Winter, a time for big Perch
14 November 2019
As we move from autumn into winter and the days are cold and crisp, new fishing opportunities make themselves available.
This is the time for Perch!
Perch thrive in the commercial carp style venues like our Mamhead match lake and Ashcombe Carp Pool, I could write a whole blog on why this habitat is perfect for growing big stripy’s but here’s the key reasons:
Neglect: Generally, the Perch are not fished for, so they have little angling pressure. The most common baits on these venues are pellets, meat, corn, midi boilies and paste, all of which hold little appeal for the Perch.
Coloured Water: With the high stocking density of this style of lake, the water tends to be coloured for most of the year. This gives the Perch long periods to feed, using its superior eyesight.
Abundance of Food: Big Perch feed primarily on small fish. These small bait fish benefit from all the bait that is put in the lake for the Carp and in doing so flourish. Lots of small fish means big Perch.
For much of the summer the Perch are feeding on small fry and fish and are difficult to catch on conventional baits. Added to this that the Carp are at their most active and fishing baits desirable to Perch like Prawn, Worm, Maggots and Caster are just as desirable to the large number of Carp present making it hard to target the Perch at this time.
In the winter months with the temperatures low, the carp activity is greatly reduced. The numbers of small bait fish has fallen and the Perch have to work a little harder for a meal. Circumstances now present the best time to fish for these impressive fish.
With all this in mind I made my way to our Ashcombe carp pool to see if I could tempt one of the big Perch that reside in this water
Plan of attack: Fish light up in the water with small hooks and small baits to catch silver fish. Try to maximise small fish activity, this will attract the Perch to the area. Every so often drop down onto the bottom below the feeding silver fish with a big bait of worm or prawn and snare a big stripy!
Swim Choice: Choosing to fish in this way, you are hoping to attract the Perch to you. This is much different than trying to tempt them from ambush swims where you are fishing to features. I chose swim 2 which gave me open water in front and a reed bed to my right and my line of attack was about 3 meters off the reed bed.
Tackle: Today im going to fish the pole which will allow me to easily change between rigs and fish with greater speed for the roach to build the swim activity. The up in the water rig aimed at catching the roach is fished with a 2.5lb mono hooklink to a size 20 hook. The big bait rig is 3.3lb fluorocarbon hook length to size 12 hook.
Tip: Fluorocarbon’s low visibility is a great edge in winter, when the water starts to clear as Perch have fantastic eyesight.
Bait: The bait table is loaded with maggot, caster, worm, prawn and sweet micro pellet.
I’ve caught lots of big Perch on prawn over the years, for me fresh prawn is better than frozen. Frozen prawn is blast chilled in an ice coating and as it defrosts it takes away a lot of its attraction. This also happens to the bait in the water and because of this I change the hook bait on every cast.
Worm can be fished in bunches but big Perch seem to like taking small pieces of worm so always have a play with bait size. Caster is an excellent Perch bait that really comes into its own after a heavy frost or in the coldest conditions. Maggot is here primarily to catch the Roach up in the water, but the Perch readily take them and I have caught many big Perch on the Roach rig when fishing in this way. As with the maggot the micro pellet is here as an attractor for the silver fish. As with this style of venue, pellet is fed lots for the carp which makes this a top attractor for the small fish. Groundbait is a great alternative, but the ease of use of pellet has made it my choice in recent years.
Tip: If your having problems keeping prawn on the hook or small fish are pulling it off, use a bait band and banding tool to mount the prawn. This is great when on the waggler or ledgering as the bait can now survive a forceful cast.
So how did the session go? I started by feeding micro pellet and maggot through the toss pot a little bit, but with every put in. A steady stream of roach up to 8oz followed the perfect start. I got to the point where I was getting an instant bite and so it was time to have a look on the bottom. I changed over rigs and baited with a prawn. 5 minutes of inactivity passed so when straight back to the maggot rig and repeated the process. Next put in on the bottom resulted in a small carp to a bunch of worms. I was back on the maggot rig and started picking up carp on this rig to.
I fished hard right up until dark as the last hour of light is the magic time for Perch, but unfortunately did not encounter any Perch. The last hour the bigger Carp moved in and I managed to extract a double figure Common. At the end of the session I had landed 9 Carp and lost a few along the way. The amount of Carp in the swim especially in the golden hour certainly didn’t help with targeting the Perch, but as they say there is always next time. It’s a great way to fish to increase your chances of catching big Perch and with plenty of action very enjoyable to.
The Carp were just too active and moved on to the bait.
Some of your kind words...
