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  1. #1
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    Default GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    Today I couldn't stand it any longer and I cracked.
    I really didn't want to fish the local canal but waiting for the rivers to be fishable is just getting silly now.
    In desperation I headed out to the GUC only about a mile from my home - I needed to catch something, anything!
    The water was surprisingly clear - the **** weather has scared the boats away.
    The perch fishing has been really poor for the last couple of seasons though, even for really small ones and the silver fishing in winter is almost impossible. I was expecting 3 or 4 tiddly perch before darkness would call an end to the "sport" in couple of hours time.
    Very first chuck, just below a lock in the shade of a bridge:

    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-perchguc_16_nov_19-jpg

    That was the start I wanted!

    It had actually been just over a full month since I'd been fishing last - that has not happened in the previous 20 years!
    I might have been a small perch but it felt great to feel the kick of a fish which was made even better by the rod I was using - Sunray "Zero". The best rod I've ever used/owned especially for coarse and smaller fish.
    It was still set up exactly as my last outing at Brixham harbour fishing for wrasse and pollack back on the 12th October.
    The last fish I caught on it and on the same fly as the perch! Corkwing wrasse:
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-wrasse_brixham_12_oct_19-jpg

    You know things work when the same rig and flies catch in the sea one week and a dirty canal in the midland another.

    After the instant start though & despite the lock/bridge area looking worth at least 2 or 3 more I never had another knock.
    10 minutes of walking to the next lock was in order - with a couple of stops at bridges on route both of which produced zilch.
    I was starting to appreciate that fist cast fish more and more. ;-)
    The next lock was half empty - not perfect but better than it being completely full and it usually holds a stripy or two.
    A cast a few yards along down the lock gave up another after waiting a minute of so for the tungsten bead flies to reach the deck. It was maybe 8 or 9 feet deep with the water level as it was, between the closed lock gates, not 12 or 13 as it would have been when full.
    Next cast another and after that a slightly better one which bent the "zero" almost double- it is such a fun rod.

    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-perchguc_16_nov_191-jpg
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  2. #2
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    Another small one came out of the lock itself and I recon I could have kept catching there for a while longer but with limited time I wanted to try below the lock - the grass is always greener. ;-)
    Here it was better but the fish smaller, I was getting action though. Plenty of taps and fish landed including a double header - there must have been a few about.

    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-perchguc_16_nov_192-jpg

    I added about a dozen small perch from this area to take my tally up to 16 in about an hour and a quarter...not so bad after all.
    The next decision I made wasn't as great though - 15 minute walk to the next lock which didn't even produce so much as a solitary knock. ;-(

    The river Soar over the fields on route to that lock:
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-perchguc_16_nov_193-jpg
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-perchguc_16_nov_194-jpg

    The rivers have been like that on and off for about 2 months now. That is after about 24 hours dry it would have been even bigger yesterday.

    Back to the fishing...time was running out. By the time I got back to the productive lock it was almost dark and too late for the perch. ;-(
    I should have stuck there and milked it.
    Oh well, I caught some fish but I really hope it's not a month until the next session and that that is on flowing water.
    Who know with the weather this autumn/winter so far though?
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  3. #3
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    I always enjoy reading your reports Dave....aw the best..

  4. #4
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    Inspired by these posts I grabbed my 1# rod and headed down to my local stretch of the GUC.

    The rivers around here are dropping, but far from ideal.
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-r1-jpg

    The bad weather doesn't seem to have affected the boating near here, one came through as I was setting up, and I had about one every five minutes after that. As a consequence the visibility was down to a couple of inches.

    There's no locks near here, and the bridges are haunted by Zander, so I fished the shallower edges concentrating on anywhere with a bit of overhanging vegetation.

    The retrieves were a combination of medium paced figure of eight, mixed with a more jigging, almost lure fishing action.

    The main fly was an attractor nymph (sticking with the theme of this thread) and I also tied on a silver doctor, mainly down to the fact I had a very limited number of flies on me.
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-f1-jpg

    In the end I only managed one fish for 25 minutes fishing.

