Dean Asplin has been with the Angling Trust since it formed in 2009. He loves his carp fishing but due to a very busy work diary doesn’t get the time for the longer sessions that specimen carping sometimes involves. So this winter Dean decided to target his second favourite species the perch, by exploring the canals, rivers and drains close to home in Somerset…
We all have busy work, family and social lives nowadays and it’s all too easy to lose motivation or just not have time to get the rods out and go fishing. I’m passionate about big carp angling but to catch these fish you need time on the bank – sometimes even days! I live in Somerset and although the size of the carp here is improving I still sometimes found myself driving over 2 hours to Dorset’s “Big Carp Mecca” at Ringwood. This is far from ideal in winter!
This year in an attempt to get an easy winter “fishing fix” I’ve kitted myself out with a dropshot setup for under £60. I’ve had loads of fun learning the method on local rivers, drains and canals. The great thing about dropshotting, light lure or jig fishing is how mobile you can be. It is fantastic exercise and you can get to all those places that just don’t see a lot of angling pressure.
Somerset’s rivers, drains and canals are a bit of a forgotten resource with most anglers heading to commercial fisheries. I’m constantly hearing that the fish on my rivers and canals have been “wiped out due to predation” but I just don’t think anyone is fishing a lot of the venues near me consistently enough to really get to grips with the where, when and how of these very different but hugely rewarding waterways.
This January and February I’ve been out for lots of short 1 to 4 hour sessions exploring different bits of river and canal. This has taught me that even in the coldest weather, by keeping mobile it’s possible to catch lots of perch and pike of all sizes!
The other great thing about covering so much water is you find some interesting features and can log these away in the memory bank for future sessions. Paying more attention to ideal predator haunts like tributaries and side channels means that you also start to spot new features to intercept a summer river carp. I’ve caught a couple of very big rudd as well on really tiny lures, which makes you think…
So, please stop wishing you had more time and coming up with excuses not to go and get your fishing fix! Grab some gear and GET OUT THERE and GET FISHING on your local rivers and canals!
Senior Regional Officer for the Angling Trust, and keen big-carp angler.
You can contact Dean about free fishing events that he runs which are funded by the Environment Agency, and funding for clubs and fisheries.
You’ve still got time to #GetOutThere and #GetFishing on rivers before the start of the close season from midnight on March 14th.
More end of the river season blogs:
Days of Dace… and other things! My winter on the river by Rob Hughes
Grubbing around for barbel… Trying something different by James Roche
Explosion Heats Up the Tees! Winning at Angling Participation by Dave Munt