It was a hot, humid day at the end of June this year and I decided to spend a day at Ruscombe pond with my good friend Luke Beard to try to develop my match skills. During the morning things were looking good as I was catching a succession of smaller perch and a few quality roach to almost a pound on waggler tackle and a size 18 hook, but things were getting slow as the sun started to get high in the sky.
I decided to have a look around the lake to see if I could spot some carp in the margins. About two swims along from mine was a lovely shady area where I thought I would be able to spot some carp.
As I peered into the clear water I noticed a pair of very large perch near the surface. I quickly returned to my swim to get some red maggots, which I fed the perch with for about two or three minutes. Eventually they went back down into the depths. About an hour later I decided to return to this swim with my 12-foot float rod, 2 pound main line and a crystal waggler float with no shots down the line what so ever. I quietly went over to the swim but as I approached I saw no sign of the perch but I decided to have a cast anyway. I placed the bait exactly where I saw the perch earlier but still no sign of them. After a couple of much smaller perch and a roach of about four to five ounces finally up came one of the huge perch just slowly cruising across the surface of the clear water. I quickly pulled my float out and presented my double red maggot on a size 16 hook about six inches from the perch’s nose. The perch slowly drifted closer to the bait and sucked in the maggots just as they were going out of sight. I counted to two and gave a slow sweep of the rod to make contact with the fish. It slowly moved away from me but within a matter of seconds I managed to get the fishes head up and got it safely into the landing net. Straight away I knew that it was my best ever perch so I bought it back to my swim, laid it on some soft grass, unhooked it with the aid of a disgorger and weighed it in at 1lb 8oz. I put the fish into my keep net. Later came Ian who weighed it in again this time at 1lb 9oz. At the end of the day my friend Luke who had also had a great day catching over 10lb of roach, perch, tench and a fantastic crucian carp took some photos of myself with the fish and I carefully slipped the fish back giving me a fantastic feeling.
It turned out to be a great day, in the end, I had over 13lb of roach and perch including a beautiful roach of just nudging a pound beating my previous best bag by over 3lb. I can't wait to get back there again and go for an even bigger perch using my newfound stalking approach.
What a cracking day!
Facts About Perch
A perch of only 4oz can be 7 years or more old although they have a life span of only 13 years growing to 20 inches (50cm) long.
J.Shayler landed the British record rod caught perch in 1985 at a weight of 5lb 9oz at a private water in Kent although there has been stories of perch last century which reached a weight of 7lb.
During the 60s and 70s a perch plague wiped out an estimated 99% of perch in Britain leaving behind just a very few immature fish and although the plague has now died down its effects are still being felt.
Perch spawn like many other fish between March and June when females lay up to 300,000 eggs over weedbeds, twigs, stones or any other solid object in the shallows.
Perch do best in clear still or slow flowing waters with a good head of small fish, as visibility is essential for their life styles because of the fact that they are sight feeders. Perch are not found in high, rocky streams or lakes, which are high in acidity.
When perch are young they remain in large schools although become much more solitary once they get bigger.
The main diet of a perch consists of smaller fish i.e. roach, bleak, minnows or even smaller perch although perch will quite happily take maggots and in particular a big juicy worm.
From Davey Meades