    It was exactly as you would expect in these conditions. A small, pale Perch with eyes bigger than it's belly.

    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-p1-jpg

    At the end of the day, a fish is a fish, and I got half an hours fresh air and exercise.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    On Wednesday I had to take documents to my accountant so on the way back took a detour to the Thurlaston brook- a small Soar tributary.
    The exact location was Watery Gates - a ford across the brook which is usually under 12 inches deep and a popular spot with families in the summer.
    On Wednesday the approach road was closed and the ford was closer to a yard deep and rather than a crossing of 10 or 12 meters it was more like 40!
    It had been considerably deeper and wider days earlier though. Then it would have been a couple of hundred yards wide!
    I had a quick look and decided I was there, with a rod ready rigged in the boot, so might as well have a quick dabble. For some reason I felt there was a good chance of a fish which considering this is a pretty poor spot in perfect condition was quite strange. It was huge compared to normal. The main brook was only just back inside it's banks and flowing at a disturbing rate plus was carrying lots of silt.
    ...but at the head of the ford the brook widened from its usual narrow channel and the flow looked reasonable plus there looked to be 5 or so inches of visibility. Now if there were any fish in that spot and I could get a fly within a few inches of it's nose and get it to take...
    I decided this was the spot to catch if anywhere was going to produce so grabbed my rod and headed to the small area of firm ground at the head of the ford.
    The same flies as on Saturday were pitched downstream into the middle of the channel and allowed to sink on a tight line then slowly inched back.
    The ford downstream from my fishing spot:
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-20-11-19_waterygates_thurlaston5-jpg

    5 minutes in I had a 100% definite knock. Not a leaf, twig, stone or some other debris as it had been on each previous retrieve but a living tap! Maybe I wasn't so dumb fishing this spot in the stupid conditions and without bait after all.
    The tap had galvanised my concentration but no more signs of life were forthcoming until I tried a little further over in a slower seam of the current. I was at full stretch with the 10' 8" Sunray Zero and was wishing I'd got it rigged at it's longer 11' 8" length or had my waders on.
    A couple more tiny taps got me worrying I was going to blow the one swim without hooking up.
    I tried even further over where the water shallowed up towards the far bank and had a really positive take on the drop but still no hook up.
    The next chuck over to the far side though was different. The line seemed to tremble and twitch over about 18" of retrieve...finally I struck and felt the bump, bump of a small roach. Yes. Fish from a no hope situation. ;-)
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-20-11-19_waterygates_thurlaston6-jpg

    Small but hard to catch when things are in your favour...this was a result.
    I was happy with that one and could have easily headed back home to work...job done after 10 minutes but 2 fish would make it not a fluke...
    Another missed tap and again from the far side a few minutes later a little chublet was in my hand. ;-)
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-20-11-19_waterygates_thurlaston1-jpg
    I was now starting to think maybe the brook around here had improved recently and actually held one or two especially for me to catch against all odds.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  6. #6
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    I carried on for another 10 minutes. Milking the far side hotspot - well trying to. A couple more missed knocks was all I could muster.
    Just upstream the water looked really good. It looked very roachy but I was downstream and couldn't get above the "good" water due to the floods and my Vans not doubling as chest waders. I could only look at it wish I was in the perfect spot. Just to my side of the main flow though the water was backing up slightly under an overhanging hawthorn.
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-20-11-19_waterygates_thurlaston2-jpg

    It looked right so the flies were catapulted under the branches where the flow was just moving away from me - got to fish against the flow for silver fish in winter. One of the rules I fish by.
    An almost instant take and it was fish number 3, another roach. ;-)
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-20-11-19_waterygates_thurlaston-jpg

