Tips & Hints for November 2013

In pursuit of Big Perch - Part 2

In pursuit of Big Perch - Part 2

15 November 2013

I thought it was meant to be early winter?

In  last month's diary piece I had made a concerted effort to start my "Winter" Perch fishing campaign and despite the still mild water temperatures and the inevitable string of Carp, I had managed to land plenty to about a pound and half, not what I was after but a start. The weather had started to turn cooler - wind, rain and low pressures dominated and winter was well on the way, perfect! Unfortunately the unpredictable British weather had one last surprise in store for us; high pressures, cold clear nights and very mild day time temperatures followed that initial promise of winter, and of course this is just about the worst possible Perch fishing weather! With that in mind, I decided to turn my attentions to a late autumn Carp or two and with the conditions pretty much spot on I headed to one of my favourite venues - Linear Fisheries in Oxfordshire for a 24 hour session.

Ever had one of those sessions? ......

On arriving at Linear I headed towards Oxlease Lake, a favourite of mine and a water I have spent a fair bit of time on over the years, It is also a water that has been kind to me in the past with plenty of 20's and a few 30's having graced my nets. The fish that I really want though is the magnificent big Common that last hit the banks at an incredible 44lb just a few weeks back! To be fair I don't really get the time to put any real effort into catching her but as far as I'm concerned whilst I have got baits in the water I have a chance and this is what keeps me heading back to Oxlease.

Chay Jackson with Carp

Unfortunately for me the mild weather and south westerly winds had ensured that the lake was pretty much full despite it being midweek, the swims that faced the prevailing winds were well and truly full and only a handful of swims at the back of the island were vacant, best laid plans and all! After chatting with a few of the anglers, it turned out that the pool was fishing quite hard, this despite the weather looking perfect, things were starting to look grim before I even started! At this point I decided to go and have a chat with fishery bailiff Roy Parsons, Roy is unbelievably knowledgeable on all things Linear, if fish are there to be caught he will make sure you are on them, he will also tell you if you're wasting your time whether you want to hear it or not! After a chat he recommended I head down to Brasenose 2, I had never fished it before but Roy assured me that there were plenty of fish to low thirties coming out, it wasn't busy either which was another bonus. Once at the lake I had a quick walk round and found plenty of fish showing right where I thought they would be, on the wind. I quickly chose a swim that put me within fifty yards of the showing Carp and cast out 2 rods complete with bags; hookbaits were Maize on one rod and a Nash scopex squid boilie on the other. I don't mess about when I know I'm on fish, 2 rods is more than enough anymore and you risk spooking fish. Initially I have a no spodding, no marker float work, no buzzers policy; I just get a couple of rods on the spot and hope to pick off a couple of fish early doors.

The tactic worked with a string of low double figure Carp and a better fish of 20lb 4oz (Pictured above) before sport started to slow. At this point I hurriedly got the bivvy up and sorted the kit out, before realising I had left the sleeping bag at home, gutted!  The despair was further compounded when I also realised that my stove, Lamp and head torch had all been left in my predator fishing rucksack after a late evening Perch session the week before! The good start to the session had suddenly turned very sour! I did manage to borrow a head torch from another Linear regular I had got to know over the years but I'm afraid from a food and drink point of view brown sauce sandwiches and stale squash from a session a few weeks earlier were as good as it was going to get! The session had to go on though and after the earlier flurry of fish I was feeling confident enough to put a bit of bait out over the spot I had been catching on, after a quick lead about I found a light patch of silt in amongst some much deeper stuff and chose this as my target area, I put out around 15 spods of my particle mix or 'mix of death' as its affectionately known, I was erring on the side of caution but should bites follow I was clipped up and ready to top up the spot if needed.

It just keeps getting worse!

Around fifteen minutes after getting the rods out over the freshly baited spots I started to receive the odd bleep and it was obvious fish were still in the area, this was further confirmed when a good fish crashed out right over my spot, then another and another.... It was looking good and the first run came pretty soon after, a single toner it was to, the fish were really having it! After a spirited fight I had another Mirror around 12lb on the bank, it was looking good! Unfortunately the cloud had started to gather and the rumbles of thunder in the distance had suddenly developed into one of the worst thunder and lightning storms I had ever fished in, the wind had whipped up and the lightning was far too close for comfort. The rain was hammering down and conditions had turned very suddenly, my swim was now looking like a Florida swamp and my bivvy floor was fairing no better to be honest, it was going to be a long night, fortunately I did have my Fleece, Technical Featherlite Jacket and Neck Warmer to keep me warm! Never mind though at least the fish were playing ball? Nope the storm had killed it, once the storm had passed the lake was like a mill pond and there was absolutely no sign of Carp, the sudden three hours of heavy rain and water temperature crash that preceded it had killed it, I didn't see another fish for the rest of the session, how's your luck hey? To be honest though despite everything I had managed to put a few fish on the bank and although the storm killed it pretty early on it had taught me a few valuable lessons, for a start don’t forget your sleeping bag and more importantly take your groundsheet for your bivvy once the autumn sets in!

Back to chasing Predators...

Following the session at Linear I spent a couple of days chasing the Pike and Zander at Frisby pits near Melton Mowbray, a cracking gravel pit of around 40 acres with a very good head of Double figure Zander and Pike to 29lb, I actually caught the 29lb lake record last year (Pictured left) whilst doing a feature for Pike and predator magazine. The big Pike though is a rare fish with the average stamp being around the 8-12lb mark; it can be prolific and is a great place to get a bend in the rod. I tend to fish for 24 hours, spending the day chasing Pike before settling down for the night and targeting Zander, to be fair I used to manage the place and as such I know the lake as good as anyone and landed plenty of Pike to 15lb and a couple of 8-10lb Zeds last week, great fun and a good start to my Pike campaign.

Chew Valley? Yes please!

As I sit and write this piece, my good mate and fellow predator nut Dave Mutton had called to see if I fancy a couple of boat days on the Pike fishing theatre of dreams that is Chew Valley in Somerset, fancy it, are you kidding! Blooming right I do! A plan has now been hatched between us, B&B has been booked and we are set to arrive at the end of this month (November) to say I'm excited would be an understatement! Between now and then though I have a load of work to do and I'll hopefully get out after those Perch again!

See how I get on at Chew in my next Diary piece ... Until then tight lines!


Chay Jackson