The time to catch a big perch is now, that's if recent catch reports submitted to our News Desk are anything to go by. Here are some amazing specimens landed from UK rivers, lakes and canals.
Sam Taylor – 3lb 10oz and 3lb 6oz perch
“I recently spent a sunny afternoon on a stretch of water in the Thames system that I hadn’t tried before. Perch were my target, and I began by casting lures around a good-looking area. After an early two-pounder, I made a difficult cast towards a sunken tree. It took a few attempts, but when the lure was in the bite zone my rod-tip was slammed over!
“What followed was the best fight from a perch I’ve ever had, as the ‘unit’ I was attached to battled through the current. I managed to keep it away from the snags, and eventually it rolled into the net.
“I weighed it at 3lb 6oz, and didn’t think I’d be able to better that, but another cast soon afterwards was met with the same thud on the rod top, followed by a heavy headshake.
“It was another big perch, which put up a great account of itself, and weighed a PB-equalling 3lb 10oz – giving me a brace for 7lb! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds.”
Paul Bailey – 4lb 15oz perch
“I’ve been fishing a short stretch of my local canal that’s ignored by most anglers. It’s full of fallen branches and snags, and has very overgrown banks, but a few nettles have never deterred me.
“A couple of weeks ago, I landed a perch of 4lb 12oz from the area, and this week I landed what could be same fish, this time weighing 4lb 15oz.
“I cast out my legered jumbo prawn hookbait, which I’d dyed yellow, next to an overhanging willow. After only 15 minutes it was away, and I soon connected to something powerful. The fish knew every snag in the swim, but eventually I had it on the bank. I’ll be back later in the season, when they’re hopefully even heavier!”
James Champkin – 4lb 7oz perch
“MUCH modern-day stillwater fishing revolves around casting great distances, but for perch I find the marginal shelf a deadly area to target.
“In itself, the slope is a great feature, but when you add in overhanging trees and other snags you can really see its appeal, particularly when the open water is a large, featureless abyss.
“Last season, I spent autumn and winter targeting perch on just such a water in Essex. It’s a big venue, going down to 18ft just a few rodlengths out. I caught virtually nothing out in the middle, but in the margins I found perch. Returning last week, I had my best yet from there – a 4lb 7oz PB-equalling fish, caught at the bottom of a steep marginal slope next to a large fallen tree.
“Alongside the edges being a great place to target, they also allow you to fish in a way I much prefer to the conventional bite alarm and multiple rod approach.
“I fish a lobworm on a super-soft glass quivertip with a light link leger, often with just a double SSG shot for weight. This is important, as it allows the hookbait to fall slowly through the deep water, which I believe gives much more time for it to catch the eye of a nearby perch.
“By fishing close in I can also steadily feed maggots and broken lobworms very accurately with a catapult. This gives me a steady trickle of bait falling through the water column, which I think is more attractive than bait introduced by more cumbersome Spombs and feeders.
“Lures can also be productive, but for me they’re most effective when trying to locate shoals of big perch. On this venue, as I learned last season, the big perch seem to be completely solitary. It appears to hold a very low stock of them, and I’ve never caught more than one big perch in a swim. In fact, I’ve never even had more than one of them in a session!
“Timing is also key, and last year I found that autumn was a vastly superior time to catch the perch from this pit. All the big fish I managed came before Christmas, and despite fishing through the remainder of winter I racked up blank after blank.
“Consequently, this season I was keen to make the more of this fruitful period – hitting the lake hard now, then concentrating on other targets later in winter.
“On my return I had been fishing for just 45 minutes when the tip wrenched round, and I found myself playing a heavy fish. I kept telling myself it was a pike, mainly to ease the blow if it fell off! Fortunately, it stayed on, and after several powerful runs, an enormous stripey rose from the depths and I wasted no time in slipping the net under it!
“It was a great result from a tricky venue, made even more rewarding having put lessons from last year into place.
“If you’ve got your sights on a big stillwater perch this autumn, make sure to give the margins a go. They’re a fantastic area, and if you enjoy using traditional tactics, as I do, you’ll certainly enjoy the fishing!”