    The fish was witnessed by a passing cyclist. I could tell he was super surprised to see someone actually fishing that brook - it really is just fished by kids in summer with minnow nets. Plus given the conditions but to actually see a fish caught! He gave me a thumbs up and a very surprised look.
    I tried a little longer but think all of good micro spots within my swim were milked and I had work to be getting on with so called it.
    3 small silver fish in about 25 minutes had me wondering why I'd been avoiding all the flooded rivers recently.
    Maybe I just hit on the hot spot- only slack water for 100s of meters but it has got me thinking.
    Some of you may recognise the ford picture. It was the scene of the mildly famous photo of myself and Dominic Garnett sitting on a sofa in the middle of a brook fishing. That picture appearing in Angling Times, was shot of the month in Fly Fishing and Fly tying and is the back page of Dom's great little book Crooked Lines.
    It was nice to finally catch something within casting range of where that picture was taken. ;-)
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  7. #7
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    It couldn't happen. Three consecutive weekends on the local brooks was never going to happen not with the precipitation this autumn breaking records more often than Coe and Ovett in the early 1980s.
    The brooks would have been perfect on Thursday but rain all day yesterday had the River Soar close to bursting out into the fields again. ;-(
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-guc_7_12_19-jpg
    The rivers were a total no hoper so it would be back to the local stand-in the GUC.
    After the great roach fishing I'd had last week on the little River Ise in Kettering I wasn't expecting much from the canal. There had been half a dozen frosts last week so despite it being mild today I expected the only dependable winter fish in the cut, perch, to be tricky. Oh well, I was sure I'd find a few and 5 or 6 would keep me happy until next week plus the sun was out so any fish would be a bonus.
    I headed strait to the lock that had produced a few weeks back expecting a repeat performance but maybe with not quite as much action due to the previous cold snap. After 5 or 6 casts without a knock, from the half full lock, I was starting to have my doubts. The water was really clear for the GUC. Normally a good thing for the perch but not if they were sulking dormant on the deck.
    Eventually right at the far end of the lock which felt like my own little private rectangular pond I had a tap and felt a perch on...for a few seconds...
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-guc_7_12_19_lock-jpg
    The next flick was right into the far corner of the lock. Just as the fly line was dipping under the surface, indicating the flies were getting closer to the concrete featureless floor, it seemed to sink a little faster than expected. Yes, perch on and a nice one - for this canal anyway. Absolutely average, even small, for most waters. ;-)
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-guc_7_12_19_perch-jpg
    It may have even been the same perch I had from the lock the last time out?
    It had christened my new rod well. Well the same rod I've been using for months but I'd purchased another one as they were half price for that horrible November sale that is all the rage. This time I'd gone for the cork handled version. If any of you ever get the chance to handle one you'll see why I love it so much. Every other fly rod I own seems like a poker in comparison. I've mentioned it before - the Sunray "Zero".
    Sorry, if I sound like I'm plugging it -I am! I've no affiliation with the company or the owner, Tom Bell, I just absolutely love the rod.
    Next casts I lost another smaller perch and then couldn't buy bite. I tried bellow the lock, above it, changed to a tiny point fly, fished slower, faster but nothing was happening.
    One perch caught and 2 on 'n' off was it. Last time I'd had about 20 from the lock area. The cold really had bumped the perch...or cormorants or Polish or they had simply moved or me being ****?

