Monday, 15 September 2014

Mini Sticks earn their stripes

I had been having some fun filled sessions hitting the rocks with Rory and Ritchie and when the weather took a turn for the worse we decided to head back to the big loch for a crack at the perch.
This was to be our first recce of the loch with the idea of checking it out for future sessions with Rorys boat. Rory was more used to hitting up the canals down south for those big southern perch but he was keen to get a feel for our wild water Perching.

Over the hour or so's drive to the loch Rory and I talked about various tactics and lures and I was keen to try the HTO Mini Sticks as they just looked very fishy!
After a brief tussle with rogue waders (a combination of brute force and swearing soon subdued them) we emerged at the side of the loch just in time to see shoals of fry scattering as predators chased them from beneath.For once conditions were perfect for humans as well as fish with the afternoon sun on our backs and a gentle warm breeze.

I was using the new Rockfish Revoloution rod instead of the 73 and it was paired with my Shimano Technium 3000,0.6PE braid and my leader / dropshot rig was 8lb YGK Nitlon DFC Fluorocarbon.
The hook was my favourite #8 Owner slim offset worm and I rigged a Margarita coloured Mini Stick with the hook point exiting from its back rather than nose hooking it. This does seem to increase the bites to hook ups ratio, although it is easier for the lure to move when on the hook and spoil the presentation.

I ambled out through the weeds and and cast towards the back of a moored boat, the lure dropped through the water and never made the bottom as it was instantly seized by a perch! I quickly played the fish in ,enjoying the juddery fight on my new rod. The fish was quickly photographed, released and I got my lure back out into the killzone. This time the lure managed to make it to the bottom and got a couple of feet before another perch hammered it! I played the second fish in and released it, meanwhile Rory was bouncing a chartreuse curly tail along the bottom but it wasn't eliciting much of a response. The HTO Mini Stick however was constantly getting nailed and Rory quickly rigged up a dropshot rig and he too began to get hit by perch.
We managed about a dozen each in quick succession before the bites dried up, so we elected to move along to a deeper water5 mark in the hope of a bigger perch.

A short waddle later and we were fishing into deeper water and again we were greeted with a vast shoal of small bait fish. It was thoroughly exciting as we could see the shoal reacting, scattering on the surface as predators harried the shoal. I quickly cast out beyond the shoal and hopped the lure back whilst shaking the rod . Almost as soon as the lure began its stilted run across the loch bed I could feel perch plucking at the lure. When I felt the plucks I dropped the rod tip allowing some slack line, this allowed the fish to suck the lure in without feeling resistance. A flick of the wrist set the hook and I began to play another hard fighting perch, This one was a bit bigger at around the pound mark and the rod cushioned its juddery head shakes wonderfully. I netted the fish and took its picture before releasing back to its shoal mates. Rory too was straight into perch and we quickly racked up another dozen or so before the action slowed again. We decided to stick at this mark as we could still see the shoal of bait fish getting balled up against the edge of the dock we were fishing from.
Again after about 20 minutes the Perch were back and the same pattern was repeated with a flurry of perch fighting over themselves to snap at my lure. It was fantastic fun and the fish appeared to be getting larger with both of us managing to find fish up to 1.5lbs.

Again the perch seemed to come in waves and each wave would yield  a dozen or so fish before they moved off again. The action continued throughout the afternoon and we marveled at the size of the shoal of bait fish, which seemed unable to escape the area where the perch had corralled them.
We continued to fish on  and were really enjoying the seemingly constant attention that our lures were receiving, I happened to notice part of the shoal scattering on the surface as fish piled into them from beneath. I cast over the shoal and instead of slowly working the lure I jigged it up high in the water then let it fall quickly back down. It was then I was hit by a much larger fish, with the rod hooping over as the fish started to take line. The juddery head shakes started and I knew it was a perch and a good one at that. My knees went to jelly and I gently played the fish in all the time repeating the mantra " don'tcomeoffdon'tcomeoffdon'tcomeoff".
As we caught sight of the fish we could both see it was a belter and thankfully I watched as it slipped into Rorys landing net.
What a lovely fish and certainly my biggest perch this year which weighed in at 2.15oz of pure, wild,pristine perch.

I was made up and to his credit Rory was too as he was hoping to see a nice perch and this one was just perfect. Pictures were taken and the big stripey was slipped gently back and with a gleeful flick of it's tail it disappeared back into the deep water.
That was the absolute highlight of the day and I was overjoyed at catching such a quality fish on my new rod and my new lures. 

So there you have it, I have found a new "goto" lure for perch replacing my old favourites Lake Fork Live Baby shads was something I didn't think would happen.
But it is true HTO Mini sticks 100% are now my favourite perch lure and I can't wait to get out and use them again!
Tight Lines