A brilliant stay as always. We stayed in a cottage this time which was beautiful and very well equipped. Lots of lovely little touches with a welcome hamper and lots of board games. Hubbie was well impressed with the huge TV too. Loved the courtyard and we were lucky enough to have the weather to BBQ 2 of the days. All the staff from reception to the shop to the entertainment were friendly and very accommodating of both my girls. Used the chippy which has recently changed hands and the food was still great. There is lots to do, loved the swimming, the zip wire, the park and walk in the woods and around the fishing lake. Have to be honest though we missed the caravan...... will definitely be back, hopefully in the Fernworthy van with the hot tub.
Had an amazing weeks holiday. The park was immaculate, the outdoor pool was spotless and the cleaning blocks were cleaned regularly. All the staff were very helpful and the shop on site was reasonably priced. We went with two kids (aged 6 and 7) and our dog, the kids were never bored and had an amazing holiday. We will definitely be returning next year!
My family and I stayed for 5 nights in July, aged between 13 and 40 and we all had a brilliant family stay. The teenagers loved the outdoor pool and the woods and we all loved the donkeys. I’ve been coming here since I was a child and it’s still got a lovely relaxing atmosphere and has all the facilities you could want for a camping holiday. I must say the fish and chip shop is the best we have ever had at a holiday park, reasonable prices and good sized portions. We have booked to come back again on 25th August for a week and can’t wait!
I visited when my relatives came over from Canada and fell in love. I was lucky enough to stay for a week last August for my sons 2nd birthday. It has got to be one of my favourite places to go. Absolutely beautiful, quiet, good facilities, lovely restaurants. The staff are outstanding. I can't wait to come back again this year!
Stayed in campervan for a weekend. Great campsite good location, plenty of things for all to do. Great fishing lakes all in a short walk through the woodland to the lovely Dawlish Warren and Dawlish. Couldn't fault.
Highbridge, United Kingdom
We have had a wonderful experience, the site is very clean, ALL the staff were friendly and helpful especially the bar supervisor, entertainment was second to none, we'll 100% return...
The Warren Family
I just want to say how impressed my fellow Motorhomers and Caravaners were with the welcome and service we received during our stay. Staff in the office were polite and helpful at all times. Scott the restaurant manager was most accommodating when I enquired about reserving space for 25 to 30 of us for lunch after a walk. The service in the restaurant was speedy the food hot and varied. We were very pleased with the standards. Staff in the restaurant were cheerful and polite and helped make our meal most enjoyable. We had such a good time that we will be returning again next year for our Xmas Rally.
The best holiday park we've been to in our motorhome. Our children aged 2 and 4 loved it. Great facilities, entertainment and activities in one of the best parts of Devon!
Delicious fish and chips, friendly and helpful staff and delightful woodland.
Suze - Cornwall
Good location and dog walking, we'll be back and it can't come quick enough.
David - Portsmouth.
Loved the Zumba class! Can't wait to come back!
Elise - Exeter.
A* facilities, always very clean. The pool and food offer great value for money!
Stayed in Honeysuckle Cottage, stunning views over the Exe Estuary.. fantastic place for a family holiday
Ian - Australia.
My little girls aged 2,3 and 5 loved the entertainment.. all they can remember is fun, fun and more fun!
Anonymous - Cheshire.
Quiet and relaxing in a stunning location.. Can't wait to return
Ethan R, Burnham-on-Sea
We usually camp 3 times a year and hire a caravan after the Christmas break at Cofton, and will continue to do so. We thoroughly recommend staying there. Great for families or just the 2 of you.
Jilly B, Cheltenham
Go for swimming and food at this fabulous holiday camp... facilities A-star so clean and just great value for money would defo use over and over again which I do.... I'm a regular visitor. Dip and dine always good option as the food and snacks are fantastic in the bar cafe area near swimming pool!
Excellent toilet block and lovely hot showers. The on site pub was spot on with really friendly staff..
Joan L, Bromsgrove
The superbly equipped Woodside Cottage was beautifully clean with a fantastic Hot Tub. Waking up to horses and cows in the rear field.. stunning!
So friendly and clean, it’s a home from home and we couldn’t go a year with a visit!
Bernice Procter, Swindon
I always pay a visit to Amelia's Pantry, you can just Relax, Indulge and Enjoy!
‘Wonderful facilities, especially the swimming pools! In a lovely setting, for us it is simply the best campsite we have found.’
Margaret Hayes, Leeds
We have been coming to Cofton since 2009 and have stayed at least 12 times. We love everything about Cofton: the location and scenery in and around the park, the quality and cleanliness of accommodation, the friendly welcoming atmosphere; Everything about Cofton is great!
Ethan Robinson, Somerset
‘Dog walks, cycling, lovely country pubs… It suits our every need’
Kay Hancock, Bristol