Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
Mark Barrett is making the most of a mild start to the autumn chasing catfish and perch; but his thoughts are beginning to wander to his winter fishing
September is usually one of my favourite months for angling.
Generally speaking the weather in September stays warm, as indeed it did this year, yet there is a usually the beginning of the touch of the colder months to come, especially in the early mornings and late evenings. More importantly still just about every species is still a viable target in September, even into early October, and for some species these can be the best months of the year; with this in mind September and October usually see me clear the decks and get some serious fishing time in.
September and October don’t usually see me take on a big work commission that will severely restrict my opportunities to get out and fish but, with work being so hard to come by at present, the chance to do a full set of illustrations for a children’s book was one I couldn’t knock back – and so, for once, the chances for me to wet a line were pretty limited this month.
First on the agenda though was a return visit to Willowcroft, the day ticket catfish lake that I visited for the first time at the end of last month. If you read my last FishingMagic diary you may recall that we did rather well and caught a few cats on the day we visited and the idea of a return was for a bit more of the same and hopefully to get Adam his first catfish.
Our last visit had been made midweek and oh boy what a difference fishing at the weekend made this time around. Not only was the lake much busier, something we expected, but also all of the ‘la, la’s’ that day ticket waters often attract were present. This certainly lead to some friction during the day, not helped by the fact that the cats were unwilling to play ball, and it was well into the afternoon before Adam was dragged away from catching small carp in the channel to our left to answer the siren call on my cat rods.
We had built this occasion up a lot over the week between trips and had told Adam that if he hooked one it was going to really pull so, of course, the first line of attack of the fish was just to lie doggo and not really do anything! Adam just cranked it back towards him and was giving it the ‘big one’ about how hard they fought and how he was getting it in easily when the cat decided to wake up act and like an angry hooked catfish usually does - and within seconds it had put 40 plus yards of line between us and it - and Adam very quickly realised the attraction of catfishing!
After playing the fish for a good twenty minutes, the last ten of which were spent telling us how much his arms were aching (to no sympathy at all), he finally managed to get the fish into the net. On the bank it was great to see how fascinated he was with the cat, having never seen one before, and after a quick weigh session and some photos he was the proud owner of a new PB catfish of 16lb 8oz. Oddly his personal bests for cats, carp and pike are all now around 16lb 8oz - and all of them caught in the last 12 months!
Aside from this trip I made only one other visit to the bank and that was after my traditional autumn target, perch.
The river we targeted was in great form prior to my visit with friends having taken a number of fish up to a top weight of 3lb 9oz in the previous week but unfortunately the night before we went it chucked it down with rain and the expected clear water was replaced with mucky water with just a bit of clarity to it. Although I had previously lost a huge fish on that river in flood conditions, coloured water is usually the kiss of death for the perching on there, especially as my favoured tactic for big perch (a small livebait) is very much a sight method and tends to be nowhere near as effective in coloured water.
Because of the clarity, or rather lack of it, we started off with worms and these were taken straight off by the hordes of small perch in the river and whilst Adam enjoyed catching them, and even more the frequency of the bites, they weren’t what I was looking for. I was after a big perch and so quickly snatched a few baits to try a livebait but sadly these fared little better, they did avoid the small perch, but no big ones were either willing to feed, or were in residence.
Thinking that perhaps they had had a bit of hammer on livebaits I decided to give the jigs a go and I am glad that I did, for though the change did not bring any bigger perch, it did make catching the small ones more fun and by the time that night fell I had caught a hatful on tiny Reflex Shads.
So that sums up the month gone, but with the commission finally handed in my time has once again become my own and I look forward to the next couple of months very much indeed as this tends to be the time when the really big zander come out to play, as well as big perch and the start of the pike fishing.
Hopefully I shall get a chance to visit the Anglian Water reservoirs Grafham and Rutland in the next few weeks, something I look forward to greatly. Along with that I am hoping to perhaps get a bit of chub and barbel fishing in too. But with all this thought of change it has meant that a bit of a tidy up was needed in the garage with the summer kit going to the back and the boat kit and winter gear coming out of its hiding places.
There was also all of the usual crap that just gets dumped into the garage after the summer to sort out and so boilie bags, pellet bags, groundbait bags and half bags of mouldy bread were all rounded up and, 14 black bags later, I was back to a ‘proper’ garage with all of the winter kit ready to go... I just hope all the preparation pays off!
By the Same Author
- The Angling Trust, an ‘Unbelievably Weak Governing Body’ - Not Just Teeth: December
- Fishing in Sickness and in Health - Not Just Teeth: November
- Jigging for Zander and Deadbaiting for Pike - Not Just Teeth: October
- Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
- Catfish, Carp and Kids – Not Just Teeth: August
- Paying your Dues?
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 3
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 2
- Sounding Off
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight