Perch Bait Rigs – Bait Fishing for Freshwater Perch in Small Rivers

Paternoster rig for freshwater perch bait fishing. Perch Bait Rigs
Paternoster rig for freshwater perch bait fishing.

Perch Bait Rigs

Perch are found in most waters in Canterbury. Many anglers early in life started out by catching small perch in ponds and rivers. In this article, we’ll take a look at Perch Bait Rigs. There are various rigs that have proven successful for us in the past.

Perch spawn early in the season around October. They spawn in reeds and rushes and such things as sub-surface tree roots. Strings of up to 300,000 very sticky white eggs can sometimes be seen in the water looking like underwater cobwebs.

As they grow, the perch feed on water fleas, tiny crustaceans, and then move onto insect larvae and bloodworms. Male perch become sexually mature before they are a year old. Females take up to 3 years before being able to reproduce. Small perch are quite easy to catch, however, the bigger specimens are much harder to get to the bankside.

Most perch here in Canterbury have probably never seen a hook, but still remain shy of anything slightly unusual in an offered bait. A sophisticated bait presentation is not needed. Perch fishing is really a wandering style, moving along rivers and looking for likely spots where perch may be lurking. Dawn and dusk are the best times for perch fishing. An overcast sky increases the chance of catching perch. Canterbury Coarse Fishing Club.

Perch Fishing Tackle

Just carry the minimum amount of gear, it should all fit into a small backpack. We will come back to rod length in a minute, however, all you need to carry are a few Avon floats, a box of mixed size split shot, a fixed spool reel with 4lb line, hooks – sizes 6 and 8, a tin of bait (preferably worms) and a pair of polarised glasses.

The rod length can vary, some anglers prefer a 9-foot length. We recommend a 13-foot rod which is versatile enough to float fish, freeline or ledger.

Perch are very sensitive to line resistance, so keep your rigs simple. Worms are the ideal bait for perch, the bigger the worm the better. You can freeline for perch, but you must keep an eye on the line at all times. Let the perch take up to 3 feet of line before striking. A single swan shot will ensure your bait reaches the bottom of the river when there is a stronger current.

Freelining also gives you the advantage of being able to put a float on the line easily, if you want to change to float fishing.

Perch tend to be in shoals and also in small clearly defined spots. Once you have found perch, expect to catch more. Do not fish an area for too long without a bite. Move on. Perch will always be where there is cover, over-hanging trees, reed beds, and obstructions in the water such as fallen trees.

They also like gravelly bottoms and therefore are not keen on muddy beds. The ideal spot would be a low deep pool on the outside of a bend in the river with overhanging trees or close up against a bed of reeds.

Perch Bait Rigs

Freelining, ie, nothing on your line except a hook and a worm, is great for fishing under trees. When float fishing, an Avon float ensures your bait travels closely alongside the reed beds. The bulk of your shot should be about 300mm above the hook, so by halting or slowing down the float as it goes past the reed beds, it will lift the bait up in the water and entice the perch to bite.

The bait should be well off the bottom. Get your float as close to the reeds as possible. This is where your 13-foot rod comes in handy. Keep well hidden from your prey. Any slight movement will make the perch dive for cover. Keep a tight line at all times.

Another method is to use an air injected worm. Inject air into the head and tail using a syringe, and hook the worm through its saddle. Attach shot 150mm from the hook. The size of the shot should be just enough to cast to the spot you want to fish in.

Paternoster rigs are also a great way to catch perch (see diagram for a running paternoster rig). The club and New Zealand record of a 5 lb 0 oz perch was caught on a rig similar to this. We are sure you will find the methods and techniques mentioned in this article will give you a good start in catching perch in the small rivers that abound in Canterbury.

Perch – Perca fluviatilis – Redfin Perch Introduced freshwater fish