Monday, 26 August 2013

Loch sessions: The big and the crooked.

A couple of weekends ago I had a job which involved me heading over to Glasgow for the afternoon, needless to say I took the opportunity to hit the big loch while I was there! I had one thing and one thing only on my mind and that was Perch. I would only have three and a half hours at the loch before I had to leave so for once I travelled light. I stashed my little Sakura leg bag with a few packets of Lake Fork Baby Shads and a packet of 3" Fish Arrow Flash J Pintails, dropshot leads and hooks, net, and landing mat and after getting my permit I was fishing within five minutes of leaving the car. I rigged my ever faithful GraphiteLeader Corto EX with dropshot rig comprising of a #6 offset worm hook tied via a palomar knot, clipped on a 7g dropshot weight and began to fan cast around. The wind was coming nicely over my right shoulder and it aided casting distance considerably allowing me to search a wide area of water. I hopped the lure back twitching and shaking the rod tip and as it came past some lilies I felt a couple of plucks before the rod bent into the fish. I felt the jagged, scrappy darts and shakes of a perch and after a brief fight quickly brought it to the net.

Within five minutes of fishing I had my first perch.

Brilliant! It had taken an age to find the perch on my last trip and this was a classic wild perch, with wonderful markings and about 30cm in length. After putting the fish back and I quickly recast to where the perch had been lurking. Again as the lure came past the lilies another perch seized the lure, this one was a better fish and kited hard for any cover it could find. I managed to guide it past the weed beds and into my net. This fish had really wolfed down the lure and I had to use my forceps to unhook it. It measured 33cm and was well over a pound in weight. I released the fish and made another cast with the same result, another chunky perch of around the same size.

This 33cm perch fell for a 3" Fish Arrow Flash J Pintail minnow.
With the perch coming thick and fast I had some fun taking one handed pics as I landed the fish.
These loch perch are absolutely fin perfect.

I was in heaven, the sun was shining and every cast was getting attention from the big hard fighting perch. These big loch perch are in really prime condition, lean and well muscled with beautiful markings and lots of stamina.

Another gorgeous wild loch perch comes to the net.
Another big perch falls for the black and gold Flash J minnow.

After I had caught four or five fish from the honey hole it went quiet for about fifteen minutes then they were back and were violently attacking the Flash J pintail. Another four or five perch followed including a cracking 36cm beast which went to nearly 2lb and really gave me the run around. I had to change the flash J a few times as the Perch were ripping it from the hook and their teeth had made it look like the lure had been assaulted with rough sandpaper.

This was the biggest fish of the session. A lean and well muscled 36cm perch.
Sunshine and another perch on the mat, I couldn't have been happier!
With the majority of perch being between one and two pounds and landing nineteen in total  it was a bit of a red finned, red letter day.

The fishing continued in the same vein and when the time came to leave it was very hard to do so! What a day, nineteen perch in three and a half hours with the majority being between one and two pounds, I was deliriously happy. The only cloud was that I had managed to lose half my line on a long cast when I snagged and the line went at the reel, which was the result of a previous wind knot. The journey home was spent in a happy daze, I had been utterly spoilt and I could have stayed there fishing forever!

That wonderful few hours had not cured my desire for perch, in fact it had made it worse and I spent the next couple of days desperate to get back. I ordered some new Line from Art of Fishing, going instead for some new line Pontoon 21 Exteer braid in PE 1. The line arrived and with it my opportunity to go fishing, such was my perch fever that I opted to go back to the big loch on my birthday even though it meant only having 3 hours there, well it had been enough last time! On arrival I noticed the water clarity was much worse and the rain had raised the water level quite a lot. Unperturbed, I grabbed a permit then went straight back to my honey hole. Unfortunately after an hour or so of fishing I hadn't even had a bite, a bit of a reality check compared to last time. I went in search of the perch wading around reed beds and lilies and while there were a lot of little perch the lunkers had moved on. I managed one smallish perch on a dropshotted Lake Fork Live Baby shad in pink and also had the opportunity to test the line.

Not big but a birthday perch is not to be sniffed at!

The line was good, strong, supple, thin and gave me great feedback from the lures. It may be ever so slightly rougher than the Sunline Super PE, which is my go to line, but it performed just as well. Although I was disappointed I still found it very interesting as to how the water level rising had affected the perch's behaviour and vowing to come back again soon I headed home.

Again after a couple of days the perch fever got too much and I had to get out again, this time it was up to the crooked Loch Lubnaig as I didn't want to waste time hunting new areas on the big loch. I bought my permit and when I got to the loch I could see the water level was up. Visibility was crystal clear as always and I rigged up a 3" black and gold Flash J on a dropshot rig. I began to fish along the weed beds and across a rocky bay.  It must have been twenty minutes or so before I got my first perch, another vibrantly coloured  denizen of the loch. I took a couple of pics and released the fish and was quick to recast to the same spot.

A classically coloured crooked loch perch,

Normally this would have resulted in more fish but yet again the increase in water level had changed the perches behaviour. They seemed to be much more spread out and I had to really search the loch to find them. When I did I could only winkle out one from each spot before they moved on. I carried on fishing for another couple of hours and manged nine in total with the biggest going around 30cm and just under a pound.

Flash J does it again as another fine perch is guided to the net
They were really nailing the lure.
Another nice perch comes to the net.
The final perch of the session came to me bathed in golden light.

Then it was time to leave and as I headed home I mulled over the perches change in behaviour, I love the fact they always keep me guessing and just when you think you have them sussed, it changes and you have to rethink. The perch fever has returned and I am more determined than ever to get past my 2.5lb barrier, I can't wait to get out perch hunting again!

Tight lines,Schogsky.

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