Perch - (Perca fluviatilis)
As you can see from the picture it is relatively easy to identify perch. Across their flanks they have a number of black stripes which help keep them camouflaged. Their Pelvic, Anal and Tail fins display a distinct red/orange colour. They also have two Dorsal fins, with the frontal fin made up of sharp spikes - Care must be taken whilst handling these fish as these spikes can cause injury.
Perch spawn in April or May depending on local weather conditions. Their spawning grounds are usually found in shallow marginal areas which are not open to the elements.
Females can lay up to 200,000 eggs, they place these sticky eggs on reeds, roots and sunken branches in the shallow margins. These eggs hatch after 8 or 9 days and the small fry that emerge begin to feed on zoo plankton, insect larvae and shrimps.
Natural Diet & Common Baits
Perch in their juvenile stage of development turn their attentions away from zoo plankton & shrimps and begin to focus on other fish, this is when they become fully fledged predators. Young perch form shoals in order to hunt and can sometimes be seen in pursuit of small bait fish in the margins.
Perch have excellent eyesight in low light conditions, so tend to hunt most when light levels are at their lowest - with early morning and dusk being particularly good times to target perch as this is the period when their eyesight has a distinct advantage over their prey.
Perch can be caught on a variety of different baits, with most popular choices being maggots, worms and artificial lures.
Finding perch on any particularly stretch of water can be made easier by looking for shaded areas, these can be reeds, tree roots or underwater snags, anywhere that looks like it will give perch cover for an ambush is usually a good place to start.
As perch grow in size their shoals tend to become much smaller, and when they reach specimen size they often become lone hunters - This can make the pursuit of specimen sized perch an interesting challenge.
Tackle & Tips
- A float rod or pole are ideal for perch fishing, as they both allow excellent presentation of bait. A simple float set up at dead depth with spaced shot, can make the bait fall naturally through the water, which is always a great method when targeting perch.
- Specimen perch can usually be found in areas that provide good cover, tree roots, snags & under cut banks are always good places to look.
- Perch can be caught using small artificial lures, although a wire trace must always be used if pike are present in the water you are fishing.
- Large lobworms are an excellent bait to use for large perch - for extra attraction, try nipping the end of the lobworm off so that it's juices can be released in the water, this will help attract perch & other species into your swim.
- Perch tend to gorge on their prey, they do this to prevent other members of their shoal stealing their food - this can cause problems for anglers as there is an increased risk of deep hooking. To prevent deep hooking you must always strike at the first indication of a bite.
- In order to prevent injury from the sharp spikes on the dorsal fin, always hold the fish by moving your hand over the head towards its tail - This will help lay flat the sharp spines on the dorsal fin and enable you to hold and unhook the fish with ease.