Big perch dominated the headlines in 2014 and this latest string of catches further proves why many believe the British record for the species will be broken this winter.
Undeterred by heavy overnight frosts, reigning Drennan Cup Champion Jamie Cartwright donned his thermals for a dawn raid on his local River Ouse which resulted in a superb 4lb specimen.
He kicked off his session on the Bedfordshire waterway by feeding broken lobworms and maggots and, after catching some small fish early on, it wasn’t long before the bigger predators showed an interest in his legered lobworm.
After banking a brace of fish estimated to have weighed between 2lb and 3lb, the Northamptonshire Specimen Group member received a gentle tap on his rod tip.
“I scraped the ice off of the car and by the time I’d got all of my gear sorted it had frozen over again, so it would have been so easy to stay in warm and leave it for another day, but I’m so glad I didn’t,” Jamie told Angling Times.
“When I arrived at the river the temperature on the dashboard of the motor said three degrees, but despite this I kept a steady stream of bait going in which is something many people don’t do when it’s cold.”
Over on the River Lea Steve Stones found success in a featureless swim with a trio of big perch weighing 3lb 15oz, 3lb 14oz and 2lb 15oz.
While many anglers head for obvious features such as overhanging trees and boats when targeting this species , the 43-year-old, from Stamford, Lincs, opted for a swim on his chosen day-ticket stretch that didn’t boast any of these.
Steve banked the fish in quick succession with the help of 6lb mainline and a size 6 hook baited with a lobworm.
“This was the sort of swim that many anglers targeting perch wouldn’t give a second look, but all of my bites came with minutes of casting my rig out in to the middle,” he said.
“I had four bites in total and lost a very big perch that I reckon was well over 4lb at the net.”
But it isn’t just the nation’s rivers that have produced specimen perch this week. Nigel Fromant headed to the home of the current British perch record – Wilstone Reservoir on the Tring complex – and banked this 4lb 5oz specimen.
The St Neots, Cambridgeshire-based big fish hunter tempted his new personal best with a feederfished maggot and worm cocktail.
The British perch record is jointly held by Neill Stephen and Ken Brown with fish of 6lb 3oz 2dr.