A Triumphant Return
After a little rest and recovery from the weekend’s competition it was time to head back out on the water. The air pressure remained high, the wind had dropped, warm daytime temperatures filled me with confidence. It was time to get the boat out again in search of a few bites. I loaded up and set off on a long motor towards my chosen location for the day.
I arrived in the first area, working every inch of the river, hopping from spot to spot, covering structure and open water with both hard and soft lures. Hours passed by with just a few wasps and missed bites for my efforts. It wasn’t looking good. The sun was high at this point and the water gin-clear. With nothing showing on the sonar it seemed the fish were either hard on the bottom or holding tight to structure. I decided to move on in search of deeper and more coloured water.
Finally! After hours of searching and scratching for bites I found a few fish. Casting around a ned rig I tempted one, then another, and then another. They were small but plentiful, surely a few bigger fish were on the prowl. Given the aggressive nature of the takes I switched over to my favourite Gravity Twitch jerkbait and began teasing it through the swim. A few twitches, long pause, half-turn wind, I repeated the process. I felt a small tap and struck, quickly feeling the head shakes of a better perch. I landed the fish, a great little scrapper around a pound and very lightly hooked.
I cast again using a similar technique, this time a few tentative little taps. I persevered, catching a few more then switched back to a more static ned rig to clean up the stragglers. I spent a good hour cycling between the ned and Twitch consistently catching fish. Eventually I hooked up with a bigger perch, plodding away around the boat. I soon gained control and netted the fish. A chunky specimen around a pound and a half at a guess. It was an enjoyable hour or so of fishing, eventually the bites dried up and I had to resume the search.
Dusk was drawing closer, and after experiencing a brief feeding spell I was certain they would switch on as the light levels fell. I returned to my original plan, moving from spot to spot in search of predators on the feed. It started slow but as dusk drew ever closer the bites began to increase. Small perch were beginning to show in numbers, but I couldn’t break through to the size I desired.
Almost dark, I decided to gamble. Motoring ten minutes to an area I expected to find a few bigger fish. I started in the swim with a creature bait hoping to single out something larger. Fishing it with aggressive lifts and long drops on a light jig head. Lift, drop, pause, repeat. While the lure sat paused for a second or so I felt a tap and struck. My 2-10g Custom UL hunched over, I was in!
I gained ground, quickly cranking the fish towards the boat with clicking drag, then it woke up. The perch fought back, making aggressive dives to the bottom of the river, there was little I could do but back the drag off and hang on. The usual perch fight takes place once you hook them, this one certainly saved the best ’till last. Continuing its escape attempts until it breeched and I made a quick scoop with the net. With little time left to fish I didn’t weigh this one opting to grab a quick measurement. 45cms, a cracking fish, an old warrior guessing by its looks.
The light was gone and after a few casts with the creature baits I decided to try one last tactic before packing up. I picked up the rod with the Gravity Twitch rigged up. Hopeful that a combination of the rattle and slow-suspending presentation would grab the attention of any predators feeding under moonlight. I searched around with a twitch and pause retrieve. Twitch, twitch, slam! A fish hit the lure with ferocity jolting my arm and taking metres of drag. This wasn’t a perch!
I tightened the drag on my 7-21g Casting Combo in an attempted to slow the fish. Eventually, I managed to turn it, spotting a large boil on the surface. I manoeuvred the fish towards the boat. A second bout of energy and the fish took off, running towards me and straight under the boat. I dropped the rod tip beneath the water, coaxing it out, and a long flank broke the surface. A quality metre-plus pike. A few failed attempts and she finally hit the net. A great way to end the session, now in total darkness.