Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

I THOUGHT that five years ago, big perch fish­ing had plateaued and the only way was down. I was mis­taken. This year has seen another surge of very big fish that can’t be the ‘threes’ and ‘fours’ of the early 2000s be­cause perch aren’t sup­posed to live as long as that.

Perch are one of the clas­sic ‘shooter’ species, where some fry will grow far larger than their sib­lings in a very short time. It wouldn’t sur­prise me to hear that, in ideal con­di­tions with plenty of food avail­able of the right size, a perch could reach 4lb in six or seven years.

When I read about catches such as James Champ­kin’s re­cent 4lb 4oz perch from the Lea and think about when Sam and Gary Ed­monds first showed me the po­ten­tial of parts of that river, it’s been a few years.

My best Thames perch came to­wards the end of the re­ally good times on the ti­dal river and that was 2007.

With the num­bers of roach and chub about, this new thrust of big fish is likely to pro­duce some­thing re­ally spe­cial.

James Champ­kin’s 4lb 4oz perch shows the po­ten­tial of the Lea.

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