Thursday, 7 April 2011
Big Perch on the Fly
The same old cliches tend to persist about fly fishing-especially in unfamiliar territory such as a canal. "Elaborate", "fussy" and the classic "aren't you just making things more difficult for yourself?" Er, no. I love the elegance of the method, yes- but I'm no fan of rarified but useless methods. On its day, the fly is a match for any approach.
My latest session was a point in case- in total contrast to a recent joyless five hours using specimen tactics for perch, casting a fly feels quite liberating. You can tease a fly slower than any lure and it's great fun to feel every nip and pluck through your fingers. After an inevitable early pike, I thought I'd hooked another- before a slower, thumping fight said otherwise. I nearly had a heart attack as it neared the net- and then another when the scales showed 3lbs 2oz minus the net! I've been after a canal perch like this for a long time- the usual customer closer to three ounces.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the perch fly fisher is the lack of flies or info. It's true, big perch fall to pike flies or trout lures sometimes- but the former tend to be too big, the latter rather small. I also like a well weighted pattern when the fish are holding deep, and for this reason I like a fly with dumbell eyes designed to stay deep and fish hook point up to avoid snagging, much like a jig or the classic Clouser Minnow. My versions are simple enough- a tail of EP fibres or arctic runner mixed with Krystal flash or similar, a body of fritz or sparkly dubbing, a grizzle hackled collar and a dumbell head to "flip" the fly over to fish point upwards. White and yellow are favourite colours:
For more on the subject of catching perch on flies, a big recommendation would be my book "Flyfishing for Coarse Fish", which has patterns, tactics and lots more. Turrall also now produce special purpose made flies too, which you'll also find on my website here: DG FISHING I also offer South West anglers guided fishing for various coarse species on the fly, including perch.