Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A winding river and a crooked loch.

Scott and I managed to get out for an evening's fishing last week and we turned our attention to perch. The plan was to head west into the Trossachs to our favourite perch loch with a brief stop at Scott's new favourite float fishing river stretch as he had some maggots to use up! As it was to be only a flying visit to the river I decided to leave my float rod at home and just rig up my LRF set up with a float and #16 barbless hook to nylon. Scott did the same and we spent a pleasant hour or so trotting the river catching a few of dace, a few salmon parr, a couple of small brown trout I also caught a tiny perch just over an inch long which managed to flip out of my hand before I could take a photograph. The fishing wasn't up to its usual standards and that may have been because the river was running a bit higher than on Scott's previous sessions there due to the rain the previous day.

My first dace in a decade, double red maggots did the trick.
Salmon parr. Voracious little buggers.
This small brown trout managed to contest its way through the greedy salmon parr.

It was an enjoyable interlude but my thoughts were firmly set on getting a big perch on lures and soon we were back on the road to the loch. The weather had been forecast to be rainy, however when we arrived at it was quite warm with scattered clouds and a gentle breeze, very pleasant fishing weather indeed.

Inviting isn't it?

When planning this trip I had sworn I was going to use large lures to target the bigger fish and indeed I had brought a ton of them to use on my heavier rated dropshot set up. Laden with gear I lumbered down to the lochside trailing behind Scott who as always was travelling very light. Despite carrying all the heavier gear when I reached the shore I instinctively reached for my LRF set up. I thought I would start with the old faithful pink Jackson Cymo and just establish where the fish were before breaking out the bigger lures. We started fishing and Scott was first to get a bite when a trout or char quickly threw the hooks after attacking the size "0" copper Mepps he was using, still this boded well for the rest of the evening. I was next with a nice plump perch and this one had a dark gunmetal colouration to it, a nice looking fish indeed. I was working the little vibe lure with a slow retrieve with little rips a method that the fish in the loch seemed to like and I followed the first fish up with another perch. This one was a more traditional colour and after a couple of pics it was slipped back none the worse for meeting me!

My first perch of the session.
Quite different from standard perch colours. I love the bronze, gunmetal colours on this one.
Stripes like a tiger and an attitude to match, great fun.

Scott and I decided to split up and head to our own little favourite areas, mine a densely weeded shallow bay and Scott's a bay with lots of big rocks and less dense patchy weed. The next couple of hours were simply marvellous, stunning scenery, warm weather and a host of aggressive perch! Even though the fish were not that big they were great fun especially when I could see them chasing and harrying the lure.

I work my way round the weedy bay.
Every weed bed seemed to hold perch.
Spot the Cymo.
Even though he had swallowed the lure he went back fine.

As the light began to go the wind dropped too and I stood admiring the tranquil scene absent mindedly scratching my head, then my neck, then my hands before realising that the midges had arrived to dine on me! With frantic thrashings I rooted through my tackle bag while the beasts fed on my blood before I managed to find my midge net. I quickly donned the net pausing briefly to slap myself about the head trying to kill the ones that were now trapped inside the net with me. The net did the trick though and soon I was back fishing again, laughing in the face of the blood hungry beasties. I was working my lure close to the shore when I hooked what turned out to be my biggest perch this year, and after a good tussle and successfully guiding it through the weeds it came in at just under 32cm and about 1lb in weight. While I unhooked and photographed the fish the wind dropped and I became aware of a strange noise. I looked up to see Scott coming over the field in a most peculiar manner, beating his head and upper torso whilst cursing and growling like an angry bear. Safe under my net and fully aware of the reasons why Scott was doing this I had a chuckle at his netless predicament and laughed even more at the torrent of abuse he gave me when he saw me with my net on protected from the marauding swarms! He did however have the good grace to take a photo of me and the fish before we started to make our way back to our starting point, avoiding some of the other local creatures on the way.

Yes! My biggest perch this year eyes his downfall.
Fighting fit. Another wonderful perch.
My grin had more to do with Scott being eaten alive by midges than the fish!
Midges weren't the only beasts we had to dodge. No net would save me from the large black bull if he decided he wanted blood!

Scott informed me he had done equally well at his chosen spot, catching ten perch all about the same size as mine and all in lovely condition. He had caught them all fishing his favourite golden shiner Lake Fork Live Baby Shad on a 3.5g #6 jighead and had used what he called his "Super Mario" retrieve. He explained that this was a slow retrieve with a few small jigs based on this music from the eighties Nintendo game "Super Mario Bros". Indeed to prove how effective it was as he showed me this retrieve style "jiggy, jiggy, jiggy - pause - jiggy, jiggy, jiggy - pause - etc" and promptly caught another two nice perch in a spot I had just fished.

One of Scott's perch from earlier in perfect condition.
The nearby highland cows watch with interest as Scott explains the "Super Mario" retrieve whilst singing the tune.
Scott with a perch that fell for his "Super Mario" jigging retrieve technique.

By then we had been fairly eaten by the midges and probably could have used a blood transfusion so as the sun dipped over the horizon and happy with the all the fun we'd had catching perch we called it a night and hurriedly stumbled our way back to the car through the descending black mist of hungry blood sucking parasites.

As well as inventing new retrieve styles he also takes some nice photos like this one of the sun bursting through the clouds just before setting.
Scott "the human buffet" Hutchison shows off his new friends enjoying a feeding frenzy.
Closer. We zoomed in on this one gorging itself on Scott's blood.
Even closer. The true horror of the Scottish Midge is revealed. Aaaaaaaaaaarrgh Vienna!

We managed to load the car with our gear in rapid fashion but despite this about a thousand midges also seemed to find their way inside! These were soon removed however by opening all of the cars windows and driving away fairly quickly and despite the plague of tiny annoying insects we both still really enjoyed the fishing. The warm weather, awesome scenery and perfect perch filled a session that will stay long in the memory and has me positively itching to go back. Perhaps some of this itching is due to my midge bites though!

Tight lines, Schogsky

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