How to Perch Fish

Fishing for Perch is fairly easy at different times of the year. Perch fishing is a great opportunity for children to learn to fish, since the perch are sometimes so active, you won’t have time to bait two poles. If you have neglected taking your child fishing for fear of patience, consider spending time teaching them to perch fish.


One of the biggest tips for successfully catching perch is to have the right equipment.

  • POLE- A light to medium fishing pole, with good action is essential. Sometimes those little guys bite so lightly, that you will never know that they were there.
  • LINE-The best pole in the world is no good if your line is old, nicked or dry rotted. Make sure to check your line before you go out. If it is tangled, or discolored, it is probably a good time to bring the reel in for me to change the line for you. Most line is okay for perch fishing, depending on your rigging and pole. Remember though, these fish sometimes bite short, and you need all of the sensitivity you can get!! I generally suggest using a high quality 5-7 pound test monofiliment, or Spider fusion wire.
  • Rigging-This is where preferences may differ. There are several methods to rigging your pole for perch: Perch Rigs, Spreaders or sinker rigging.
  • Perch Rigs are similar to Crappie rigs in that they contain two to three hooks, spread Vertically from the line. The idea is that you will have one hook toward the bottom, and the next hook about 6 to 8 inches above that, and possible another hook 6 to 8 inches above that, so that you are fishing at slightly different depths for the perch. Sometimes, 6 or 8 inches makes a world of difference when perch fishing.
  • Spreaders consist of a metal wire that is spread in the shape of an upside down ‘U’. On the bottom of each ‘U’ there are short leads, with spinners (optional) and hooks. There is a sinker placed in the middle of the ‘U’ to help get the spreader to the bottom, and keep it there. This device is mostly used for fishing the bottom, or a controlled distance from the bottom. For the record, there are also different kinds of spreaders that have three leads coming from a ‘T’ shaped base.
  • Sinker Rigging is similar to systems used for bass fishing. Basically, you tie a hook to the end of your line. You place a 1 to 4 ounce sinker between 10-18 inches from the hook, on the line. The rig is then dropped to the bottom, and vertically jigged from the bottom, or fished on the bottom.


  • Minnows and cut bait are generally the baits of choice when fishing for perch. There are many different ways to hook the minnow (also referred to as lake shiners). You can hook the minnow: through both eyes, and leave the minnow dangling from the hook by the eyes; hook the minnow through the top of the head, starting at the front, working the hook back through the head, toward the body, leaving the minnow perpendicular to the line; the minnow can be hooked just behind the head, on the side, pulling the hook all the way through the minnow then placing the tip of the hook through the tail, leaving the minnow in a crippled looking position; or you can use any other method that your grandpappy taught you when he took you out and showed you how to cast into a tree when crappie fishing.
  • Nightcrawlers and worms are also used, but are not quite as popular when the fish are really biting. You can pretty much put that fat juicy crawler on the hook any way you can get it to stay, after you have tried the minnows.


  • This is where it gets tricky!!! Every man woman or child that has ever perch fished has their own method, and it probably works. There are some people that can catch 20 perch to your 1, and have you convinced that all of the perch are just on their side of the boat. The best thing to tell you, is that you have to experiment with the following methods. Perch fishing is defiantly a ‘feel’ thing. After you get it, remember everything that you did to catch that fish, and duplicate it!!! It is probably the winning recipe to catching all of the perch on your side of the boat!!
  • Jigging- Whichever rig that you decided on from above can be used here. Basically, you release the line from the reel, until the rig hits the bottom (you generally know that it is on the bottom because the line quits pulling from the reel, and either gets slack, or begins to coil) Once the rig is on the bottom, you want to wind the reel a couple of times, until all of the slack is gone from the line. You just want to reel enough to take the slack out of the line though, this is important!!! Now comes the feel thing. You want to move your pole up and down slowly, so that the tip is raised about 3 feet from the starting position. Pay very close attention to the tip of the pole, and the line as you jig the pole up and down. Perch sometimes hit very lightly, and can only be noticed by paying very close attention. Now, move your pole tip back down, until the rig hits the bottom again. Repeat this process over and over and over, until you at last feel the perch (if you have done this procedure several times with no success, reel the line up and check the bait. Sometimes those thievin’ perch will get your bait while you are figuring out the feel thing) Once you feel the perch hit, give a quick jerk on the pole to set the hook (don’t pull too hard, or you will pull the hook right out of that perch’s mouth), and begin reeling. Do not stop reeling until the fish is in the boat, unless you don’t have your drag set, and the fish is fighting back. If you stop reeling in the perch, you will probably be disappointed when an empty hook comes to the surface. Perch have very soft mouths, and it is very easy for the perch to swim off your hook if you stop reeling.
  • Lazy Jigging is exactly as it sounds. Basically, you drop the line to the bottom as you did for jigging, except, after the slack is reeled from the line, you crank the reel 2-3 more turns, and lean the pole against the side of the boat, and watch the tip of the pole. Soon enough, you should see the tip jerking, indicating that a fish has found your minnow. Grab the pole, and set the hook as described above. Sometimes, you may have to hold the pole for a few seconds after you see the hit, and wait for the fish to return, before setting the hook. The reason that we call thing lazy jigging is that your hands are free to bait someone else’s pole, or take your buddy’s fish of the hook, while the boat and action of the water, actually jigs the minnow for you.

Those are just two of the easy ways to try to teach new fishermen or fisherwomen how to do it. I am sure that if you ask the guy on the other side of the boat how he is catching all of the fish, he will give you some smart answer, and leave you even more frustrated. Just remember, after you catch the first one, duplicate whatever it was that you did to catch that fish, and more are sure to follow. Perch generally feed in large schools, so once you find them, you will be so busy pulling up fish, that your buddy is going to have to bait his own hook!!!


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Enjoy the fishing!!!

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