Angler and blogger Steven Neely  of Rookie Bass Angler tests out a few new ideas and reports:

At last a day of decent weather – the winds dropped, the rain cleared up and we had a flat calm day – granted these placid conditions are often terrible for fishing but for once it was nice to be out and about without being pounded by rain or blown away!

Steven Neely - River PikeWe made the call to go and target some small stretches of water which should (on past performances) hold decent numbers of pike and perch and also the chance of a beast – we had scores to settle from last season!

On arrival it was looking fairly positive, the surface was alive with boiling bait being driven up by small jacks and perch … but it didn’t really seem to matter what was thrown at them, they weren’t in the taking mode. It was a classic day of bait fixation … !

Our bigger shads and eel soft baits didn’t get a sniff either … it wasn’t living up to expectations!

So the perch gear came out … I have been dying to get my new Illex Pepper Finesse Symphony (3-20g) out and christened with a few fish and this looked like the perfect opportunity for a few perch.

Steven Neely - River PerchIt was slow to start as they weren’t really in hunting mode but slower, more static presentations produced the goods – no big ones but given the past few months of weather I was just glad to be out and catching. The trusty Jika rig was working a treat allowing for a mixed presentation style to suit the fish and their fussy habits.

Whilst perching I nailed half a dozen jack pike which was pretty cool on the Illex Pepper – a great way to test it’s backbone and needless to say it is a gem to fish with. Highly sensitive in the tip yet when you need it the power is just waiting for you in the back end of the blank – it wasn’t but under any great strain but hopefully during the season ahead it will prove it’s worth!

Steven Neely - River pike 2I am not sure the reasoning behind the lack of activity … I know I alluded to the conditions not being great but this time last year the place was literally rammed full of fish. I know things in nature are happening a little earlier this season due to the milder winter so whether that has changed the spawning patterns etc. I spoke to a local man who came down for a chat ( I had met him there fishing the year before) during our conversation he had alluded to the stretch of water coming under some pressure and fish not being returned … a real shame if this is the reasoning but time will tell I guess.

I’ll certainly be back over the next few weeks to see if there is anything to the rumors or maybe it is a timing issue with the weather / spawning.

Anyway, I am thinking positive so back to the fishing … The perch weren’t huge but they were in great nick – little tubby bellies and fighting hard for their size.

Steven Neely - River perch 2Most of my fish fell to the 2.8″ Method Shad in the rather funky named ‘Jungle Boogie’ colour, a sort of dark and lime green mixed with wine red and gold glitter … sounds weird but it has proven a winner with perch of all sizes in the past. The forecast is looking decent enough now for next weekend and with the Trout season opening here this week who knows what the plans will be but with a bit of luck things will start to pick up and fishing can finally get under way!

Tight Lines,


Check out Steven’s online shop….Fish on Lures

With A – Z in brand names, Fish on Lures caters for all anglers. It specializes in lure fishing equipment giving quality at a reasonable price.

Tel: +44 (0)7729614986



Steven Neely

Rookie Bass Angler


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