. After about an hour or so, Ben and Dan decided to head back to where we had some success earlier in the day. I opted to stay put, having just caught a decent perch weighing in at around one and a half pounds. It was the best catch of the day so far, and I was keen to see what other surprises might be lurking in the water.
The commotion eventually subsided, and I basked in the warm autumnal sun while observing a man who inexplicably chose to set up his spot directly across from me. As I sat there, a text message came through on my phone.
A Well-Deserved NEw PB!
I opened WhatsApp to see a picture of a huge perch staring back at me. I was thrilled for Ben, as I knew he had been putting in a lot of effort to locate and catch these elusive fish. He had been moving from one spot to another over the past week, and it had paid off. So, I quickly gathered my fishing gear and headed up the river to congratulate him on his impressive catch.
As soon as I arrived, I ran into Dan who immediately asked, “Did you see my fish?” I told him I hadn’t, but I had seen Ben’s perch. Dan responded, “That’s the one! I caught it and it’s my new personal best – 2lb 6oz.”
I was so eager to read the message and head up the river that I didn’t even bother to notice whose face was holding the fish in the picture. It turned out to be Dan’s, but it was sent from Ben’s phone. I thought it was brilliant, but I felt a bit sorry for Ben. Nevertheless, he was just as excited as I was to see Dan’s accomplishment. Dan’s confidence was boosted tremendously, and he continued to fish with even more zeal.
I decided to stay upriver with Dan and Ben. They had moved a bit further up, so I continued to fish in the same area. Dan caught a perch using a Fox Slick Shad, so I decided to try a different approach and used a worm as bait. I hoped that this presentation might attract any remaining fish in the area. There was no guarantee of success, but I knew there were fish in the vicinity.
An Equally Impressive Perch!
As I was fishing, I felt a bump on the rod and then the line went slack. I gave it a little wiggle and drew the line up ever so slowly. Suddenly, I felt another bump, but still was unable to catch anything. I assumed it was a small perch struggling to get the bait in its mouth. I looked into the river and could make out my bait, and right behind it were two big perch! Startled, they swam away as I lifted the rig. Frustrated, I cast the line to the opposite bank, knowing that I had missed my chance.
Within seconds of casting my line, there was a big bang and I knew I had caught a fish. As soon as I felt the tug, I realised it was a perch. Since there were many snags in the area, I called Ben over to help me net the fish without giving it any unnecessary line. After a few moments, Ben opened the net and together we managed to scoop up a beautiful 2lb 6oz perch – the same weight as Dan’s fish from earlier!
We measured and weighed the fish, noting its dorsal and markings to determine whether it was the same perch we had caught earlier or a new one. It looked different to us, so we took the obligatory photo before releasing it back into the water to rest.
Time Was Up
It had been a fantastic session, but it was time to head back home. By then, it was already early afternoon, and everyone had to get back to their own lives. During the car ride back, all of us were excitedly reflecting on what had happened. I was overjoyed that Dan was able to catch a fish, let alone one that was a new personal best for him. He was still on cloud nine. After dropping him off, I made my way back home, thinking about when I would be able to go out and fish again.