I’d been looking forward to the next Perchfishers event for several months. It was held on a wonderful looking gravel pit in Kent. Not known for it’s Perch it was to be a bit of a “unknown quantity” which made the prospect even more exciting. As it was a long drive I set off on the Friday and arrived with a bit of daylight left in readiness for fishing on the Saturday and Sunday. The fishery owner kindly showed Mr C and I around the fishery and we settled on comfortable swims that would see us sheltered from the 60mph winds that were due on the Saturday. The rest of the lads showed up early Saturday morning and between us all we fished all over the 40 acre gravel pit.
Now I do like gravel pit fishing although I haven’t done any for a long time, mainly because i’m a river man. The water was the clearest i’ve ever seen with the exception of the River Lathkill in Derbyshire. You could see the bottom in 8 feet of water without any problems whatsoever. I fished two open ended feeders a few rod lengths out with a driftbeater float on the third rod a couple of rod lengths out ensuring I setup well back from the waters edge so as not too spook any fish. I know gravel pits can be notoriously fickle made even worse by the turn in weather from mild to very cold overnight but I remained confident even though I wasn’t expecting hundreds of bites.
As the day wore on without any bites I still expected a fish or two as the swim I was in was perfect. I was confident in my rigs and kept feeding a small amount of bait every so often. Dusk came but still no fish arrived. Not too downhearted we still had another day so we put a bit of bait in and left it overnight before resuming fishing on the Sunday. I had a chat with Mr C and we decided if we hadn’t had a bite in a couple of hours we would go for a wander with the lure rod and that is exactly what happened.
We walked down to a likely looking spot and before I cast out I said “this looks like Pike City” and on my very first cast a feisty jack hit my lure. Only a small fish about 5lb but it was a beautiful looking fish with the biggest most perfectly formed tail that I have seen on a Pike. Had the weather not been so freezing I’d have got a photo. We continued wandering around the lake fishing and chatting to our fellow perchfishers and by the time we arrived back at our swims we’d had 5 Pike between us.
As the day drew to a close it was apparent that the fishing had been hard for us all as out of the 12 people perch fishing, 11 people had blanked. Despite this it had been a wonderful weekend in great company and I really look forward to these events as you never know what to expect.
On the way home I decided to go to the river the next day. I was desperate to get my string pulled and the water levels looked about right. I arrived in my chosen swim well in advance of daylight. I cast one rod upstream and one downstream and sat there poised to strike. Back in familiar surroundings I was ultra confident. There was the odd fry dimpling the surface next to the reeds and a couple of decent fish swirled mid-river. It’s not an area of river where you get loads of bites but when they do come they are normally decent fish.
Mid-morning arrived and I hadn’t had a bite. What the hell was going on? I was fishing well with the tackle and baits all setup correctly. Just before lunch I decided a move was on the cards so I dropped down into the next swim. My confidence was sky high as i’d had Perch upto 4.15 from this swim in the past. Eventually around 3pm there was a slight flick on the downstream quiver before slowly it pulled round. I hit into something fairly solid but this turned out to be a small Pike. It caused quite a commotion so I was expecting the swim to be ruined for what time was left. I cast out again and a short time later I had another bite that I inexplicably missed. The only consolation being that it didn’t look perchy but more like another Pike. I continued on until dark with no more bites forthcoming.
I never imagined I could go 3 days fishing with a worm and not catch a Perch. Despite the obvious disappointments I can’t wait to get back on the river again.