Now that the weather is cooling down, these popular predators are starting to feed in earnest, and the good news is, you can catch them using the same methods from almost every fishery in the land!
There are many ways of catching perch, but for this week’s Catch 22 Challenge we thought we’d put you on to a fantastic way of putting a specimen in your net.
Prawns are a wonderful bait for perch! Their fishy aroma and soft texture make them irresistible and a legered prawn, cast into the right area on a river, lake or canal, will soon be taken. Both raw and cooked prawns work, and they take colour and flavour really well too. Try dyeing them red!
Perch love features, whatever these might be, from dumped shopping trolleys on city-centre canals to marginal reeds on commercials. Other favoured areas are lock cuttings, weir pool slacks, close to fishing platforms, beneath overhanging trees and around aerators.
Of course, it helps to fish where there are healthy stocks of small silver fish to eat. Find both features and prey fish, and a big perch or two, will certainly not be far away. Even relatively featureless areas will hold perch if they contain lots of silvers.
Quite wary of any resistance, big perch should be targeted with a sensitive set-up. Try fishing with a fine quivertip, or with the rod pointing at the leger and the reel’s bail-arm open with a drop-off indicator fitted. Here is the rig to catch them using prawns...
A) Hook and hookbait
Hair-rigging is best, which also allows you to use a smaller, less obtrusive hook. Go for a size 10 or 8.
Use a hooklink of around 18ins-2ft of 6lb mono. This will keep the bait far enough away from the lead not not arouse any suspicions from a big, wary predator.
C) Free-running lead
Use a 1oz leger weight heavy enough not to move during the run – changing the feel of resistance to the taking fish – but light enough to not cause too much disturbance when cast. The lead is free-running to reduce the chance of the perch feeling it and dropping the bait.
If you’re fishing within catapult range for perch, use red maggots, which will attract small prey fish. For longer distances, chunks of prawns are ideal.