Perch is a common name for many types of fish, however in this article, we will be covering two of the most common and most well known species, the European ‘redfin’ perch, and the American yellow perch. These fish may survive on entirely separate continents, however what makes them both so unique is that they share a common ancestor, and although they evolved separately they still look almost identical in terms of body and fin shape, even down to both carrying identical black vertical lines down the body. The American version however changed in that it’s body and fin colours became yellow, while the European variant developed a grey body with bright red fins.
The two fish also share the same temperament, the same habitats and the same tactics work on both. As I am writing this article from Australia, where they were introduced around 170 years ago, and now thrive here, I will refer to the fish in this article simply as redfin perch, however you can apply these exact same tips to the American / Canadian yellow perch.
This article will focus solely on fishing for redfin perch using a boat, as these are the best methods I have found to ensure you land a lot of fish.
When fishing for redfin using a boat, you should target much deeper waters, as redfin often only migrate in a group, deeper water makes the fishing extremely enjoyable. If you are lucky enough to own a fish finder, you can troll around slowly, keeping the motor fairly silent, so as not to provoke them into a run or split. Once you find a group, they will be easily noticeable. Often they sit in the lower to bottom part of the water column, so at times you may see them travelling along the weed beds, or at other times just above them in the lower middle column of water.
When you find them, you need the right kind of lure. Bait fishing works to some degree, but they go absolutely crazy when you use redfin fishing lures. The best lures to use are firstly spin lures, keep in mind I did not say spinner-baits, these are a different type of lure, you want in-line spin lures, these are small lures with a central weight or bell and an upper spoon / blade. Some common types of lures like this are known under the name of Mepps and Bluefox Super Vibrax.
The way to fish using these lures is get the lure down below the fish, then retrieve to cause the lure to begin it’s spinning motion, when the lure is spinning you will feel the line tighten up slightly and strong vibrations will be felt in the rod, you don’t want to stop this spinning motion, as the redfin will then loose interest, instead cause the lure to rotate and raise the lure right up again to the surface, sometimes redfin will wait until the last moment to strike, so don’t be put off and back down too early. Also don’t be too quick with the retrieve, as long as the lure is spinning as it should, that is enough speed to apply, going faster will have a negative effect of making the fish give up easier.
If spin lures aren’t your ideal fishing lure, then you can also use soft plastics, however as redfin can often troll around along weed beds, the best hooks to use are often weedless jig heads. These you can apply to a grub style or swimbait soft plastic, and the hook will sit flush with the top of the soft plastic, when the fish strikes, give them a second or so to run so they being to push the lure further back in their mouth, then set the hook, provided the fishes mouth is closed, you will almost certainly hook up when using a weedless jig head. Where people go wrong is trying to set the hook too early, if the fishes mouth is open, then the weedless hook is almost useless. The weedless hook can be replaced with a regular hook if you prefer, which is more successful and hooks up 95% of the time, compared to around 70% of the time for weedless, but the downside to a regular hook is that you will snag off on a lot of weeds and logs / other items at the bottom of the water column, choose what is best by determining the location of the fish and the bottom water column debris / foliage.
Thirdly when fishing for redfin you can also use diving hard body lures, these lures look like real fish, and have a clear plastic angled piece at the front which causes them to dive down into the water when you retrieve. You want one that has a dive deep enough to hit the bottom of the water column, redfin love these lures as they look completely like a real fish, and when fishing for redfin using these, keep the retrieve speed fairly slow, just enough to hold the lure at the bottom of the water column, redfin will snap these up more often when you fish with them slowly rather than darting them around or rising / falling rapidly with the lure.
Some people also like to use bait when fishing for perch, in our experience the best bait is minnows, even baby redfin can be used, followed equally by freshwater crayfish / crawfish. However these baits can be difficult to obtain, and artificial lures appear to work just as well if not better.
In terms of the fishing line, a 3kg / 7lbs fishing line is minimum and enough to fish for redfin perch, and in terms of a fishing rod, a ultra light weight trout rod always proves to be very handy as it is not only easy to use, they are strong too and can handle lighter weight lures. If using heavier lures however (6 grams or more), you can use any regular spin rod.
These fishing lure and tackle methods are the best way I have found to land many fish in one outing, if you are not familiar with anything in this article, I highly advise you to do some google searches and find out more about the types of lures and hooks mentioned in this article. Good luck and happy fishing!
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