My Quest For a 4lb Perch - Matthew Fernandez
After several blanks I finally got amongst the perch and found where they liked to feed at dusk, the prime time to catch a big old stripy! With minimal time at my disposal I'd get the odd afternoon after work and the odd day's holiday to use. I was lucky enough to catch a few different 3lb+ perch and lots of 2lb+ perch this winter along with a recapture of a 3lb 8oz perch. I was happy and confident with my approach and thought that it would just be a matter of getting to the lake when the conditions were bang right for a bite. Sadly, some of the times I did have available to fish the lake, it was either frozen or the conditions just weren't the greatest. With me working five days a week and having a busy family life I still made the most of the occasions I could fish and never decided against it just because of the weather as it's nice to get out no matter what, I know it's a cliche but I enjoy just being there. With the warmer weather on the rise and the perch really on the munch I knew it was time to try and increase my efforts by getting to the lake as often as possible. I'd been catching regularly from one particular water but my friend and I fancied a trip to another venue which we knew also held big perch. Sadly after the long drive we were greeted by a closed lake due to a match being held on the venue. We were burnt to say the least, but maybe it was a sign? We agreed to drive back to mine and car swap and I'd drive to the usual spot we had been fishing already. After dealing with traffic and feeling a little deflated we were both finally set-up. I fished my usual area where I'd been targeting the perch already, there are no real features, other than a good bit of depth and some marginal rushes. I opted to fish all three rods on light link ledger set ups giving minimal resistance, so if a perch would bite I'd have more chance of hooking the wary predators. I've made a few alterations to my set up along the way too, which seems to have paid dividends in my fishing. I removed the 1oz lead and attached a micro rig ring, tying on two shot, making the rig even lighter and give the rig even less resistance. By doing this I went from getting twitchy bites from the perch to full on confident takes, they were almost like carp takes at times! So, with my trusty rigs placed in three areas, all with king prawns attached and a few chopped and whole king prawns chucked around the rigs, I sat back and waited. I never get despondent if I don't have any takes up until dusk unless the weather is cloudy and dull. This particular session I was fishing on the end of a warm wind and there was a slight bit of cloud cover, so I was fairly confident in receiving a bite before dusk. The time had now crept to 4.30pm and the light levels had just started to fade - My first rod was away! Another confident take and I was into the first perch of the session. After a spirited fight a nice plump 2lb+ perch was in the net. Photos were taken and the perch was returned. By now my mate had received a few bites, but had sadly lost them. My rods remained motionless but the light levels were dropping even more, so I knew a bite could be on the card at any minute. The bobbin cracked the blank of my first rod again! Another savage bite! As soon as I lifted into this fish I knew it was a decent perch. For a few seconds I thought it could even be a carp. But the big perch rolled on the surface quite soon into the fight. This wasn't such a good thing though as I was now well aware of what was on the end my line. I played the perch in silence, with the beat of my heart getting louder and louder. This sergeant really did hold on. The fight on my .75 test curve rod was immense! Eventually, the leviathon graced my net. My mate immediately ran over and we both knew that it was a monster. A monster indeed. A real dream come true and a massive relief that my quest for a 4lb perch this winter was finally over! My mate took some lovely shots and I returned the perch with a big smile on my face. Sadly my friend lost a couple more fish and I landed another 2lb+ perch but I was over the moon with my result. A brilliant end to a fruitful winter perch angling. Now where are those tench and crucians at now Spring is upon us?!?