Just-Fish.co.uk - Andrew Kennedy's Angling Adventures

Hunting a 3lb Perch

By Andrew Kennedy

After a summer of mainly small-river barbel fishing and evening lure fishing stints, I can look back with satisfaction that I've had an above-average season and I've achieved a few new goals - not least of which my lure caught 15lb pike.  Throughout the Autumn and Winter, I shall be targeting mainly pike, along with other predators such as chub and perch.  So far the going has been good.  I've been fishing with my long-time fishing buddy, Matt, and between us we've already had 6 pike of between 14lb and 19lb this season.  Besides the pike, there have been numerous respectable perch captured.  We were both seeking our first 3lb-plus perch.  We were also both after our first fish over 2lb this season.  This is how we got on...

The first perch session of the Autumn began in late September, with Matt and I selecting swims with different features.  Mine was a shallow, still bay, with a couple of deeper holes and some overhanging trees on the far bank.  Matt's swim was a high-bank with shallows below, which gradually deepened off towards the far end of the swim.  It became apparent that perch were present in both swims, as we were both hooking small fish on worms and red maggots.
1lb Perch fish The set-ups were simple.  For me it was a maggot feeder, filled with red maggots, with a large dendrobaena or two on the hook.  For Matt, it was a small chubber-style float with a worm beneath it and a steady trickle of maggots fed by hand.

One of my brace of 1lb 1oz Perch

I managed to work through the smaller fish first and within a couple of hours I'd landed a brace of fish at 1lb 1oz each.  Hardly monsters, but they gave me a satisfying fight and they were closer to the size I was looking for.

It took Matt until after lunch time before he started to see bigger perch in his swim.  And these were MUCH bigger!  As Matt brought in a perch of 8 ounces or so, he noticed a much larger fish 'shadowing' behind it, as perch often do.  This perch was bigger than any he'd seen before and was estimated at over 3lbs.  Immediately, a worm was put back out, in the hope that the big perch would take hold.  A chublet beat the perch to Matt's worm and as he reeled the chub in, the perch attacked it!  In a moment of confusion, Matt didn't quite give the perch time to fully engulf the chub and the hook failed to set.  He cast-out the chub (which by now was beyond recovery) in the same spot and the perch took it again, but failed to be hooked.

2lb perch Seeing the potential of this, Matt started fishing for livebaits.  He caught a couple of small roach and chub, before switching back to perch fishing.  Before long, I was being called over to photograph a gorgeous 2lb 5oz perch with a taste for chub.  It wasn't the fish Matt had earlier lost, so we quickly realised the potential his peg had for big perch.

Matt displays his very predatory 2lb 5oz fish

The following week, we decided to attack the same swims, because I was convinced mine contained a '2' and Matt was quite confident his peg would yield a '3'.  The weather was much brighter than the previous session.  My peg was shaded by trees, whilst the morning sun beat straight down into Matt's swim, forcing him to fish for roach and dace for a while to pass the time.  I was determined to land a big perch on worms, so this time I came armed with some huge lobworms, instead of the dendrobaenas, while Matt was confident using livebaits after his success last time.

Perch My peg's early shade proved beneficial, as I caught the first decent perch of the day on floatfished lobworm.  When fishing 4lb line to a size 6 barbless hook, on a float rod, any perch over 10 ounces will give you a brilliant battle.  The main fear when battling perch is that the fish will throw the hook, because they shake their heads so much.  It's not uncommon to lose perch after perch due to this.  My fish, pictured here, weighed 1lb 7oz; is my biggest perch from this swim so far, but I'm convinced that after Christmas there will be a 2lb perch somewhere nearby.  Over the summer and autumn, I've now had more 1lb plus perch from here than I have from anywhere else.

Continuing my run of 1lb-plus Perch, here is one at 1lb 7oz.

Bites were fairly consistent for the rest of the day and I seemed to be getting a better average size with lobworms than with dendrobaenas.  I caught 2 perch which weighed 1lb 5oz each, which were my biggest for the remainder of the day.  I did, however manage a bonus pike, due to taking my lure rod with me.  I had taken a few perch lures (but only caught small fish) and a few larger lures for pike.  After seeing a fish strike in the margins, I clipped on my Salmo Pike crankbait, which is a very accurate pike imitation.  My theory was that surely only a huge pike would take this lure; this turned out not to be the case, as I landed a pike of around 4lb 8oz on the lure.

Perch fishNo 3 pounders yet, but perch such as this one at 1lb 5oz, are great fun on light tackle

Meanwhile, Matt was getting into the two-pound perch again; managing a fish which scaled exactly 2lbs.  Once again, a livebait did the business, although the 3 pounder we dream about has remained elusive to us both.  I shall continue to try for my first 2lb plus perch of the season.

Exactly 2lbs, what a stunning creature

I'll be back soon with tales of the start of my pike fishing campaign.  There are some great fish to come and you'll see that where angling photography is concerned, I'm not all talk!  Some of my proudest fishing photos to date will appear in my next article...

Until then, tight lines.

Andrew Kennedy.

Further information about the history, life cycle and biology of Perca fluviatilis - the European Perch - can be found on Wikipedia here: European Perch Wiki
And on Fishbase here: European Perch fish on Fishbase.org.

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