Fishing Methods for Catching Perch

Strictly speaking, ground-baiting is not much practised for perch, but it is always useful to toss in a few small worms at intervals about the swim, and small pieces of whatever hook-bait is in use will frequently bring the bait itself to the attention of marauding fish. Many anglers like to cast a spinning lure through the swim to draw fish from other parts of the water into the vicinity of the bait, others like to throw a piece of bank-side turf into the swim to arouse interest among passing perch. Probably the best method of ground-baiting is simply to use a little cloud bait (made up of small particles of bread and bran for instance) at intervals to attract the small fry. Once a good shoal of small feeding fish is established in the vicinity, the local perch dash in to make a surprise attack, and the small fry can be seen darting and leaping in all directions.

In deep water float-fishing tackle should be used to search the swim at all depths at intervals, but in shallow waters the bait is best presented within 30 cm (1 ft) or so of the bottom. If the water is fast, the bait should be shotted to get it down quickly, and in any case the float should be balanced so that it does not disappear at the slightest touch, especially if it is used to support a live-bait. On paternoster tackles used with a float, provided the weight is on the line, the float can be left lying on one side of the surface.


For ordinary float-fishing the tackle is adjusted to the required depth and cast into the swim, where it is allowed to slip along with the stream, or wherever it is taken by the efforts of the live-bait. Usually this means that the bait fish will sooner or later bring the tackle into weed beds, where the angler must decide whether to move it clear lest it tangle, or leave it alone in the hope that it may locate a hiding fish. Sometimes good perch are taken right in the middle of weed beds, and the problem of extricating them then has to be faced.

If you want to anchor the bait in a position where it has a restricted radius of movement, you can do this by using paternoster tackle fitted with a float at the top, a weight at the bottom, and the hook line fixed to the side of a three-way swivel attached to the line at the desired depth. When the tackle is cast into position, the weight and float between them control the line. The angler leaves some slack line at the rod tip to allow the run to develop freely. Sometimes it is preferable to fish such tackles without the use of a float at all, in which case the line should be fished tight from the rod top, and the reel delicately set to run freely when a bite occurs. Tackle of this kind enables the fisherman to place his bait fairly accurately close to the weed with a reasonable certainty that the live-bait will not be able to take refuge there. It is also useful for placing the bait out in midstream among the sluggish runs where roach or small fry congregate, or among the holes in the weeds. In still waters the paternoster is particularly effective in getting the bait out beyond marginal bottom weed, and holding it in position. When this method is adopted the distance from the weight of the swivel must be adjusted to allow for the fact that the line runs in a slantwise direction from the weight at the bottom, otherwise the bait will tend to be far too low down on the line.

Paternoster tackle can be varied by using a running line with the weight attached to a separate leg of nylon with a swivel at the top end. The main line is then passed through the swivel and the hook attached. A stopper shot on the main line is set at the desired distance from the hook and can be adjusted up or down with ease to set the bait at the depth required. The advantage of this is that it permits a taking fish to draw line through the swivel eye without feeling the resistance of the bottom weight — which may be a pear lead between 7-21 g (1/4 – 3/4 oz).

This method is, of course, closely allied to, indeed almost inseparable from, legering, and is in fact so called in many circles. Leger tackles are very effective in still waters. You can make up the tackle just described, or simply use a running line passing through the eye of a swivelledweight such as the Arlesey Bomb, or a pear lead and swivel. Again the weight is stopped on the main line with a shot just below it to prevent it falling down to the hook. The length of trail is largely a matter of personal opinion. For most purposes, a trail of about 45 cm (18 ins) is right, but occasions will arise when this must be lengthened to 90 cm (3 ft) or shortened to 15 cm (6 ins).

For effective legering the rod is placed in two rests, arranged so that the rod points in the same direction as the line. This means that a running fish is unlikely to feel any lateral vibration from the rod top when it takes line from the reel, which must, of course, be free-running if a centre-pin is employed. Fixed-spool reels are useful for this kind of fishing and permit the angler to fish with the pick-up open and the line quite free to run off the edge of the spool. An electric bite alarm can be used, or the angler can fit a small dough bobbin to his line to give an indication of bites. The bobbin is always more efficient if it is spindle-shaped and small enough to run easily through the first two or three rod rings when a take occurs.

