A winter tinca

The venue has a habit of producing some very nice perch that have grown big on a plentiful diet of little roach and rudd, and with no pike in the water, the perch have thrived.

I had an enjoyable session recently on a local day ticket stillwater that falls under the ‘commercial fishery’ category. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I must admit I do enjoy the odd session on such venues, particularly if there is a healthy, mixed stock of fish (not just starving carp) and they aren’t too busy.

The venue has a habit of producing some very nice perch that have grown big on a plentiful diet of little roach and rudd, and with no pike in the water, the perch have thrived. My first visit in January produced three good perch up to a pound and five ounces , while another angler next to me winkled out a beauty of two pounds and six ounces.

I returned just after the latest bout of snowy conditions to hit the UK had abated. The weather had improved steadily over the previous few days and I felt a few fish would be a real possibility.

Arriving to find a rather blustery wind blowing into the area I wanted to fish meant float fishing would prove tricky. I set up a small maggot feeder and started the process of flicking it out regularly to a deeper area 30 yards out, building up a bed of bait. Bites didn’t take long to arrive and before lunch I’d landed a succession of roach, skimmers, bream and a lovely three pound tench.

Setting up a straight lead rod on a bite alarm with a lob as bait meant I could concentrate on the quiver with the second rod on the alarm ‘fishing itself’. By mid afternoon I still hadn’t had any perch on my margin rod, and the bites were becoming less frequent on the maggot feeder. Then, a classic slow, steady pull on the bobbin accompanied by a series of bleeps on the bite alarm alerted me to the fact a fish had picked up my lobworm bait. The solid resistance, coupled with some heavy head shaking told me my target species had picked up the bait. Could it finally be an elusive two pound perch? I wasn’t to find out. Despite playing the fish cautiously for a good minute, the dreaded hook pull happened just as I was making some headway. I lost another fish on the feeder rod that didn’t feel quite so ‘perchy’ but did feel very heavy. Another chunky tench, then a bizarre brown goldfish fantail of over two pounds put in an appearance before I called it a day.

To quote Arnie, I’ll be back!

Slim tench
Lake perch
A chunky perch.