Carl Salisbury 5lb 1oz Perch

“It wasn’t until the fish was right under my feed that this was confirmed – it was a perch, and a huge one at that..”

Specimen fishing does require a considerable amount of hard work, and quite often time. This could be time spent fishing a venue, simply traveling back and forth or just time spent researching and that’s exactly what Carl Salisbury did when he visited Devon’s Calwford Lakes as he banked himself this lovely 5lb 1oz perch.

He told us “It’s well-known in specimen fishing that, if you want to catch big fish, you must fish waters where they live. This can involve travelling long distances but, should you land the specimen you’re after, the effort is often more than worthwhile. A few months ago, I saw a picture of a very large perch that’d been caught from Devon’s Calwford Lakes – a resort and spa with fishing lakes. I knew I had to target them, so my family and I headed down there from our home in Staffordshire as my birthday treat.

When you’re going to the effort of travelling long distances it’s crucial to do your research beforehand, and I’d discovered that the complex’s Lodge Lake held its largest perch, so this was where I chose to fish. Upon arrival, I decided on a spot just off an island where there were overhanging branches drooping into the water. Plumbing up revealed the swim to be 4ft deep – perfect for those perch. I baited with scolded krill pellets, dead red maggots and chopped prawns, all mixed in with a fishmeal groundbait. Over the top, I was going to be float fishing large hair-rigged prawns, using two rods.

The first evening’s fishing resulted in two fish lost to hook pulls, and I’m pretty sure these were carp. As you can only fish during the day here, I baited the swim up, ready for the next morning. At first light I recast both rods, again baited with prawns. Just before 8am the float on my left-hand rod, positioned nearest the island, slid away, and I struck into a powerful fish. It tore off to the overhanging branches, and I kept my 13ft match rod low and applied as much pressure as I dared. Initially, I thought I’d hooked a carp. Keeping the pressure on, I started to gain some line, with my 5.6lb fluorocarbon hooklink and size 10 hook stout enough to finally steer the fish towards me.

As it neared, I caught a glimpse of a red tail in the murky water and thought it might be a perch. It wasn’t until the fish was right under my feed that this was confirmed – it was a perch, and a huge one at that. Twice I tried to get the fish on the surface, but each time it dived back down. On the third attempt though, the fight was up, and I guided it over the waiting net. Peering down, it looked truly massive, which was confirmed when the needle of my scales swung round to 5lb 1oz – a dream perch that smashed my previous best of 3lb 11oz.

The drive down to Cornwall wasn’t a quick one, but with a fish like this, I wasn’t thinking about that at all.”

Well done Carl!