Simon Ashton’s Yorkshire Commercial Perch!

County Durham all-rounder Simon Ashton with a tremendous 4lb 5oz Perch from a Yorkshire commercial fishery, winning a weekly Drennan Award in this week’s Angling Times!

County Durham all-rounder Simon Ashton with a tremendous 4lb 5oz Perch from a Yorkshire commercial fishery, winning a weekly Drennan Award in this week’s Angling Times!

Read Simon’s full account below:-

“HURRAY it’s here folks, spring has finally arrived and not a minute too soon! As if someone has flicked a switch over the last week or so the moods of just about every angler in the country are changing. The sight of flowering daffodils, wild garlic, buds on trees and most importantly a massive change in air temperature brings a welcome smile to my face. For a lot of anglers, it means one thing…….get the rods out!

Last weekend was to be my last session on the bank for over a month due to my planned trip to Vegas with my local boxing club. My partner Amy had given me one last crack of the whip to go and do what I love best – catching big fish! I had to choose a species of fish that would offer the best chance of success; considering the rise in temperatures and the fact that the first night of my 48 hour session would be the first frost free for as long as I could remember, and daylight highs of 18 deg c my initial thoughts were Tench. But, I’d blanked all year for Perch on a particular lake, in fact, in eight days I’d not landed a single stripy! Why? Who knows, if I were to guess I’d blame pressure – anglers were cottoning onto the fact this little lake in north Yorkshire held one or two big old perch! By big, I mean 3lb plus. In the back of my mind I knew I was taking a gamble as by rights every self-respecting perch in the land should have spawned long ago, but with air temperatures rarely climbing above 6c in recent weeks I could still be in with a chance of a fatty…

Arriving late Friday afternoon with angling companion Jay “The Specialist” Heslop, our chosen venue was already accommodating quite a few carpers – most of these were already occupying the better looking swims. The wind was due to pick up overnight and with a 40 mph south westerly forecast I figured the small fish and last year’s fry would move. Hopefully, any perch not already participating in spawning rituals would be feeding and that long overdue bite might result in a monster! With this in mind I would fish the far end of the lake that the wind would blow into. Three rods would be fished. One in the margins, one a little further out in about 14 feet of water at about 40 yards range – both would be on whole cooked king Prawns as opposed to the usual lobworm approach because of all the nuisance bream in the lake. Surprisingly, over the last few seasons at this venue I’ve experienced a fair few takes after dark on Prawns; most of which resulted in good perch being landed. And finally, I was going to fish a 3rd, sleeper rod with a small dead roach into a shallow bay to my left.

Now with time and light fading fast I quickly marked my long range swim out in open water and laced it with 10 balls of Sonubaits Krill and Supercrush Green groundbait mixed 50/50. I figured the Krill would work spot-on with Prawns given it’s from the same family! I figured they would go together like steak & chips! For added attraction I‘d marinated the hookbaits in liquid Krill the night before just to give them added boost. I then Spombed about 6 loads of mashed prawn and krill over the top! The margin rod was fed by hand with a few handfuls of flavoured dead red maggots and the sleeper rod a few chopped lobs.

Tackle choice for the session would be my old favourites, the Drennan Specialist Duo 12ft 1¼lb rods with small Shimano Baitrunner reels, coupled with 6lb Supplex mainline. I fished ½ oz flat leads on 8-inch running power gum links with large buffer beads and 2 foot Team England Rig Line hooklinks to Super Specialist size 4 hooks.

After marking the line on the distance rod to ensure It would land bang on the baited spot, I cast and set ultra-light homemade bobbins on an 18’’ drop, then quickly under armed the margin rod and repeated the process. This was it, the ‘witching hour’ was just about upon us and with the kettle on and smooth radio playing I couldn’t think of a better place to be! On most stereotypical perch waters the angler often gets their prize at dawn or dusk, but on this occasion it couldn’t have been more different…

The evening passed and before I knew it I was tucked up in the sleeping bag. At midnight a series of single bleeps on my Alarm’s Receiver had me stood in the middle of both rods with hands hovering over them like some kind of crazed gun slinger! I waited patiently as the long rod bleeped twice. I didn’t dare turn on my head torch as one false move could startle the culprit…
As I stood up straight to ease the old hamstrings the bobbin absolutely raced to the butt section and then a little line was taken! There was no mistaking the fact that this fish wanted it’s meal and before I could say ‘’blinking hell’’ (or words to that effect), the fish powered off about 15 yards in the direction of a nearby island! Judging by that initial first run I thought the unseen beast must surely be a ‘mud pig’ (carp)…



After another few minutes the head torch had to come on as I didn’t want to lose what might just be a monster perch! As I was starting to get the upper hand on what was turning out to be the best fight I’ve ever experienced from a perch I shouted for Jay to come and help with the netting but to no avail! I think his pre-Derby match celebrations in the Stags Head the night previous had taken its toll! The fish broke the surface and by the huge hump I could make out on her head I knew this was indeed my target fish. The netting process went to plan and I was soon admiring what was probably the biggest Stripy I’m ever likely to set eyes on – this thing was massive! It looked around two feet in length!!

Whilst resting in the landing net I woke ‘Sleeping Beauty’ for him to attend the weighing process. The weight was confirmed at 4lb 5oz – it had beaten my old PB by two ounces. “GET IN THERRRRRRRE” is as clean as I dare write the words that passed my lips!!! A new PB was born and one I feel I will do well to ever beat. I made the decision to carefully house the fish in my trusted retention system until morning so quality pictures could be taken. Done correctly and staked out in the right manner the fish wouldn’t come to any harm.

After only a few hours sleep (due to the constant liners on the margin rod without a pickup) I emerged from the bivvy slightly weary, but a very happy specimen angler! Before the majestic creature was set free, we couldn’t help but have one last look at the prehistoric looking predator that had made me a very happy man and given me a memory that will be forever etched in my angling life…

The final 24 hours passed without further fish until Jay saved a blank session with a pristine mid double mirror carp.”

Simon ‘Busta’ Ashton,
April 2013

For full details on the fabulous Supplex mono as used by Simon, click here.