I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to get round to writing this particular blog post about my big Perch fishing through last winter. I have been on a quest for a 4lb Perch on a lure for 3 years now. Here’s a couple of links to my Perch fishing through the winter of 2016 and of winter 2017, where I caught some fantastic fish and actually came within 1 ounce of my target with a big Perch of 3 lb 15 oz. This blog post covers the winter just gone, 2018 into 2019. The third winter on the trot of really grafting for this 4lber! Will this finally be the year where I crack it!? Read on.
I am a year round angler and always have been. I love seeing the seasons change on the bank. After a long winter fishing in fairly miserable conditions it’s so nice when the shoots of spring arrive. I really love the sunshine so by the time summer arrives I’m quite desperate! It’s now September and this article sees me reflect on the summer of 2018 fishing in Hertfordshire and Essex.
Chub Fishing on the River Lea can be quite varied depending on where you decide to wet a line. I’ve written before about it being a ‘river of two parts’ – that being the ‘Upper Lea’ and the ‘Lower Lea’. The chub fishing on the Upper Lea can be hectic and they can be found there in numbers. In contrast, generally speaking, the ‘Lower Lea’ is much more patchy but does have a habit of throwing up the much bigger (record breaking) chub!
Oh my god it’s been a looonnnng closed season! It seemed like forever before 16th June came round! The first day of the river season has become so special to me. I used to be a puddle chucker but for the last 5 years or so I’ve fallen in love with the river. Sure I still fish lakes but like many I am particularly fond of my local river, which in my case sees me fishing the River Lea. The last couple of years I’ve tried to do ‘the treble’ on the first day – that is to catch three decent specimens of three different species. Last year I managed it with a specimen Perch, a Barbel and finishing with a stunning Carp on the river in Ware. It’s always a huge challenge and typically involves me in various swims on completely different sections of the river using a range of tactics. Here’s how my opening day went on June 16th 2018 fishing the River Lea.
What follows is a short article that covers my winter of 2017 perch fishing in the Lea Valley on the River Lea and the River Stort. Last years perch fishing had been fantastic and I was more than ready when October came round, the temperatures started dropping and the lure rods started calling!
This article is about a couple of months spent pike fishing in the Lea Valley. As time goes on I’m becoming more and more fond of lure fishing. It kind of suits my lifestyle very well. My time is very limit but if there’s a window I’ll grab it with both hands. I’ve been known to go fishing for 45minutes. A limited amount of kit and zero bait preparation makes lure fishing an ideal option for me.
I love my carp fishing on the River Lea. There’s a certain mystery when it comes to fishing for river carp. Unlike a lake you really don’t know the stock. Fish can swim for miles which can make it tricky at times but also means that you never know what you might catch.
Most of my carp fishing is done in spring, summer and autumn. Obviously on the river we have to wait until the 16th June before we can fish. There’s something really special about 16th June and last year I had a great first day, which included a stunning carp.
The carp in the River Lea are quite nomadic. Whilst a few areas hold resident fish, I generally find myself walking reasonable distances in order to find them on any given day. They tend to pop up in various locations and are not too hard to find with some decent walking boots and a pair of polaroids.
The river has plenty of weed, which the carp love. The banks can sometimes be wild and slightly overgrown. It’s not unusual for me to take clippers and a few gardening tools in order to trim back bushes and create gaps where I can fish effectively.
The fish tend to patrol up and down the river on warm, sunny days. My time is usually very limited and my sessions are frequently less than an hour or so. I’ve not got time to sit behind buzzers and so I find the fish and basically try and stalk them.
Above: Probably one of the nicest looking carp I’ve had from the river.
No flashy baits or techniques are needed. I mainly fish with bread, which they struggle to resist. I use this because that’s what they are fed all the time by people intending to feed the birds. I also sometimes feed mixers but general a crust of bread placed in just the right spot will do the trick. It’s all about timing. Often the bait is in the water for less than a minute.
I’ve had a lot of success creeping up on these creatures. I sit behind reeds or sit in a bush! They simply don’t know I’m there – until all hell breaks loose! It’s the most exciting way of fishing for carp in my opinion. I’ve stalked loads of carp this way, including some very big specimens!
Above: An absolute torpedo!
There’s a lot of stunning commons which are built to fight! Not overweight, boilie guzzlers like their stillwater counterparts. Hook one of these are you know about it! Not all my fish have been taken stalking or off the top. I’ve had some really nice commons fishing on the deck. Setting little traps with pellet and corn. A number of times I’ve had takes within minutes of the bait being in the water. That’s probably because I move around a lot. If I’ve not had a take within 45minutes I’m on my toes!
Above: An absolutely awesome looking, dark old common carp of 17lb 10oz from the River Lea.
Do not underestimate the power of these fish. You need very strong tackle, thick line and strong hooks. There’s plenty of snags and weed so you can’t mess about. When it comes to fishing for river carp (on the Lea or anywhere else) keep you rigs simple and strong!
I’ve started to question the size of the fish in this local stretch. I have an office on the river and so I tend to pop here for an hour before or after work. I think I’m probably going to have to go further up river if I want to catch bigger fish. Maybe I’ll stretch my legs and head up there next year. For now I’m having fun catching these corkers.
If you want a challenge and something a bit different then why not try carp fishing on your local river. It’s a very different prospect to your local club lake, day ticket or syndicate. The fish are not as pressured, there’s always loads of swims free and it brings back some of the mystery in carp fishing.
Above: Another dark, mid double common taken when poking around boats and barges.
The river contains loads of carp and they’re all characters. They fight like crazy and provide great, affordable, fun sport – so get out there!
I’ve never really done any barbel fishing on the River Lea. I had a bit of a go towards the end of last season on Kings Weir but to be fair that was a bit of a baptism of fire. The stock levels are low and the fish are very tricky indeed. In August of 2017 I decided that I needed to target a part of the river that offered me a better chance of a fish or two – before then returning to Kings Weir or Fishers Green once I’ve gained a bit more experience with this awesome creature.
I’ve kind of been forced to become a bit of a short session expert. I run two very busy web design companies and time is precious. It’s not a coincidence that one of my offices is right on the River Lea in Ware. I’ve been doing a few very short sessions, either in my lunch hour or after work fishing Old River Lea at Tumbling Bay.
There’s something very special about the 16th June. For me, it goes back to my childhood when everything closed from March until June – lakes and rivers. You literally stopped fishing for 3 months and so the 16th June was a very special date – when we could get back out there and go fishing again! Great to be back fishing the River Lea again.