29/09/2020 - A dearth of perch

Whilst the leaves haven't started falling in earnest, autumn seems to be well and truly upon us now. Green is slowly giving way to a pallette of yellows and oranges and everything just looks a bit brown and crispy around the edges. On my ritual 5 kilometre lap of self-punishment, my breath came out in clouds as I ran through cold hollows yet to be touched by the morning sun. However, by lunchtime it was back to t-shirt weather and just too nice to be trapped in front of the laptop, particularly given the wet weather that was forecast for the rest of the week. I also still had the best part of half a pint of maggots in the newly-acquired drinks (bait!) fridge, which was more than enough for what I had in mind. By mid-afternoon I'd finished all my work tasks for the day, so headed out of the door to a stretch of the River Soar that has produced some decent perch for me in the past - not monsters, but I've generally come away with at least one 2lb+ each session. Arriving at the venue I found two "yoofs" sat in the swim downstream of the spot I had in mind, but they were happy enough to let me drop in above them. 

Soon set about building up the swim, not only to get a few baits in the bucket, but also to attract any nearby predators. I'd been suffering from an unexplained, niggling soreness in my right shoulder over the last few days and the reason possibly became apparent when I flicked the stick float out underarm and then held the rod high to guide it down the run - too much trotting can give you RSI! Fortunately I was using my 11 foot Drennan Ultralite on this occasion, rather than my much heavier 13 foot outfit. 

Now discontinued, I'd been kicking myself that I'd also not invested in a longer Ultralite at the time, but perhaps I have a reason to justify the extra pennies on an Acolyte now! The cooler temperatures seemed to have thinned out the silver fish, so it took a bit of feeding before I was consistently catching some bleak, dace and roach. 

Didn't want to show my hand, so waited for my neighbours to pack up and leave before I put out the paternoster rod in the deeper water at the tail of the swim. Carried on trotting away, adding a few chub and more gudgeon (they are following me everywhere now) to the tally. 

After a few minutes I spotted some movement on the tip of the paternoster rod and was on it and pulling the line out of the clip before the bite alarm sounded. However, when I wound down there was nothing there apart from a bait-less hook. Popped the paternoster out into the same spot hoping it wasn't my only chance.

The next take was a far more positive affair - a slam down on the rod tip, the bobbin pinging against the back rod rest and line peeling off the spool. However, instead of the hoped for big perch, a long, green spotty shape loomed out of the depths before going ballistic on the surface, picking up the line of my hastily discarded float rod in the process. Popped the single size 6 out of his scissors in the net and then sent him quickly on his way as he already looked a bit beat up with marks and abrasions on both flanks. 
Whether this was due to previous poor handling or by a much bigger pike I couldn't really tell. By the time I'd sorted out the tangled mess of tackle and got fishing again the stickfloat line had gone quiet and it took the last of the maggots to stimulate a few more dace and chub into taking my hookbait. Left the paternoster rod out for a bit longer, but with nothing more doing I headed back home to cook the wife's birthday tea. Didn't leave entirely perch-less as I had a couple on the float rod, but one of these had only been as big as my thumb! This distinct lack of decent perch left me scratching my head a bit. Not the start of the predator campaign I was hoping for, but hopefully one that can only get better. 

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