My first trip of the New Year saw me on a perch hunt at my favourite location armed with a couple of pints of maggots to catch some livebait and a tub of lobworms as back-up in case no little silver fish could be caught. Arriving before it was light i sat in my truck eagerly waiting for the sun to rise so i could set of to my chosen spot. I,ve fished this location quite a bit over the years and have had some cracking perch, fishing small free roaming livies in between the moored boats. My PB of 3lb 14oz came from here as well as more perch over 3lb than i can remember. In fact a few years ago it got to the point that if i hadn,t caught a perch over 3lb in the 2 hours i was there, bit of a naughty place to fish so only had a couple hours fishing before lock keeper was out of bed, then it was a poor session. Anyway, eventually it was light enough so off i trudged through the car park and up the steps to find the whole river frozen solid. OOPPSSS!!!!! Should of checked the weather forecast the night before i guess, but i honestly wouldn,t of thought that it had been cold enough to freeze the marina. Oh well, back in the truck i got, quick pitstop at Mcvomit for a breakfast meal and within 15 mins i was at another river that definately wasn,t frozen over.
I set about catching some livebait first in a little backwater which had them dippling all over the place and as usual i found it hard to stop fishing for them after i had my allotted dozen hookbaits in the bucket. I do enjoy catching livebait, i don,t why as in reality its usually pretty easy as they,re usually shoaled up tight so they compete for your maggots well and they don,t put much of a fight as they are only small. Any ways its good fun for half hour or so.
Over the next few hours i fished every likely perch holding spot that i came across and didn,t even get a sniff from a fish. As mentioned earlier it was pretty cold but i don,t think that would of made much difference to be honest. The river was only running slowly but was gin clear so maybe that was the reason for the difficult fishing. After a good mile and half walk i came to a nice weir-pool i occasionally fish, actually i don,t fish the pool itself as i,ve never done any good there, but i have had some success fish where the carrier returns to the main river just after the lock gate. A dozen trots through and it was looking like a blank here too until a slight miss-cast put my bait in an area i generally don,t fish, but i thought i,d leave it there anyways. The float had barely moved when it just disappeared without warning, so quick that it took me a second to figure out what had actually happened. A gentle strike and a heavy fish powered of upstream making my clutch release line, feeling like a good perch first of all i was being very careful playing it because i only had 6 lb line and there was a lot of snags around me. It didn,t take me too long to realise this wasn,t a monster perch but a nice pike as the fish changed direction and roared of towards the main river. After a good scrap for a few minutes i finally slipped the net under a pristine chunky pike of around the 8lb mark. After unhooking and slipping him back i released my livebait and took the long walk back to the truck and then off home for a well deserved cuppa.