With the rivers totally in the fields my choices for a December fishing trip were looking bleak. Other options included the lake district but with unprecedented flooding in Cumbria that option was out too. With only one option left it was off to the canal we went.
I decided on the Aire and Calder canal as it has a reputation for perch, lots and lots of them. Two and a half hours later and I was stood on the tow path ready to do battle with this mighty species. I really love perch!
I went for an ultra-light approach to maximise the fun from this hard fighting species. My kit was as follows:
- Rod – 7ft Lightporgy Light game 2-7g
- Reel – Shimano Rarium 1000
- Line – 8lb Super PE braid
- Lures – Vibro Shad and Pin Fry by ATproducts
I dropped this on the near side shelve at the end of my rod tip and proceeded to lightly tap the rod once I felt the weight hit the deck. Tap, tap, tap…instantly I felt the first perch inquiry. I struck and FISH ON!!! He was only small but what a cracking start!
Now the term ‘A fish a chuck’ is often used in fishing but that is exactly what happened for the next 2 hours. Every drop in resulted in a perch. None of them were large but it was great fun on the light tackle. I started to try different colours of Pin Fry but it made no difference I caught on them all…apart from Pearl Glow?? Maybe they don’t like white lures?
After some cracking sport with the perch on the drop shot I decided to try a different tactic in the hope of catching a better stamp of fish. Off came the drop shot and on went the 3g jighead and Vibro Shad combo. I moved to a different spot about 70m below a lock gate and began to cast about.
On my first cast I counted the lure down and was rewarded about 8 seconds later with a ‘donk’ as it hit the deck. I slowly turned the reel handle and hopped the lure back towards me. Three hops in and BANG!!! FISH ON!!! This one felt a lot better. My rod buckled over as Mr Perch made for some underwater sanctuary. I eased him towards me with a great deal of care, I didn’t want to lose him. The fish bobbed and weaved but I had him. He soon came into view and a big smile appeared on my face. What a fish! I quickly scooped him up in the net and took some pictures. What a stunner!
I quickly unhooked him and carefully returned him to the water. I was keen to cast again so didn’t waste much time. Out went the Vibro Shad to exactly the spot and I started the retrieve. BANG!!! FISH ON!!! This was amazing! The fish bobbed and weaved but just like the first I soon had him safely in the net. Another cracker!
With unhook and photo duties on turbo my lure was soon back out in the danger zone and BANG!!! It happened again FISH ON!!! They were queuing up for the Vibro Shad! I soon had lump number 3 on the bank and quickly photo’d and returned. This was amazing!
This unbelievable run of luck continued for a total of 10 casts each fish was in the 1.5lb to 2.5lb bracket and I was fast notching up the catch of the century. And then it happened…BANG!!! On my next cast everything went solid. This was no perch. My drag started to zing as the fish realised it was hooked. My light weight rod arched over but maintained control on the fish. Another powerful run saw 10m of line disappear from my reel. I pumped the rod and simultaneously wound line back onto the reel. I was making ground. The fish just bobbed about in about 8ft of water but he was tired. My arm began to ach but then a big flash of green from 2ft down told me I was close. I eased the fish upwards and guided it towards my waiting hand. With a well aimed grab he was mine and I could breath a sigh of relief. At nearly 8lb Mr Pike put a valiant scrap on the light gear. After a quick snap I returned him safely to the water. RESULT!!
I had a few more casts but the perch had disappeared, either that or I had caught them all! With time ticking away I started to walk back to the car but managed a few casts on the way. I can confirm the perch were still very keen to nail the Vibro Shad all be it smaller specimens than those memorable 10 casts!!