Perching on the Prawn…

Although better known for catching carp, if Brian Skoyles comes across a venue with perch potential he usually cannot resist giving it a go.

As a young lad growing up in Norfolk in the sixties I was lucky to regularly fish Oulton Broad which was a prolific Perch venue. I’ve never lost my affection for “Old Stripey”.

I’d read about a venue near York, called Westerly Lake, on a local forum, when I was looking for possible winter carp venues not too far from home. It seemed worth a visit, so early January I popped out for a day session. It turned out to be a small lake, with plenty of features and a lot of potential. Lots of quality roach, plenty of carp and talking to the owner, some big perch, I was starting to like the look of Westerly.

Initially I tried for the carp and over a couple of trips caught several; mostly lovely hard fighting commons about 7-8lbs, but watching a couple of other anglers what really impressed me was the quality of the silver fishing. I decided another visit was in order but this time targeting the roach and the perch. The roach fishing was superb and I also managed to land two perch, without really targeting them so my next trip was to be specifically for the perch.

I wouldn’t class myself as a perch specialist, so my tactics tend to be fairly basic and for this trip my approach would be legered prawn. I arrived about midday and set up with a light running leger set-up on my Specialist Rod/Caldia Reel combo, bait was raw tiger prawn.

A gentle underhand cast was made so the prawn landed just off the marginal reeds, and I followed this with a few bits of chopped prawn around it. I had no idea what to expect, but that’s the magic of a new water. I didn’t have long to wait, as the Delkim signalled some twitchy movement of the light-weight hanger, something was interested in my tiger prawn. This was repeated several times and I was coming to the conclusion that it was just small fish, when one of the twitchy movements became a steady lift of the hanger to the rod and the resulting strike was met with a solid resistance at the other end. A few minutes later I had my first proper Westerly perch, a fish of just over two pounds. I was well pleased, as I wasn’t particularly expecting any action so soon in the afternoon.

Fishing a legered prawn is technically very simple, but can be very effective so with the rod recast and a few more bits of chopped prawn thrown in, I was in confident mood, especially as I’d had a fish so early in the session. It wasn’t long before again I started getting signs of interest, and I rested my hand on the rod ready to strike. It was a good move, as a second confident lift of the hanger was again met with solid resistance. Another lovely perch, in pristine condition, this time 2lbs 12oz, time for a picture.

As the afternoon progressed I had three more over two, and lost one which I caught a glimpse of and would have liked to have landed as it looked at least as big as the 2lbs 12oz. All too soon it was time to pack away. I would have loved to fish on but Westerly is day only and I couldn’t be unhappy with 5 two pound plus fish, in fact I was over the moon!

Westerly is a lovely venue, with great potential. The owners Geoff and Barbara take a great deal of pride in how well they look after the lake and its facilities and they couldn’t be more helpful, I will certainly be going back, the only problem will be will it be for the carp, or the roach, or the perch? Oh dear, decisions, decisions, decisions.