A sorry situation in some ways as this stretch of the river seems to have lost its mojo over the past 3 years, when I first moved to Coventry in 2008 the river was a great stretch, Barbel were prominent and some swims were black with Chub at times but things have deteriorated over the last few years, the Barbel have seemingly moved on, the Chub are still there but in a more thinned out state so I have turned my attention to other species namely the Perch. I have caught them to 2lb 3oz which is a nice fish but I am sure that there are 3lb+ fish throughout the length to be caught which is my target weight. I shouldn't knock the fact that the stretch looked quiet and underfished, that is just the way I like it!
On my trek upstream to my chosen peg I noticed an awful thing, one of the swims on the stretch is a narrowing in the river, roughly 7-8 feet deep over gravel with prominent streamer weed, the far bank used to be adorned with willows that overhung the narrowing causing a haven for Chub and Roach (as I have caught them) and I was sure that Barbel would pass through at some stage as it looked right. Yesterday though I witnessed an abuse to the landscape, the far bank willows had all been cut to the ground, the far bank was now barren, flattened and featureless, the swim looked ugly and unwelcoming, it used to provide a nice private feeling due to the coverage provided on both banks but now that has gone, I am not sure who had done it or why, I originally thought an EA slash & burn team had passed through but no other swims looked affected, an act of vandalism in my mind without any specific purpose.
When I arrived at my chosen swim it was obvious that nobody had been cutting and slashing here, I love this swim as the river drops from 5 feet into 10 feet, a nice deep hole where I have caught many species of fish from. Over the course of the last few weeks willows had fallen over the river below the deep hole and due to the low flow and levels over the summer a huge raft had been created, the swim looked god damn tasty to say the least!
This swim had given me a few 4lb+ Chub in the past and now the large raft had formed I was hopeful that a few more would be lurking about beneath it now. Lobworm would be fished on the float with reg maggot as feed, first cast down the edge and the float was gone, a plump 10oz Perch was soon on the bank.
I had a few more further dips and knocks but nothing to strike at, I decided to then run the float into the hole from above my seating position instead of fishing down the edge, the first run through and the float was gone and another Perch roughly the same size as the first was landed, I didn't stand on ceremony with this fish as Pike was up its jacksi throughout the fight. I then took another 4 Perch running the float through and again the Pike was after them. I had the drop-shotting gear with me so I ran it through the swim a few times in an attempt to remove the Pike as it wouldn't be doing the fishing much good as it was obviously hungry but no takes were forthcoming so it was back on the float. The swim went very quiet then and it wasn't until dusk was upon the river that the final bite of the day came, a stutter take but the float eventually buried and the strike resulted in a decent fish pulling back, after a brief scrap the biggest Perch of the session was in the net, I guessed it to be about 1lb 4oz, not the 3lb fish I was after but an enjoyable session.
I do enjoy my Perch fishing but feel that the summer is clinging on by the skin of its teeth at the minute but cooler weather will no doubt be coming our way, the current forecast for this week is rain Tues-Thurs so hopefully the rivers will be in better condition and some Barbel fishing maybe on the cards, we will see......