The Insider's Guide to Perch Fishing

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The Insider's Guide to Perch Fishing

With Autumn just around the corner, switching to perch fishing is ideal for the cooler months. If you are eager to try perch fishing, this guide can give you some tips to making the most out of the sessions out in the windy weather!

About Perch in the UK:

With the Latin scientific name is Perca fluviatilis, the European Perch species is a close relative to the freshwater predator and can be identified by its greeny-brown back with a series of dark vertical bars across the upper sides. The perch is handsome and bold often with its tiger-like stripes. The boldness of colour, as with many species of fish depends on the turbidity of the water. You can also identify a perch by:

  • Vivid Orangey-red pelvic and anal fins
  • Spiky dorsal fin on its back
  • Flattened spikes on each gill
  • Small spikes on the scales
  • Large eyes (for feeding in low light/murky conditions)
  • Size is usually around 25cm in length and 1-2lbs in weight.

Where can you catch Perch?

Found in freshwaters and wetlands, perch are easy to find throughout autumn and winter months. As a predatory fish, they can be found in almost any water. Smaller perch are very common and tend to stay close to the nearside bank but if you want to target the big ones, then you probably want to take a look in the centre of canals,  reservoirs or at your local commercial fishery. Most local commercials are stuffed with carp and silverfish and it’s these silverfish that provide easy pickings for the perch. The impressively sized perch do not pile on the pounds by big eating worms and maggots, but by eating little roach and rudd.

It is not just about identifying what waters the perch are living in, it is finding the exact areas perch are drawn to. Firstly, check for places a perch might lie in ambush for its prey, such as;

  • Any snaggy looking spot
  • Over a hanging tree,
  • Lilies or reeds

As long as there’s a fair depth of water there it’s likely a perch will be there too. Sometimes, especially on commercials which can be quite ‘featureless’, you aren’t always blessed with such an area. If this is the case then look for the deepest spots on the lake, as these will often be the areas, especially when it’s cold, which the baitfish will shoal up in. Hopefully, the perch won’t be far behind.

What are the right conditions to fish for Perch?

It’s no secret that nearly all coarse fish are more willing to feed at dusk and dawn, especially on bright sunny days, and with perch, it is no exception. Try to base your sessions around early or late times in the day, otherwise, you will find yourself fishing all day for nothing. Most of the time perch will be coming out from their hiding spots just as you are usually packing up, as the sun slowly starts to disappear behind the horizon and the light levels drop.

What fishing tackle do I need?

Once you have figured out the location and conditions of the perch, you need to get kitted out with all the necessary tackle. As mentioned earlier, perch don’t grow too big and a 3lb+ fish would be considered a specimen. With the fish’s size in mind, you do not need to tackle-up too heavily for them.

Fishing Rod: A soft-ish Avon rod with a test curve ranging 0.75-1.25lb

Fishing Reel: Match the Avon rod with a 3000 - 4000 sized reel

Line: Load the reel with around 4-6lb monofilament line

Terminal Tackle: A standard waggler, a wide gape hook sized 4-10, a hook disgorger, small spinner or lure.

Best fishing rig to catch perch

Unless you are float fishing, it is the rig that allows the fish to pick up your bait and run with it. Perch dislike resistance, so make sure to choose free running rigs. You can make your free running rigs as simple or as complicated as you want. AD’s Phil Spinks suggests keeping your perch rigs simple, use a quality run rig kit and combine them with a 1-2oz lead, a 4-6lb fluorocarbon hook length and a size 4-8 hook.


Choosing the right Bite Detection

If you are float fishing then a standard waggler will be fine for perch, but if you are ledgering for them then you’ll need some form of indication. Get yourself a quality bite alarm and a drop-off indicator. The drop off indicator allows you to fish for them ‘open bail arm’ style, which means the resistance the fish feel when they pick up the bait is minimal.

Alternatively, instead of a drop off indicator, then a standard bobbin would also work for bite detection as its lightweight. You do not want anything too heavy as this increases the risk of the fish dropping the bait. If you use a standard bobbin, set those rod rests nice and high, allowing a good drop for the indicator, bringing the resistance down to a minimum.

What is the Best Bait for Perch?

Perch will fall to all manner of baits, however, the preferred choice would be maggots, lobworms, prawns and live baits (if and when allowed). A good tactic is to feed plenty of worms and then use worm or maggot hookbait over the top of where the loose feed was introduced.

Maggots and worms are a great starting point, however, if you want to target the bigger fish, then set it out with a whole prawn. The smaller fish will often leave the prawn alone and it also tends to deter the ‘nuisance’ carp and other fish that most commercials are full of. Both lobworms and prawns are fairly large baits so it’s essential to use a decent-sized hook to match. Perch, for their size, have massive mouths so don’t be too shy about picking larger fresh bait. Do not forget, perch are a predator and if worms and prawns are not attainable, get yourself a quality spinner lure.

Feeding habits of Perch

As mentioned above, the simplest way to feed for perch is to simply spray maggots over the top of the area you are fishing with a catapult. Feeding the bait over your hookbait will bring in the small baitfish and hopefully the perch will follow.

Another way you can bring perch into your swim would be to fish over a few free offerings, for example, a few broken lobworms or prawns – however, avoid going over the top with these, a whole lobworm/prawn is a good meal for a perch and they probably wouldn’t need too many to fill themselves up.

Alternatively, you could combine both of the methods above. Use a dark coloured groundbait, or even just some molehill soil, add it to some maggots and a few chopped worms and prawns and introduce it to your swim either in balls or through a feeder. This baiting method does two things; it attracts the small fish with clouds in the water and it also offers some food items for any perch that visit the area.

For more tips and tricks for perch fishing, watch the video below or head on over to ADTV for more video tutorials.


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