Prime time for perch – as three 5lb-plus fish prove

Three anglers have taken advantage of perfect conditions for big perch and each racked up a five-pounder. 

Manchester expert Andy Cheetham was first on to the score sheet when he banked a couple of stunners from a Midlands river weighing in at 4lb 7oz and 5lb 3oz. 

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The Perchfishers press officer has been in fine form over the last two weeks and has won two weekly Drennan Cup awards for perch of 4lb 9oz and 4lb 14oz – but his most recent session yielded his best catch of the season by far.

“As a result of increased boat traffic I had to fish at first light. Any later in the day and this shallow area would get too much disturbance for me to fish it properly,” Andrew told Angling Times.

“I baited the swim prior to daybreak with 200 chopped lobs and fished three half lobs and a chopped-worm feeder over the top.

“At first light I had a delicate bite and hooked a nice perch which fought really well under the rod-tip.

“It was an immaculate fish of 4lb 7oz and didn’t have a mark on it.”

After slipping the perch back Andrew toyed with the idea of packing up, but decided to stay for a while longer – a decision that proved fruitful when another gentle pluck on the rod-tip was registered. 

He added: “As I struck, a large perch shot to the surface and tail-walked towards the central channel and some reedbeds.

“It made several good runs before it finally went into the net – at 5lb 3oz it was a different perch to any I had seen from that waterway before.”

A stretch of the River Thames played host to the next specimen perch of 5lb 2oz for Justin Beale. 

It was the only bite during a two-hour, roving lure session for the Bait Tech and 30-Plus consultant, but one that helped him to his 5lb-plus perch from the Thames.

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He said: “I was fishing a snaggy area and working the lure slowly across the bottom, at times leaving it almost static.

“All of a sudden I had a really subtle bite and the rod bent over.

“A big perch came up to the surface and around an eight- minute fight ensued before I eventually netted it.

“It was one of the finest-looking perch I’ve ever caught.”

Justin was presenting an FFS (Floating Finesse Stick) in White Sparkle from, mounted on a 3g jighead.

The final big perch catch was taken by Ash Costa, who latched into a 5lb 2oz fish after his approach with bait failed to produce the goods.

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He said: “My first session in five weeks went about as badly as it could have after I lost two good perch and hooked four pike on worms in the first two hours.

“I was thinking about heading home when I noticed fry scattering towards the far bank. 

“Hoping for the best, I flicked my lure just behind them and let it sink – a few twitches later and everything went solid.

“All of a sudden this thing that looked like a striped carp broke the surface – I was in complete shock.”

Ash’s latest perch catch came from a Lincolnshire drain and beat his previous personal best for the species by 2oz.

The winning lure was a Zed-Man TRD fished on a Carolina rig.