Perch are the usual winter fare but with our normal river haunts out of sorts, my friend Chris and I were struggling to find a venue. Another friend, Matt, had explored a canal in his own late season forays and found pockets of perch to over two pounds.
Chris joined him for a day and saw enough to warrant another visit. Of course, I had to go with him.
We arrived fairly early and knew from the outset that the day would be hard. The sun was already high and with no cloud cover the perch would be skulking. It didn’t matter. We put up our rods to a skylark soundtrack and after an hour Chris had a bite. He missed it, but minutes later my float drifted to a perfect looking spot. ‘It has to go under,’ I said, and immediately the float donked and slid away.
We fired up the kettle and drank tea and poised to move when Chris’ float dipped again. The tip nodded and for a few moments it looked as though Chris had hooked a big perch. Then it powered off as only a pike can and Chris grimaced his disappointment.
After getting a tooth in the thumb while unhooking the pike, I wandered downstream with a wad of tissue and a hope for perchy water. I tried a couple of spots, lost a couple of fish, landed a small pike of my own and met up with Chris again beside a moored boat.
A couple of perch came from the shadow of the stern before we made to move to another stretch. Matt had found a good spot about a mile to the north where two sallows stretched out from the far bank. It sounded too good to ignore.
The light was fading, but my float shot straight under and a perch of 1lb 15oz came to the net. Chris was next with a fish a couple of ounces smaller before my float sank once more. This was a better fish – 2lb 5oz – and we hoped for more, but in the fading light I managed to hook an overhanging branch and left my favourite float dangling from the tree.
We got it back. In the darkness. Somehow. But that’s a story that would sound too tall to tell….