Big Perch Fishing at Alderwood Ponds
Andy Loble has been on a mission to target big perch on local waters in Sussex and Kent. We asked him to give us an introduction to commercial perching and he chose Alderwood Ponds.
***Win 2 day tickets to Alderwood Ponds and a bait pack from CC Moore - see below***
An introduction to perch fishing on a commercial fishery.
I was asked by the team at FishActive and FishingMagic if I knew of a lake that might produce a 2lb plus perch. This I could do! They then asked if I would like to join the team and spend a day out fishing with them; how could I refuse the opportunity to get out on the bank and fish for a species I have a real passion for catching?
There are a number of venues within Sussex that are producing specimen perch and at this time of year they are really showing signs of packing on the weight before they spawn in early spring.I have fished a number of venues in Sussex over the winter but knew of one that I felt would give us the best chance of landing our target fish: Alderwood Ponds Nr Ashurst. which has been producing regular 2lb perch throughout the winter and I have had great success there.
The venue comprises three lakes which all hold good numbers of perch, but the lake I chose to fish was the main Island Lake, the largest of the three, and renowned for the large number of quality perch in it.
Alderwood Ponds is a fantastic day ticket fishery run by Pam and her daughter Julie. It is situated on the B2135 Ashurst to Partridge Green Road. There are three fishable ponds on site; Dave’s Pond which has excellent platforms for wheelchair users, Corsican Pond with 15 pegs and the Island Pond with 26 pegs.
The lakes hold a mixture of coarse fish species including carp to 38lb, tench, perch over 4lb, roach and rudd over 2lb and orfe.
There are good onsite facilities including a flush toilet with hot running water and two mains taps for drinking water. The fishery has been running for over 17 years and has even won an award from Angler's Mail in the past for being one of the top rated commercial fisheries in the country.
We arrived on site to a warm welcome from Julie and Pam and were given a tour of the site and they also informed us of the history of the lakes and how long they have been established. The venue is extremely well laid out and surrounded by well established trees and the rolling countryside of the South Downs a perfect back drop for an enjoyable day's fishing.
Pam informed us of the best places to stand a good chance of catching some of the resident perch and how best to target them and we each opted for slightly different approaches to try and catch our intended quarry.
Paul had a go at dropshotting with small rubbers, Richard had a go float fishing but also had a sneaky ledger rod in the margin and I fished two static ledger rods. It was a very tough day with only a few perch coming out around the lake we did, however, connect with a large number of roach and rudd to over 1lb which were great fun and kept us warm throughout the day (see image left).
It was Paul who managed to get amongst the shy biting 'stripeys' first with a number to 2lb on his dropshot method using his new Sonik SK4 spinning rod and it wasn’t until later that evening that I managed to connect with a fabulous 3lb 6oz fish that took a liking to a static legered prawn hook bait in open water.
Perch are renowned for holding up near snaggy areas, whether it be over hanging trees, roots, bridges, reeds or other sunken objects. These areas allow them to wait undetected ready for ambush on their unsuspecting prey. It never occurred to me to try fishing for Perch in open water but something that no one should ignore.
On the Island Lake the perch do patrol around the edge especially becoming more active near the end of the day. But….they also can be picked up in open water and more and more people are doing so and it appears in most cases they are connecting with some of the larger residents.
Tactics for fishing a very basic running ledger set up:
- 2 X Greys VX Specimen 1.25lb rods (anything from a 1lb-1.25lb test curve is perfect
- 2 X small bait runner style reels2 X bite alarms and rear rests
- 2 X very light indicators
- 1 X landing net and long handle and an unhooking mat
- 1 X spod rod (or carp rod) and a Spomb (alternative to a spod)
- Forceps and large disgorger
The Business End:
- Mainline – 6lb Ultima Power Steel (Any line around 5lb-6lb is good, just needs to be able to handle the odd surprise carp)
- Hooklink – 4.4lb Ultima Power Steel (The hook link needs to be fine enough to not spook the perch but strong enough to hold them)
- Hooks – Size 6 or 8 barbless wide gape hook (as sharp as possible)
- A 1oz lead with a large swivel to allow free movement of line
- A small Drennan Swivel and Stoppa Bead
- Hook bait – King Prawns (sounds expensive but certain frozen food shops do bags of them for £5)
- Chopped worms and the soil they come in
- Potting Compost
- Chopped Prawns
- Bait additives CC Moore Shrimp Extract, Worm Extract and Krill Amino Compound
It is always best to sit back as far from the edge when you are perch fishing especially if you are intending to fish the margins. I will always set up my rods with the tips just out over the water where the swim permits and sit back behind the rods I also set my rods about a foot and a half off the floor allowing plenty of drop for the very light indicators to be lifted towards the rod. It can take perch quite a while to confidently take a bait properly, so reducing any resistance that the fish may feel when they pick up a bait is good.
By using a weight of 1oz or 1.5oz it will allow the perch to take the bait without moving the lead but will allow the line to run freely as the fish moves of with the bait. Always allow the light bobbins to get all the way to the top and even allow the fish to take some line off the spool before striking. I currently fish with an open bail arm and use some 'Old Skool' Drennan line clips which are perfect for letting line run freely, but also allowing for good bite detection.
When fishing a commercial carp water for perch I will always use a 5lb or 6lb mainline and a 4lb hooklink. This is light enough to not affect the perch fishing but strong enough that, with a balanced rod, will handle any carp that may find your bait first.
It has been proven time and time again that Perch love cooked prawns and you can fish them straight out for the packet of added flavours and colouring to them. I choose to add CC Moore’s Shrimp Extract and Krill Amino Compound to them and have found this has improved my catch rate.
Like many commercial waters Alderwood does not allow the use of groundbait. To combat this I use potting compost similar to the soil you would find in a tub of worms. The compost holds the other bits of bait together and creates a fantastic cloud in the water to attract smaller fish that the perch feed on into the area.
To the compost I add chopped prawns, chopped worm (and the soil the worms come in), red maggots (both dead and alive) and some CC Moore additives which include Shrimp Extract, Krill Amino Compound and Worm Extract. I will add a very small amount of lake water if necessary to enable the soil to be formed in to a ball making it easier to introduce to margin swims. For introducing the bait to open water I will use a Spomb.
I add bait according to how productive the day's fishing is: If I am catching lots of fish I will add bait more regularly and on slower days I will add less and this is something you can play around with on your own water.
It is possible to pick up the perch at Alderwood at any point throughout the day with the last few hours being the best, having fed and built up the swim throughout the day. The Island Lake at Alderwood Ponds has certainly responded extremely well to this method and I would recommend it to anyone. Using it I have managed to avoid picking up any fish below 1lb 8oz, with most fish averaging 2lb 8oz.
I would encourage anyone out there to get down to Alderwood Ponds, whether it be to target the fantastic stock of perch or the carp, roach and rudd which also go to some incredible sizes; you will always receive a very warm welcome with fantastic advice always on hand.
Summer: 7am – 7pm
Winter: 7am – Dusk
For information about ticket prices, rules and night fishing please visit the website.
Horsham Road, Nr. Steyning, Sussex, BN44 3AA
Tel: 01903 816377
***FREE COMPETITION TIME - FANCY BAGGING SOME MONSTER PERCH???***
We’ve teamed up with CC Moore Baits and Alderwood Ponds to provide you with a selection of top quality bait additives and two 24 Hour Tickets at Alderwood Ponds.
How to Enter
2. Finally follow the link below to answer this question - What groundbait alternative does Andy use at Alderwood Ponds?
Closing date is midnight on 28 February 2013.
This feature was first published on FishingMagic's sister site: FishActive