The incredible specimen perch potential of our trout waters was highlighted this week when Ben Farley took this giant 4lb 12oz fish from Farmoor Reservoir.
Dozens of big pike have already been banked from the country’s expansive reservoirs this winter, but this week’s catch at the Oxfordshire water proved that other huge predators are also there for the taking.
Ben, who works as a ranger at Farmoor, used a small livebait to tempt the venue record perch.
With a daunting 350 acres of water to go at, he decided to launch his attack from the shore on Reservoir Two, with pike being his primary target. The session took a welcome if unexpected twist when the big perch grabbed the bait close to the bank.
He told Angling Times: “The moment I hooked the fish I thought it was a trout, but then I got a glimpse of it and realised I was into a massive perch.
“I’ve had quality perch from the venue before, but this surpasses anything else by a long way. It was a huge fish, and it shows that Farmoor is capable of producing something very special indeed.”
Venue boss Will Barnard was on hand to verify the impressive capture, and he said: “This was a stunning fish, and it helps prove that waters like Farmoor are the place to head to for a giant perch.
“We know there are large shoals of them in here, and with the massive numbers of fry present they have plenty of food to feast on and grow to specimen size.
“The previous best on rod and line was 3lb 9oz, but we weighed a dead fish with no head that had been washed up on the shore and it went 4lb 12oz.
“It was the size of a size 12 boot, and that was without the head!
“It’s anyone’s guess how big the perch in Farmoor grow.”
Other trout waters too have noticed an increase in the number of keen perch anglers getting on the bank and Dave Coleman – the boss of Cumbrian reservoir Esthwaite Water – said: “We have had perch to 4lb reported, and the number of people that are coming to Esthwaite to target this species is definitely on the up.
“The interest in drop shotting and lure fishing has without doubt helped spark this interest.
“I also happen to think that people enjoy the mystery of not knowing exactly how big the perch could grow in a venue such as ours – Esthwaite Water is over 280 acres, so it could hide a giant.”