So – after a few sessions catching small canal perch on the drop shot – and a long hard blank session at Pilsworth I’ve had a few hours contemplation time – to think about where I might be able to catch a perch big enough to break my measly PB of only one and a half pounds. In the middle of my last blank session at Pilly – the penny finally dropped. Even though there are plenty of good perch in Pilsworth, they are probably to be located in very small area of a very large lake. I need to increase the odds in my favour, and at the back of my mind I’ve known for a long time that there are some good perch to be had at Bradshaw Hall Fishery in Bolton, and that very few people ever fish for them.
Right – that decided it – a few sessions at a venue with a good head of rarely fished for Perch was needed So a week or so ago Phil and I headed off up the A666 (the devils highway to Bolton) for our first of three sessions.
A very cold morning saw us setting up in a likely looking corner of Lake 3 – and then the wait started – and went on and on… bloomin heck – it was chucking it down, it was cold, we’d set our hearts on a decent perch and it just wasn’t happening. We were fishing half a worm, over a bed of chopped worm on a size 14 hook an inch over depth under a 5bb waggler. Great perch rigs. However, the fish thought otherwise and we had to endure another 3 biteless hours in the rain.
Once the rain abated, Phil had a little walk round the lake, and noticed that 4 pegs down from where we were fishing, the lake was alive with fish topping and there were bubbles coming up all over.
Less than a nano-second later, we had packed up our rain shelter, picked up our kit and moved ourselves into the two pegs on the lake that looked as though they had a few fish in front of them.
And bingo we were straight onto a few fish. Only small Roach, Perch, Ide and Chub to begin with – but then as the afternoon started to draw to an early winter close – I hit into a couple more solid fish.
I’m not someone who regularly takes a set of scales with him – if i catch a decent fish i put an object next to it and try to work out the length/weight later on at home — but I think i might in future have a go at weighing a few.
Anyway – 15 inches was the length on my best perch of the afternoon – If I had a roach of that length it would according to length/weight tables weigh around the 2lb 5oz mark – so surely this fish must be a new pb and I will claim it at 2lb.
I tried to look for a perch length/weight table similar to this excellent one that was compiled by Jeff Hatt a few years ago for roach (below) but couldn’t find one. I think i shall try to create one for perch over the next 12 months.
The float in this photo is a smidgen over 8 inches long – so the fish must be 14-15 inches by my reckoning.
And we had a couple of fish this size and slightly smaller between us on chopped worm before it was time to call it a day.
Our next session a few days later we arrived and it was a howling gale and driving rain. Oh God – Phil had left his brolly at home – so we decided to both squeeze in under mine – cosy. As the wind direction had changed – this time up the valley, we forgot about fishing lake 3 again, and fished Lake 4 with our backs to the wind.
Using the same rigs and bait as the previous session, it didn’t take too long for us to start getting bites and catching fish. Though it did take until nearly 3pm (again) until the bigger fish showed up. And I caught this cracker below – a similar size to the one previously on lake 3. Our hands were cold and wet – and we have a bit of trouble getting a decent photo – so another fish on a mat in a net photo followed. Never mind – I’d got no scales again – so this fish I reckon to be 15 inches – the weight 2lb — at a guess.
Again – we had an assortment of other fish, mostly roach and ide.
Our 3rd session – we were joined by Kaden and Dave – who had by now heard that we were catching a few nice fish and wanted to join us.
Sadly for them – the day we chose – the weather was truly awful – a cold biting north easterly and squally showers. The two lads were keen and set up facing the prevailing wind (or foolhardy) into Lake 4, whereas Phil and I both took the much easier option of fishing into Lake 3 with our backs to the wind. It didn’t make much difference in the end – on this 3rd session the bigger perch just didn;t want to play – but we could plenty of smaller ones, some nice roach, ide and F1s.
I think the penny has dropped for me regarding Perch – a few chats with Phil and we now have a little list of local waters with “perch potential” that we can explore over the next few months off lockdown. My next two targets – a set of weighing scales and a Manchester 3lb perch …..
Watch this space.
A few things to note about Bradshaw Hall Fisheries
- Please take a look at their website – as opening times vary throughout the year.
- Speak to the staff, tell them what you are trying to catch – they are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
- No live baiting or lure fishing for perch – fishing from designated pegs only.
- There are good perch in lakes 2 3 and 4.
- Biggest I’ve heard of is nearly twice the size of the ones we caught.
- It has BIG potential to smash your PB
If you catch a cracker please let me know (and I will be back in your peg the next day lol)
Joe Britton says
Hi Mike, been a while since this post. Any fishing updates for us, particularly with the elusive Irwell Barbel and a general update on the wider coarse fishing experience of Irwell? Keen to give it a try but wondering what the reports are like from other anglers this year.