Predator Fishing on Grafham Water - Phil Spinks

This entry was posted on

Predator Fishing on Grafham Water - Phil Spinks

In my opinion, we are now approaching a much better time of the year for the type of fishing I enjoy. Predator fishing has got to be one of my favorite types of specimen fishing and lure fishing has begun to play a much larger part in my approach to catching things with teeth and stripes. I remember being far too quick to dismiss lure fishing and always sticking to bait fishing, but that has changed massively of the last few seasons.

The 1st of September marks the opening of Grafham Water and this is now definitely one of my favorite venues. The reservoir offers a real mix of predator fishing, with massive perch, zander and pike that can be fished for using a varied approach. My main approach for perch fishing is the now much spoken about drop shotting. Sometimes due to the harsh nature of Grafham, it being very deep in places and a mild wind can have it resembling the North Sea, the method drop shotting needs to be stepped up slightly. Generally, when drop shotting off lakes and rivers, a 10g weight will be more than enough and a 5-7g weight used more often than not. On certain days at Grafham I have used weights of 28g. It is important to be able to feel the weight tapping on and off the bottom.


It just so happened that September 1st fell on a Thursday this year which, lucky enough, is my day off from working in the Beccles Angling Direct store. So, a boat was booked for myself and fishing buddy Jason Davis. Although the reservoir was bound to be busy on the opening predator day I felt that in around 2000 odd acres of water we would be fine. First thing in the morning there was a large gathering of like minded lure anglers queuing up for their tickets, some of which more resembled American Nascar racers with their matching lure fishing costumes.

To cut a long story a little shorter we were fairly quick in finding numbers of perch, in fact huge numbers of perch. While lowering the drop shot down beside the boat I could feel it bouncing off the fish, it was thick with them. We enjoyed catching perch up to around the 2lb mark every single cast for hours. It was like shelling peas and between us we caught over 250 perch! We did move away at times to try and find some bigger perch and even did a little bit of drogue fishing, casting bigger lures for pike. We managed one pike each on large rubber lures, the best being 13-14lb at a guess.


No big perch came our way on the opening day, but it was brilliant catching so many and I often feel the most exciting aspect of lure fishing is the bite! Two weeks later found me and Jason heading back to Grafham. First thing in the morning we decided to try for a zander by vertical jigging the deeper water. This is something I have a lot to learn about and feel like I'm still vertical jigging with my L plates on! Believe it or not, halfway through our first drift, while I was trying a new rod and reel from Korum, I felt an almighty thump while lowering the lure gently down. A quick strike saw the rod bent over double. It’s very important to play the zander gently and slowly when bringing them up it deeper water. Although I didn't have too much choice, as I was on fine 8lb braid, I knew had to take things steady. After a steady but nerve racking fight, a very thick set zander appeared next to the boat and, at 11lb 4oz, I was over the moon.

With the success of the zander we decided to go on the perch hunt to mix the day up slightly. After searching around studying the fish finder, looking for numbers of bait fish, we located yet another huge shoal of perch. Again we caught loads of perch to a similar size as we had opening day. I experimented my trying some different lure fishing techniques. But whether I was drop shotting, casting jigs, or bouncing small ned-style jigs the result was the same, a perch every cast!


It was difficult to tear ourselves away from such good fishing but we both felt if we wanted a bigger perch we needed to find a different group of fish. The move was justified when, on his first cast in the new area, Jason was attached to a proper perch and it looked like a possible 4lber when it popped up next to the boat. I'm sure it would have measured 4lb in some people’s eyes but the scales don't lie and at 3lb 14oz I don't think Jason was disappointed at all.

The final couple of hours saw us catch a few more better perch and I also joined Jason in the 3lbers club with a scraper 3lb 1oz, followed by fish of 2lb 15oz, 2lb 14oz, and a few more 2lbers. It was a brilliant day’s fishing, with numbers of fish and bigguns coming our way, plus a burger king on the way home! Roll on the next visit – I can’t wait.

The new range of rods I was testing are well worth a quick mention as they performed brilliantly, along with a new reel to match. It’s very important to have a nice fast action blank for this style of fishing to allow you to impart action into the lure and set the hooks when you strike. The reel was perfect, too, as line lay is important with fine braided lines and if the line lay isn't good you can suffer from terrible wind knots. The clutch was so smooth too; again very important when playing big fish on fine tackle. Watch this space for the great new range from the guys at Korum.

To top