By Tom Kent
First Published 12th November 2014
Dawn was breaking as I unlocked the gate to Kilworth on 9th
November 2014. It was a cold, misty morning, with the promise of sun and light South Westerly winds. Not
ideal perch conditions, but I thought I'd try anyway. I was feeling lucky, and I had a trick up my
sleeve. The day began with me heading for Lizzies, and then removing my 5 metre whip from my rod bag. I
needed this to catch some small fish, as today, I would be trying live baiting for perch for the first
time, EVER! I rigged up with a small sensitive float on a length of 4lb line to a 2lb 14oz hook-to-nylon
link, tied to a spade end size 18 hook, baited with a single red
My first put in resulted in a small perch, an ideal bait.
Another followed, and then a gudgeon muscled in on the action. A couple more small perch came and then I hooked a
nice roach of 8-9oz. 'One more small one will do', I thought. But no, everything went quiet. Ten minutes
passed without a bite. All of a sudden, the float buried. I lifted into the fish, and immediately it was
clear, that this was no gudgeon. As my whip took on a full battle curve, I thought, 'this is gonna smash
me up!' After about ten minutes of seat of my pants tussling with the beast below the surface, trying not to break
my whip and hoping the hook link would hold, it finally topped and rolled into the mesh....a common carp.
I didn't weigh it but, I'd guess it was about 4-4.5lb.
A couple more live baits caught, I took to making up a float paternoster rig
on a 12ft match rod coupled with a 3000 size reel, spooled with 6lb line. I chose to fish my baits 18 inches
off the deck at the bottom of the marginal shelf. The first bite came fairly quickly but it was slow and
ponderous and the float was still visible, quivering just below the waterline. Imagine my surprise when I reeled in
and found a crayfish hanging by a claw from my live bait, now a dead bait. I didn't know they actively hunt and
kill small fish.
Crayfish in the bin, I tried a different spot about a rod length to my right,
near an overhanging tree. Unfortunately, the bite that followed soon after, I missed because I had, by now, started
fishing a second rod, float fishing prawns. By the time I had put that rod down and picked the other up, there was
nothing there. After that, the rest of the morning flew by uneventfully.
By the afternoon, I was switching between the
two methods, as I had realised I couldn't fish both together and still be efficient. Around 2pm, I was live
baiting again, this time much further out in about 6 feet of water. Sitting watching my float and just
paying out some slack line using the clutch, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, which then whizzed by
me in a blur of brilliant blue, landing in a tree to my left. A Kingfisher. Out came the binoculars, so I
could have a closer look, but, he flew away before I could focus on him. With the bins in hand, I thought I'd
check out my float, but as I scanned the water, I just about saw it disappear below the surface. I downed the
bins, picked up the rod and struck. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!! Didn't tighten the drag back up after the
Kingfisher distracted me, did I? DOH! So much for them being a lucky charm when fishing.
Self kicked, (and punched and kicked again) I put another small perch on
and positioned it in the earlier spot by the tree to my right. Baiting regularly with red maggots to hopefully draw
small fish to the area, and hoping the big stripeys would follow, I sat back. Time was ticking by,
darkness would be closing in soon. This was my last chance, for today at least. It was now four 'o' clock, 20
minutes until sunset. In my experience, the Lizzies perch prefer the morning. I have only ever caught two perch
over a pound in the afternoon/evening in 7 years of fishing this lake. Most of mine have been caught
between 8am and 12pm. Then, it happened. The float buried, the rod tip began to bend and I grabbed the rod. At
last, I'd hooked one, and this one wasn't getting away. I played it hard and fast, it was all over in less than a
minute. Elation. I had to take a minute to breathe.
On the scales, it went 1lb 12oz. Not my biggest,
but I didn't care. I'd tried a new method, I learnt things from trying it and I caught my target
species. And that's part of what fishing is all about. So get out there and try something new yourself. And the
next time you see a Kingfisher on the bank, remember, have confidence in what you are doing, in your rig, and in
your ability, and success will find you. Don't just
see the Kingfisher,
be the King Fisher.
Tight lines all! See you on the bank.