    NOTE: I've just checked the pictures and that perch IS the same fish as two weeks ago. It has a little scar/mark on the waist of the tail - can be seen in both pics. That is why we catch and release.
    Last edited by Skateboard Dave; 08-12-2019 at 10:28 PM.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  8. #8
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    Part 2.
    Since I'd had a fish and the sun was out I tried a few swims that I'd have normally simply marched past on the way to the next lock. They only confirmed why I usually chose to ignore them - no action but maybe I was half hearted in my efforts?
    I carried on along the slippery, muddy toe path to the next bridge where a perch might be hiding, in it's shade, although it had suddenly gotten rather more cloudy. ;-(
    A couple of casts here were fruitless but as I headed to the lock just bellow the bridge I couldn't believe what I saw...silver fish hanging a foot down in the shaded water. I wasn't expecting and silver action today. I simply lowered my tiny point fly down amongst the small shoal and watched one of them move 6 inches forward, pause and suck in the fake morsel.
    Winter rudd!
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-guc_7_12_19_rudd-jpg
    You have to make the most of any opportunities and I did just that managing to get another to take a few seconds later. After that one the shoal had dispersed but I was super happy with 2 bonus rudd.
    Not 40 yards away at the gates to the next lock I noticed a subtle rise, More rudd! I only spotted two but managed to catch one of them, result.
    Save for that rudd the lock was a washout - no action at all.
    I headed downstream to the Soar Valley Way - a wide modern bridge where the dual carriageway spans the canal.
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-guc_7_12_19_bridge-jpg
    I've had small perch from this bridge previously and often seen little silver fish shading themselves there but in summer not winter.
    Today there were definitely some fish around as several times something unseen and big panicked a shoal just sub surface. You don't miss disturbance like that on a calm bit of water! I even saw a few slivers swimming by midwater where the light penetrated at the angle.
    I was rigged for perch but missed several takes and even lost what I think was a good roach. After 5 or 6 missed knocks I re-rigged for small fish. Off came the heavy top dropper and it was tiny flies on both positions something that has always been a waste of time previously in winter on the GUC. I've tried so many times but only ever caught 9 or 10 fish ever like that. Today that changed! Not stupidly but I caught 6 roach, a couple of rudd and a tiny, really tiny, perch. The bridge was fun. Plenty of takes but they were hard to hit plus I had a couple of really nice feeling fish come adrift on the strike - bigger roach?
    One of the roach:
    GUC Perch - desperate for a fish-guc_7_12_19_roach-jpg
    This had me wondering if I should try for silver fish more often on the cut. I just have to find the right swims and maybe I can catch every time?
    For the last few minutes I decided to march to the "White House". Below the White House lock is a dead stretch of about 100 yards before the Soar joins the canal which often fills with fish when the river is flooded, like today.
    I managed another 4 rudd from below that lock and a couple more tiny perch. There were lots of rudd topping but I couldn't be bothered with changing to spiders or unweighted flies. I think a dozen or more could have been snagged quite easily if I had.
    All in all a much better session than I expected. I thought it would be only perch but ended with 6 roach, 10 rudd and 4 perch.
    The session got me thinking loads though which is always my favourite. Just catching loads doing the same old thing is nice but boring after a while. Working hard and figuring stuff out is what fishing is all about.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  9. #9

    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    Got to say, i bl**dy love your threads, posts, you offer something different, a great read and inspiring.

    Thank you.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: GUC Perch - desperate for a fish

    Quote Originally Posted by black and silver View Post
    Got to say, i bl**dy love your threads, posts, you offer something different, a great read and inspiring.

    Thank you.
    Thanks B&S.
    That means a lot.

    I've always done things differently in my fishing and that has carried on into my fly fishing days. Unlike most fly fishermen I started off fishing for coarse fish not trout. I had fly fished for a several years before I caught a trout or ventured onto a trout reservoir. I'd caught a good few coarse fish species by then though.
    In the last 10 years I've only fished local (ish) coarse brooks & canals or the sea (29 sea species to the fly so far) all on fly only which isn't the usual for a fly fisherman.
    My aim has always been to see what could be caught and from where so I like to tick off species and venues.
    I think it all started long before I'd ever fly fished. As a fishing mad kid my favourite angling book, owned by my father, was one of the "How to Catch Them" series that Angling Times published in the 1960s - Fly Fishing for Coarse Fish. It had to be that book!
    I read that so many times and dreamt of one day being able to catch all the species they covered but with my own fly rod & flies.
    Fast forward 40 odd years and here I am doing my own thing.
    I hope you keep enjoying my posts - another coming tonight as I got out on a brook today! ;-)
    ATB

    Dee
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

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