Saturday, 4 February 2012

Winter tench and perch - No rules in this game

Friday the 3rd of February

Myself and fellow Soar Valley group member Rob had arranged to have a day perching on the Derwent, it was originally arranged for the previous day but events conspired against us, Thursday was certainly not what you could call warm with temperatures not much about freezing though there was some cloud cover. Friday's forcast was colder still and when I looked at the computer at 8am it was minus six with bright sunshine due all day, not exactly ideal conditions, it was going to be tough. We pulled up at the side of the road at 10am and made our way downstream for a short distance to our chosen area amongst some bankside tree's. My plan was to use my normal tactics of worm fished over a light helping of red maggot and chopped worm, Rob had also got a worm rod set up but was determined to catch one on the drop shot method and used that on and off for most of the day.

First job was to get the bait dropper out and put some free offerings into the swim, four small loads of maggot and two of worm followed shortly afterwards with a big juicy lob on the rig which was twitched back by a turn of the reel every now and then. There were no signs of fishy life whatsoever for the first three hours or so but as usual in the winter the wildlife was more noticeable, a flock of long tailed tits worked the alder to my left as did a tree creeper and a gang of crows came over chasing away an unwanted buzzard. It would be nice to have a go at photographing some of these birds but that would require a camera with a considerably better zoom than I use, or in fact want to carry while angling due to weight and bulk, I often think that if I wasn't an angler I could get into photography they are quite similiar in some respects, hunting down that special shot. Robins however tend to be a bit more obliging, no zoom needed there.

At about 1pm I started to get a few very small indications on the tip, each time I wondered if it was a perchy bite starting to develop but it didn't happen until 2pm when the tip absolutely belted round completely out of the blue and I hooked into a fish that got my heart pumping in an instant, it was really scrapping and made several attempts to get under the nearside trees until I hauled it away and then up popped, wait for it, a tench! You wouldn't credit it would you, night time temperatures beyong minus six, frost still on the ground throughout the day and I catch a tench, it just goes to prove that you really never do know, in angling anything can happen. A few more droppers of bait went in and three quarters of an hour later Rob was standing beside me when the tip started to twitch again before pulling round and I was into another hard fighting fish, in fact too hard for a perch, you've got it, another tench, unbelievable. Out with the dropper again for another top up as no doubt the tench hadn't left much in the way of free offerings down there.

A few more twitches that didn't develop over the next hour kept my interest up and then once again I struck into a fish and there was no doubt at all that this one wasn't a perch, in fact it was a pike of about 6lb's which was swiftly scooped up and returned further downstream.With dusk starting to set in I knew that my best chance of a perch was approaching and right on cue at 5pm one arrived, a typical perch bite (just like the tench bite!) developed and this time I knew that the hooked fish had stripes and had 2lb 9oz's it was a very welcome end to a strange days fishing.


  1. A Cracking pair of fish Rob,

    Just goes to show you never can tell what to expect, especially a Tinca in the current cold conditions, both fish looked in superb condition.

    Lovely couple of shots of the Robin too.

    Kind Regards

  2. Thanks Mark

    That picture is actually the second tench, the first could have only been loved by its mother it was a right strange creature, a big black blotch on each side and snub nose, poor bugger!

  3. Nice strong colours Rob, you can't beat river perch for that can you.

    Worm must be the equivalent of a bacon sarnie or fish n chips to all fish species - that is irresistible.