Float vs ledger for perch

Words: Brian Skoyles. Pictures: Lloyd Rogers

A Bit of an Experiment  

On a recent trip to Lindholme Lakes, Brian Skoyles and Graham Drewery decide to target perch, one angler using ledger tactics and the other using float to find out which works best…

With Autumn well and truly set in and winter fast approaching the annual hibernation of the casual angler has taken place and the once crowded banks are now left free for the keener ones amongst us. Given a few tweaks to tactics, realistic expectations, a careful selection of venues and appropriate warm and waterproof clothing some really enjoyable fishing is available without it becoming any sort of an endurance test.

Venue Selection … I’m fishing with good friend Graham Drewery and we have All-roundAngler.com‘s Lloyd Rogers with us to take the odd pic. For today’s session we are at Lindholme Lakes a stunning complex of well stocked lakes in North Lincolnshire. The perfect colder water venue, great bankside access, and very well stocked with a wide variety of species. Our main target was the perch, but we won’t be surprised if the odd carp, F1 or chub turns up.

Tactics …  Today is going to be a bit of an experiment. Graham and I have caught some lovely perch over the last few trips. Perch can be mugs at times, but they can also be very finicky. Graham and I regularly have the debate, is it better to fish the float, or the ledger. Some days one method seems to out fish the other for no apparent reason, so out of interest today we are going to fish next to each other, myself on the float, Graham on the ledger and see what happens. We would both be fishing raw prawn on the hook, and loose feeding bits of prawn, mussel and chopped worm.

My float setup is simplicity itself… The rod is a Daiwa Powermesh 13ft Waggler rod, teamed with TDR reel loaded with 4lb Sensor line. A 3BB Crystal waggler is attached using a Drennan silicon float attachment. The three shot are evenly spaced out and the hook is a size 10 Korda Mixa. I know these are hooks are designed for surface carp fishing, but their fine wire and wide gape work really well with the larger raw prawns. I plummet carefully and like to fish the bottom shot just resting on the bottom. The float is cocked, after sinking the line, by slowly turning the clutch till just the tip of the float is slowing. Bites are usually a slight lift followed by a slide way. Basically, the good old fashioned lift method. I always have two identical floats ready, one with the usual orange tip, one I’ve painted over black. They can be changed very easily, to suit the light conditions, because of the excellent float attachment. I know from experience that carp love raw prawns, so my set-up is designed to remove any additional knots etc. and I’m very careful not to overtighten the shot. With this setup I’ve had loads of decent carp and I’m totally confident it will cope. 

Graham’s ledger set-up… Well just like Brian’s float approach mine is also simple when comes to fishing the ledger. Starting with a very responsive Daiwa Twilight 1 1/2 tc rod with Sensor 6lb mainline spooled onto the reel. A simple running light lead boom using Korda 10lb IQ to help eliminate tangles on the cast is threaded onto the mainline then a 2 foot fine diameter 8lb fluorocarbon with a fine gauge Gamakatsu size 10 hook completes the set up.  I also found that changing the hooking of the prawn from the narrower tail end to midway down the body seemed to help with bite connectivity. 

So how did the day go? We were sat a couple of pegs apart, both opting to fish the open water (from previous session this had proved to be the most consistent area). Starting soon after first light, the first hour or so was slow going, till Graham had a steady run and hit into a good fish. The jagged fight suggested good perch, but we’ll never know as it came adrift mid-way to the net. A while late he had a second take, this one stayed on, and Graham had the first perch of the day in the net. My morning was not going to plan, bites were not plentiful, but I had four perfect lift and slide aways, but on each occasion the strike contacted with nothing. Bite five was landed but was only a small chub. Missing bites is bad enough but having Graham and Lloyd Rogers adding comments about reactions in old age did not help much! Graham had an F1 and another nice perch, I also had an F1 and a couple more small chub. As the day progressed both of us were struggling to hit bites, but with afternoon drawing on, Graham had one more perch and I had a decent common. The clearing sky allowed the setting sun to provide a stunning sunset as the common came to the net. One final cast for me, produced a mirror, it was time for home.

Conclusions … We’ve had a great day catching some lovely fish, but on the ledger v float debate we are as confused as ever. Both methods worked well, on this occasion the perch came to the ledger, the carp to the float. Overall, we had about the same number of bites each, contacting with about the same percentage. The main conclusion we could agree on was we’d had a really enjoyable day out, plenty of fish, plenty of banter and even a Scotch Egg or two.