I fished the Blythe yet again for one last session before the closed season. I fished the same peg as last time hoping to tempt a big Perch out from under the branches. Steve told me he had been there the previous night too, however he had blanked and had lost a couple of his rigs to a snag on the left of the swim. The evidence was clear to see in the form of two of his floats neatly tucked together against a snag on the left hand side of a hole in the vegetation.
The water temp at the start was 8 deg C rising to 8.5 when I packed up at the end of my session. I fished the same tactics as before and tried my best not to suffer the same fate as Steve. However after a couple of casts to settle the float I received an indication that was cause enough for me to strike. Whether or not it was a fish biting I will never know. I lost the rig when the line became snagged on some unseen obstruction, the line parting above the float as I tried to pull it free!
While I was setting up my second float I noticed the one I had just lost starting to move, it bobbed once, then twice, then slid away under the surface.
Typical I thought ! stranger still however was that it reappeared in the middle of the river near to me and fully cocked, moving with the flow downstream I thought at first?
I grabbed the landing net and tried to lunge for it but the float just bobbed then sank under again moving diagonally away from me again towards a tree on the opposite bank. The fish was obviously still attached I thought about trying to cast round it if I saw it again.
After adjusting my shot to about 4" from the hook, the next cast was perfect right on target and as soon the float had settled it bobbed then sank under. I struck and met that familiar resistance you get from a fish on the end. I managed to pull the fish away from the snags and after a short fight it was netted. At 1lb 5oz it was still a reasonable fish and I was encouraged to continue in the peg, even though it seemed more snags were present under water now than the previous session here.
A 1lb 5oz cracker to round off the mini campaign
I re-baited and cast in again, another good cast, if not better than the last. I only comment on this because the margin for error is huge in this peg. You are aiming to 'pendulum' swing the bait into the middle of a gap only about a foot wide and not to far across or your in the branches on the far bank.
Get it right here and a bite is pretty much guaranteed. Too far left and you lose your rig, not far enough in the gap and your float will get dragged out of position by the slightly stronger flow nearer the middle to be dragged to where Steve's ended up.
So as I said I fluked another cast and sat down to wait. After only a couple of minutes the float bobbed, then bobbed again, then moved across to the right purposefully and slid under the surface. I struck and felt the rod curve over, I was met with a solid resistance then it started to rise up in the water. A good fish was on! I tried to pull the fish away from the far bank but then I felt a kick as it shook it's head and then disaster! The line complete with float pinged back across the river past my head and into the foliage behind me. As this happened I saw the flash of a large fish a few inches under the surface, the pale green/yellow colour of a perch's flank shining as it caught the fading light from the sky. It sank back down into the gloomy green water and was gone.
I retrieved my line thinking the hook had pulled, but the line had in fact broke near the hook. It dawned on me then what had just happened. I had just lost a proper fish, I don't want to guess at how big but it felt bigger than any perch I had hooked before. Steve confirmed later that a similar thing had happened to him twice in this peg before, and he has managed to land a 3 from here. He is convinced that there are even bigger fish still residing there, I will never know how big that one was but you I think you just know when you've lost a good fish !
I didn't feel too disheartened afterwards and I had caught another 1lb er after all. I feel worse about it now mainly because the season is over and I may not get to fish for the Perch there again till next autumn. Still Perching isn't quite over yet for me as I have set my sights on the Fazeley and Coventry canals, plus a nice still water I pass on my way home from work that I have reliable information holds some 3 pounders.
I did manage have another cast after I lost the fish, but by now the light was fading fast and it wasn't long before my eyes started to trip out, and I couldn't trust them to see a bite properly. An interesting thing occurred though as I saw the float I lost earlier come past me again with fish still obviously attached (think the movie Jaws the bit with the balloons) ! I watched it move down the river past the tree on the far bank, until I lost sight again.
During this session I discovered to my cost that my mainline was no longer up to the job and will have to be changed. I have used it for two seasons now and the weakening process that must occur after that amount of time definitely took it's toll. It shows how important it is to always have the best quality tackle especially line and terminal tackle, and I suffered the consequences of not making sure mine was up to scratch.