Deciding just when to strike is sometimes a problem. Usually it is unwise to ‘hit’ the fish too soon. On the other hand if the strike is too long delayed the fish may swallow the bait and be hooked in the stomach, which means that it has to be killed. A brief pause of two or three seconds is recommended to allow the run to develop, particularly with a large bait. If this causes fish to be missed altogether the time should be lengthened; if they are hooked too far down the gullet the angler must adapt his methods accordingly.

Sink-and-draw is in effect a form of spinning with a dead-bait and its purpose is to simulate a sick or wounded fish moving through the water. The bait is worked by casting it out, allowing it to sink, then drawing it up towards the surface by raising the rod tip; then the operation is repeated until the bait is back under the bank again. The swim is methodically searched in this manner on subsequent casts. This is a very effective way of taking good perch.

The bait can be a minnow or gudgeon, elver or lamprey; often a worm fished in this way is very telling. Small dead-bait flights are sometimes used to mount the bait, but for perch many anglers prefer simply to use a baiting needle and thread the bait on the main line. Occasionally such a bait is taken by a marauding PIKE Then the angler is in for a fight. He will lose the pike if his line is cut by the teeth of the fish. It is hardly worthwhile to use wire tackles for perch fishing on the off-chance of a pike, but soft flax line, which is less easily cut through by a pike’s teeth, can be used on 30 cm (1 ft) or so. This sort of line tends to become chewed and flattened instead.

The baiting needle should be passed through the body of the bait fish from mouth to vent, and the hook should be attached to the tail end so that when the fish is drawn towards the angler it will appear to swim head first. To sink the bait a small spiral lead is clipped on up to 45 cm (18 ins), up the line. This causes the bait to sink naturally head first, so that both the ‘sink’ and the ‘draw’ movements imparted by the angler simulate the movement of a living fish. If a spinning flight is used, the bait must be mounted on the needle provided, and then bound on with a few turns of fine copper wire or cotton to prevent it from flying off during the cast.

The tremendous variety of spoon, plug, and spinner baits makes the art of spinning a fascinating business, and one which often accounts for good perch. So many kinds of lure can be used that a description is not possible here. Generally lures such as a Kidney or Colorado spoon, or a Vibro spinner of about 1-2.5 cm (1/2-1 in) are very effective. So are Mepps sizes 1 and 2. Home-made spoons are also popular, and small plugs, quill minnows, or small silver and golden devons are equally suitable.

Spinning is essentially a roving occupation and is at its best during the colder months when the fish are on the move. The method is to investigate thoroughly likely-looking holes or eddies, and to search the open water by fanwise casting from a selected spot at intervals.

Usually, slow spinning is the most efficient. ‘Slow and deep’ is a good rule where perch are concerned, especially in winter. The angler should allow the bait to get well down before commencing the retrieve, and should vary the rate, pausing momentarily at intervals to give the bait a realistic movement.

It is perfectly possible to spin with a centre-pin reel, although casting is perhaps limited. Many anglers find that hand-lining the line back through the rod rings imparts a very natural movement to the bait and takes good fish.

When using a revolving bait an anti-kink device must be used between bait and reel line. For light baits, anti-kink vanes are suitable. For heavier baits an anti-kink weight may serve better.


Apart from the record fish, river specimens recorded are not as good as lake fish, but this may simply indicate that the lake fish are more easily caught. Specimens of over 2 kg (4 lb) are recorded from the Dorset Stour, Bure, Thames, Avon, Kennet, Severn, and Great Ouse, and these great rivers are obvious places for the specimen-hunter to try. Nevertheless, the indication is that the biggest fish are taken from still waters, canals, or reservoirs.

Perch are common in most parts of the British Isles, except in the extreme north. If anything, the species is less common in southern Scotland than elsewhere in the British Isles.

15. July 2011 by admin
Categories: Coarse Fishing, Fish, Perch | Tags: , | Comments Off on Fishing Methods for Catching Perch


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