Friday, 18 September 2015

Warwickshire Avon – Perciform Pursuing and Pondering

The lackluster and lamentable summer we’ve had is coming to an end and as we head in to autumn with its colder mornings and nights and with the rain that comes with the change in season, it inevitably brings some nice colour to the water. With the change in water clarity Perch are starting to get on the hunt to fatten up and to see them through the winter. With the nights now drawing in the regular weekly after work sessions are coming to an end leaving only the weekend to fish, my bank time will become vastly reduced. The British summer time really does suit my lifestyle, the only saving grace is winter is my favourite season, at least I’ve got that to look forward to and I might have the odd Friday afternoon session to keep my vitamin D levels topped up and rickets at bay.

I’m probably a tad premature for this session but I’ve found one particular swim by chance a few years ago where as soon there is a tinge of colour to the water there are usually large Perch in residence. A tree upstream hinders the rivers flow and a reed riddled margin with an undercut bank leaves a lovely slack, it’s a classic Perch swim. If a link ledgered fat juicy lobworm cast in the heart of the swim isn’t taken by a stripey within seconds you know they ain’t there. In my experience though if they are not in the banker swim some roving around casting a bait in to likely looking areas they will eventually reveal themselves and a decent stamp of Perch well over the pound a half mark and beyond can be caught in quick succession. This stretch has chub and chublets on mass and as soon as the tip starts to move you know if it’s a Perch or a Chub just by the movement. I was hoping for the latter.

One problem though, once I’d seen the little terrors for an hour and munched my cheese, swede and carrot topped cottage pie, I would just about manage an hour’s rove around for a decent Sergeant before the bats appear and the Perch disappear so the second part of this trip I’d also brought a phosphorescent lure to cast in and around a large expanse of oxygenated water with peripheral slacks to hopefully tempt a Zander if it were in residence, it’s something I’d not tried before, maybe a gimmick but worth a go I reckon, especially as I was deadbaitless. I’d caught predators here in the past, albeit not a Zander. I will try for one come October, November time (I haven’t caught one on flowing water, just hundreds on the cut), this was more of a cobbled together exploratory session. Talking of Zander as I've mentioned it a few times, I’ve really missed fishing the cut, so much so, in the next closed season I’m planning to target local stretches again, some new, some familiar to try and catch a double figure fish. They are there I’ve not doubt and I’m sure I’d already hooked and lost one, it’s a species I’ve really taken to.

Now a phosphorescent lure needs charging up with a light source. The more UV wavelengths the light contains, the faster it will charge. Sunlight will charge the fastest, requiring only 5 minutes or so of exposure, a workshop type fluorescent lamp a little longer. It’s surprising just how much light is omitted too and once ‘charged’ it will glow for a considerable amount of time. Apparently the Zander has two types of eye cones. The biggest responsible for seeing yellow and orange, and the smaller ones registering green. Any Zander hunter can confirm the effectiveness of these colours and a bright green and yellow lure (firetiger) is the main lure I use. The cones in this predator are especially large and an additional upgrade of the Zander’s eyesight is a reflective guanine layer covering the inside of the eyeball. Thanks to this light passes through the cones twice strengthening the signal sent to the brain. That is why their eyes shine with a silvery glow even by the most delicate light. The eyes of some night-hunting mammals work in a similar way. Thanks to such eye construction, their eyesight is unbelievably sensitive. It can see perfectly when other fish, let alone humans, can’t see anything at all. Why else do you think they thrive in the gloomy and mucky waters of the canal I fish, they have one-upmanship on their fellow residents, easily the cut King as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway enough off the bumph…..

It was a disastrous start to the session, the recent rain had made the banks slippy and upon existing the banker swim where after half an hour all I’d caught were a couple of small chublets, my right foot gave way and I fell forward in comedy fashion, proper arse over tit. It must have looked like trying to keep up with a running machine but failing miserably. The impact area was covered in stinging nettles and I was covered in thick mud, not good. I can still feel them now. Oh and if anyone stumbles upon a black camera lens cover it’s mine. I tried a few more swims with just chub and greedy dace and when a jack pike took a small dace on the retrieve and buggered the swim I moved to the area of turbulent water where I intended to spend the last hour well in to dusk with the glowing lure.

The water was clearer here and a few chucks and retrieves of the lure I could see a couple of jack pike following it and swimming in and around the swim. They didn’t take it though and well in to dark (8.30pm) after countless casts I finally got a hook-up. It felt half decent too and I had to adjust the drag to give it more line. With my head torch on I finally got sight of the fish and yeap, fantastic a Zander and I could clearly see the lure stuck in its mouth, looked half decent too. It then starts to do the characteristic shaking of the head similar to try and lose the hook, and lose the hook it did, just as I was getting the net ready, Damn….. I stayed for another half an hour but sadly no more takers.

On the canals I fish I’ve often found lure fishing can be very much hit and miss with more lost fish than banked, the deadbait with bass hook a different story. Ok, a lost fish but as least I know they are here. Next time I’ll dump the lure rod and fish Barbel style watching the tip with a bass hook on a 15lb trace, on a running set-up. I’ll fish another couple of evenings after work and maybe I’ll wait till there is plenty of colour in the water and also fish an extended day time session. The Perch will have to wait too as it's still far too clear than I'd like. As Schwarzenegger would say, I’ll be back.


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