On many rivers, perch are seen as a nuisance that always get to the bait before roach, bream and chub. But on my local River Wye there are so many of them that they’re a viable tag target for a proper netful.
I’ve caught 50lb of them many times, and we’re not talking big fish either. The Wye is full of perch around 6oz-12oz, which means lots of bites. There’s also the chance of a real dinosaur of an old, big 2lb-plus fish thrown in for good measure.
In a match, perch may only play a small part, but on a pleasure outing, you can catch them all day, with a bit of careful nurturing of the swim. You can’t clatter them for hours on end, and resting your perch line is a good idea. But it doesn’t take long for another group of perch to move back in after you’ve fed more bait.
Here's how I target them...
Mush your worms
I’ll chop the dendras almost to a mush, so I’m not overfeeding the perch. When they arrive, my hookbait is now the only substantial thing to eat.
Feed using soil
To kick off I’ll feed chopped worm plus casters in molehill soil, making five or six large balls to cup in. Using soil keeps the perch rooting around.
Fish a lobbie tail
Baits depend on the size of the fish, but I’d use the tail of a lobworm for the bigger perch. If there are lots of smaller fish about, use a piece of dendra.
Take no prisoners!
I use a size Gamakatsu A1 Hard. You’ll hit more bites with a bigger hook, and you’ll also be able to thread the lobworm tail well up the shank.
Try a flat float
Float choice depends on the flow of the river. If the pace is steady, a round-bodied float works well, but on the Wye a 5g Cralusso Ray is about right.
Top up your swim
When bites fade, more bait is needed. I’ll pop in another ball of soil and chopped worm but also a bait dropper filled with chopped caster and worms.