Never mind smelling the flowers, don’t forget to take time out to see the satirical side of fishing life and grab a laugh along the way as well. So here’s a regular column from Kevin Perkins to remind us that life is for laughing at, or taking the p*** out of, whenever we can.
Autumn Almanac (With apologies to the Kinks)
SUMMER’S OVER, AUTUMN’S here, yippee! Or is that just me?
Whilst I can enjoy occasional lazy summers’ days on the bankside, I am not one who relishes the thought of permanent global warming. The evenings are drawing in, (you certainly don’t want to be in the cricket nets facing the 1st XI bowlers in the gathering gloom around 8.00pm) and whilst out walking the dog every day I look forward to those almost imperceptible changes in the hedgerows that signal that autumn is on its way. Perhaps because of the dry summer, there are an abundance of blackberries, elderberries and sloes this year, wizened old country folk are always keen to point out that ‘this be a portent of a hard winter a’comin’. I wonder…
Anyway, back to autumn. Kids soon going back to school will free up some bank spaces on the ‘easy’ waters, rains will hopefully come and flush out the rivers, leaving a tinge of colour which is always welcome, and the next few weeks before the leaves perform their riotous decay display and start to fall is surely one of the best times to be out fishing. Not so hot that you need to slap on the factor twenty, for those of you that bother, that is, and yet not too cold that you need to cocoon yourselves in one-piece suits and thermal boots.
And if you are venturing out in these ‘special’ weeks, before old Keats’ ‘Season of mellow fruitfulness’ sets in what should you fish for? Do you think that just for a while we could all take the carp and barbel blinkers off, and somewhat daringly, fish for something else for a change. If you do go down to the rivers, how about trying for the dace? Here is perhaps one of our most dainty of our freshwater fishes, with a six-ounce dace being a fish to be proud of and anything over half a pound can be considered a true specimen, indeed, in record terms it equates to the capture of a thirty pound carp.
Perhaps whilst on the river you might encounter a roach or two. A single redworm, or maybe a couple of maggots, slowly floatfished around the eddies and creases of a slack in the river may throw up the odd redfin. A one pound fish would be considered a real result on most waters, and probably taken from a far more picturesque setting than those facing ‘proper’ roach fishers who know only of inland-sea sized gravel pits, boilies and bite alarms.
Of course, put any bait in a river and you run the risk of being troubled by those water-bound Dysons that are chub. Scourge of barbel anglers, they are nothing but bait pinching nuisances, but if they are that easy to catch, what better than to deliberately set your stall out for a netfull. Don’t make life difficult for yourselves; no one wants to go fishing for blanks, do they? A two or three pound chub will still give a good account of itself, and half a dozen or so of those in a session would be a bloody good day’s fishing in my book. They don’t have to be six or seven pounders before they count as being worthy of catching, and if you are tempting these relatively modest fish, there is always a chance that granddad, or should that be grandma, chub will muscle in on the action.
You may even be lucky enough to latch onto a bream whilst fishing on the river, and I say lucky because any bream over 4lbs that gets out into the flow when hooked will probably change your idea about them just being snot covered wet sacks that have the temerity to snaffle baits put out for proper fish like carp.
Autumn time always seems synonymous with perch; perhaps it is to do with the red, brown and green shades of the bank side foliage, which mimic the flanks and fins of Sergeant Stripy. In my opinion, any perch is worth catching, two ounces, two pounds, makes no difference to me, I’m never disappointed when a member of this feisty buccaneer brigade breaks the surface. Indeed, whenever I go lure fishing, I would much rather tempt a small perch than a small pike.
In fairly clear water, arguably one of the best sights in fishing is to watch a perch attacking a lure in an effort to disable it, dorsal fin raised and mouth agape as it launches an ambush from the cover of a reed bed. In moving water they might have one or two stabs before retreating to their safe haven, quite often with the angler retrieving his lure having no indication on his rod top as to what is going on below the surface.
All of this different angling action is available without recourse to having to buy several different types of rod and reel combinations, specific to, and only usable for, individual species. In fact an Avon type rod and reel (baitrunner not required), a couple of floats, a few SSG shots for a link leger will do just fine for all of them. Oh, and of course, you will need a river, in Autumn………..