I had the day to do pretty much what I liked. Just a couple of days before Christmas, and with most things done already, presents bought and wrapped etc... I was free between dropping Jessica at Nursery at 7:30 and picking her up again at 4pm. So, as you can imagine, I had the rods in the car.
I left the Nursery and headed for Asda, there were a couple of things I had to take care of, as well as purchase some English Mustard to accompany the Game Pie I had for lunch. A quick stop at the tackle shop and soon I was on my way with a pint of finest extra wriggly maggots.
After my recent success angling for perch, including a 3lber on each of my last two trips, I couldn’t see myself angling for anything else so my bonnet was pointed in the direction of my favourite perch pool in the hope that nobody else had the same idea.
The car park area was thankfully devoid of cars when I arrived, but what with youngsters getting a lift to the lake, I didn’t count my chickens until I actually checked the coast was clear. I quickly unloaded the car and headed for the last swim where the pads are still there, although not for much longer I fear. I do like to fish to a feature, be it reeds, pads, weed or some overhanging bank-side greenery. Perch will like to lie in ambush and use the cover to their advantage.
The method for the day was, as the previous weekend, to use small live-baits. With half a dozen 2 inch roach in the bucket I commenced angling, giving the roach half an hour each before letting them go and trying another one. Nine times out of ten the small roach get ejected on the take, I can’t remember the last time I retrieved my hook-bait after a take, so like to think that the vast majority of the roach I use return unscathed.
The big pads seemed very quiet, no takes were forthcoming and at lunchtime I was beginning to wonder if the cold wind was putting them off, it was certainly doing a good job on me. The overcast sky, although made up with hurrying storm clouds, was telling me that there was a fish in it for me if I could stick it out. I tried half an hour either side of the reed beds, but still my float never submerged.
After the Game Pie and far too much English Mustard were consumed, I picked up my things and headed to the smaller pool. The pads have more life in them here so I felt there was enough cover for one of those big stripeys to be somewhat braver. I cast out and sat with my back to the wind willing my bobber to slide away and under. I pictured it moving left, nestling up snugly against the pads and then being pulled under, and then it happened for real.
I counted to three, any longer and you might get a deeply hooked fish, any sooner and it might not be in its mouth properly, and struck. I steered the fish away from the pads successfully at first, but then it charged towards another set which required a fair amount of pressure to avoid danger. Finally the fish was thrashing around in open water, I reached for the net and scooped up a wonderful fish, the fish I’d come for.
The words to describe the fish in my net haven’t been invented yet, the jubilation I felt was unreal, a perch well over 3lbs for sure and a fine looking specimen to boot. All my Christmases had come at once. I weighed the great fish and recorded a weight of 3lb 9oz making it 3 3lbers in 3 trips. A couple of self takes were next and as I gently held her in the margins she sat still for a moment then waved her tail from side to side and was gone.
I fished on with a great big smile for another hour and a half, slowly packed away and picked Jessica up from Nursery. On the way home she told me she’s had a lovely day and played for most of it, I followed by telling her all about mine, and although no doubt most of it fell on deaf ears, I think she could tell by the smile the smile on my face it was a little bit special.