As I still had a box full of red maggots and some lobs from my last trip to the Avon I decided to have a few hours on a relatively local pond. With this bait combination, Perch seemed the obvious target. As Jeff has said on his blog, some of our colleagues have been making the capture of 2 and even 3lbs fish seem the norm!
It's only about 12 miles to a small 2-pond fishery where the owner was supposed to have caught a 6lbs fish a couple of years ago but was unable to claim the record! I'd never even seen the place let alone fished it but I thought, "What the hell".
When I pulled into the car park, I was surprised how small it was. Could such a place really hold perch of mind-bogling proportions? There were only 3 others fishing, 2 on poles the other livebaiting for the perch. I chatted with him and was told that, yes there were some nice fish there but he'd never had them over 2.5lbs. It's a well-maintained fishery with the platforms having a reasonable amount of cover - at least when it grows! Also, due to the lack of numbers fishing I could chose a spot which had reasonable reed cover and the option of fishing towards a bigger platform which, I was told, was a haven for some of the bigger fish.
As it was stocked with a variety of species I opted for a feeder rod cast into one of the deeper holes - about 14' - with 2 small Source boilies as well as my float-fished lob targetting the perch. I sprayed red maggots fairly frequently towards the large platform where the margin shelf started to fall away. Straight away I started to get indications but even waiting for a second or two for the float to sink below the surface I was unable to hit any. The lob always came back pristine! I think the interest was fom some of the smaller fish, maybe not even perch.
After a few hours I managed 2 smallish perch of around 1lb and then had one of those moments when you're glad that no one was around to see. I was intent on watching the float when I felt something hitting my bum! I realised that I'd forgotten to engage the baitrunner on the boilie rod and whatever was on the other end was pivotting the rod on the rest and the handle was knocking on my backside. Bait alarms? Huh, I spit on them. I will now start using the HSA type (handle striking arse). A spirited silverish common of about 5lbs was the culprit.
I noticed the 2 guys pole fishing had managed a succession of small goldfish, tench, skimmers and roach but no monster perch. As it started to get towards dusk, the sun which had been out for most of the afternoon went below the trees and the wind made a better ripple which encouraged me to stay on. I was rapidly running out of maggots as I'd been spraying them at 10 minute intervals all afternoon. I crept around the reedbed and hand-fed the last of them around my float. While drinking my last cup of coffee - everything was running out - the float dipped once and went under. A stronger pull back raised my hopes but it turned out to be a well fat (female?) of 1lbs 9oz. Sorry about the quality of the pic but I hadn't brought my camera and had to make do with my phone.