Back in the dreamy days of childhood, Fishpool recalls a family holiday in South Devon, pushing a shrimp net between the rocks on a flooding tide, and lifting it triumphantly as a great big prawn flicked about inside. It didn’t make much of a meal – in fact, it provided barely a mouthful, but that moment did nudge open a door into a room packed with possibility.
These days, Fishpool is more likely to be found fishing with prawns rather than for them. You see, the prawn makes rather a good bait, and is especially loved by Stillwater perch.
Quite why perch, that typically hunt by sight, should be so easily seduced by a static piece of cooked seafood is anyone’s guess. Though the salty shrimp scent must be easy to pick up in cold, still water, and difficult then to resist.
A fact proved perhaps by the variety of other fish that find prawns irresistible. Bream, roach, eels and carp will all grab a prawn given half a chance, but the bait comes into its own when a water is full of marauding perchlets. These small two ounce fish will swallow worms twice their length, but tend to leave a prawn alone. Their great-grandparents, however……