Life has a habit of getting in the way of our pastime, before kids autonomously myself and Drakey my mate would be thinking of the weekends plans, where to fish, when and what for.
We'd message each other on a Friday evening knowing we'd be out somewhere either on the Saturday or Sunday together, as life rolls on and life commitments get greater our time fishing together has become more opportunistic.
Last weekend we exchanged a couple of messages like old times though on a whim and a plan to fish was formulated, it felt right to go for perch, we didn't want to travel to our normal spots though and fancied stomping a bit of inner city ground, I fired off a message to another mate Matt and a date and meeting place was set.
The session started slow, we started on bigger lures knowing the small perch would be spread out and active, we didn't want to get bogged down early session fishing for bites so started big, we started to rue that decision after about 30 minutes of no bites, not even the jack pike that usually crash the party were showing any signs of life so gradually we scaled down and Drakey switched to more subtle winter methods.
Drakey was first into a fish with a small chub from a slack, fishing a small floating worm on a Cheburashka rig (Known by it's shortened name 'Cheb' in the UK)
Another 30 minutes passed and nothing was doing, there were a few tiny perch plucking at my lure, I was fishing a Keitech Mono Spin Jig with a Live Impact 2" trailer slowly OTD, this lure will pick up pretty much anything from the 20cm wasps to specimen perch, I wasn't feeling the spot so we decided to move, at this time Matt arrived to join us and we started to walk and fish our way to where he'd located a few shoals of perch on previous sessions, when I say walk, we walked, he scooted.
One of the spots I stopped at had a jetty, we all know that structure like this is a firm favorite of predators and under the walkway there was a perfect square to drop my lure into, spots like this are dangerous as there's no room for the fish to run, it's smash and grab but you've got to try it and no sooner had I dropped my lure into it I was into a perch of about 30cm+, I bullied it to the surface to stop it running under the jetty but it rolled the hook as it tried to escape.
I dropped in again and took a much smaller fish much to the amusement of the lads, if you look closely you can see the segment I was fishing in the background.
As we moved up river Drakey started getting hits from small perch that were taking a liking to one of his ned rigged lures (name escapes me) he hooked one, played it in, I grabbed a quick photo for this blog and he slipped it back.
Next cast Drakey was straight into another perch which on it's way in was being ghosted by two much bigger fish, the fish was clearly wondering how he'd messed up that badly to be hoisted out of his swim whilst being dangled in front of two bigger fish, in it's panic it manage to slip the hook and quickly sunk away with the bigger fish following it back into the abyss.
Matt and Drakey quickly followed it back in whilst I scrambled for a rod to try and nick one of the fish for myself, Matt hit straight into a bigger fish which was followed almost instantly by the bigger one nailing Drakey, after a bit of a blunder my end shattering one of the tip and tilt net heads we netted both fish and rested them.
Whilst resting I wanted a piece of the action so cast out a TRD Bug on a cheb using the Major Craft Bait Finesse Custom, my heart raced as I too got a bite, only it proved to be a bit short lived as I think I caught the smallest perch of the shoal, another quick cast and hit into another perch, again, it was tiny compared to what the lads had just had.
Heres one of my fish, I was proud as punch as Drakey was using the rod (shown in my hand) that I played a big part in designing during my time with Major Craft, it's a bloody joy of a rod.
At this point the lads were ready for their photos so rods down, by the time we'd photo'd and released the shoal had gone and we were back to tougher fishing.
Time to switch it up
As we moved along the river I was searching, in hindsight probably working the lures bit to quickly for reaction bites mixing up my approach from soft plastics, Spinmad tail spinner lures, crankbaits and jerkbaits. It was the cranks that first hit into fish, a shallow running crank picking up a few perch, once I found the resonance the fish wanted from the crank it was a fish a cast until I thought it was time to switch the lure to keep the bites coming, this didn't work though and bites were absent on the other two cranks I tried, I tied back on the original lure and the bites then continued. Nothing in the lure per se, I just think it was what the small fish wanted on the day. (By resonance I'm referring to the vibration frequency of the lure which changes as you speed up or slow down your lure, with perch when searching for a reaction bite I often look to speed up and down until I find 'the' speed they want and once I've got that I try and replicate it)
Somewhere in between picking up perch I managed a small chub off of the side of the shoal of perch whilst the lads picked them up on other methods, the crank proving to be more efficient at this point as the fish were higher in the water.
Once we'd exhausted that shoal of fish we moved to another spot and were quickly into more, I opted for another method here and went for a Spinmad in a perch pattern, from the first cast I caught fish, it was obvious this shoal was smaller perch and we'd normally use ultra finesse gear for them but as we'd only got mid range kit I decided to just have fun with other lures.
For the rest of the session I rotated through two lures, a Spinmad and a tiny spinnerbait that I picked up from Bogdan and Adrian at The Wild Minnow, it's such an effective and efficient way to pick up shoaling fish with both lures catching on the drop.
That was pretty much it for this session, the light changed and the fish switched off around 3pm, we fished through until 5 before calling it a day, it was great being in and around a city street fishing, watching tourists and locals come and go and wildlife doing it's thing in perfect harmony. I love lure fishing at this time of year and although it wasn't a day of 'specimen' fish for me I was happy to see Matt and Drakey catch a better fish each, of course, I wouldn't be an angler if I wasn't envious but hats off to them for capitalizing on the bigger fish we saw - It was a proper adrenaline buzz for us all and I think we all come away from the session happy that we'd linked up.
I hope that you've enjoyed this blog, I've had a lot of nice comments recently and it's inspired me to get back to documenting individual sessions not only for mine but others benefit.
I am looking at ways at giving guest bloggers to this website moving forward so that friends can share their stories directly with an audience that prefer a longer read than a dry Instagram or Facebook post, watch this space or get in touch if you have any ideas.