For past 8 months I have been slightly obsessed with fishing for Red fin perch (Refer to Perch from here on). They are cool looking fish, an interesting fish to catch. If you have never targeted them before, you definitely should, and here are some of the facts and tips for targeting them.
- Perch lives in wide ranges of coastal rivers, as well as in both high and low altitude lakes nation wide.
- Perch can withstand a lot lesser quality water and warmer temperature, compare to the trout/ salmon.
- Easy to catch.
- Very good eating fish
About the Perch:
Perch will feed on any invertebrates when they are juvenile, and as they get bigger, they start to pray on other fish, juvenile eel, catfish, galaxiid (NZ’s native fish), other coarse fish, and anything else they can get mouth to. They have such a big and beautiful looking eyes, they must have incredible eyesight. They also are very sensitive to vibrations. We often compare Perch to Kea (NZ native parrot), they like shinny stuff, loves lots of commotion, and either hangs alone or in the shoal. When they shoal together, smaller fish seems to be in front of the pack checking the territories out and the bigger ones hangs behind in the slightly deeper waters. More the little perches get exited, the bigger ones will come to play. They are an ambush predator so they love the structures, and they are such a great breeder.
How to catch them:
Traditionally amongst the coarse fishing enthusiasts, they use live worms, Little live baits (Rudd etc…) as a live baits. However due to the perch’s curious nature, you can catch them on more sporty gears. Her are the breakdown of each kinds).
- Spoons (2 -10g) – with a lot of bling (silver or gold body with contrasting red/ black, red or green stripes on them)
- Spinners (2 -10g) – with small (fast spinning) silver, gold or high-vis colour blades with contrasting colour body.
- Soft Plastic (1- 4 inches long with light jig head) – Ones with a lot of body wobble or tail twitches would work best. Any colours would work however green, black or high-vis coloured body one seems to work well.
- Minnows (Plugs) – Skinny body minnows with small bibbed lures (usually a shallow divers) would work best for them. You could use long bib deep diving minnows for searching deep water, however, found it easier to use sinking small bib minnow rather than the deep diver due to the structural nature of their habitat.
- Fresh water jigs (2-10g) – Any gold or silver based colour but something can be fished on slow speed.
- Flies – Any streamer patterns, big nymphs, worm imitation or big terrestrial dry flies (Our favourites are Muddler minnow or Boobie flies).
We found bigger perch are very slow to get off the mark when they are on the fence of start chasing the pray, however when they do, there is no stopping them. Size of the lures doesn’t seem to matter too much for them.
I have caught them with 1 inch long spoon (1.8g) or great big 4 inch soft bait. Even the baby perch will try to bite the big spinners and soft baits. So the key is using something that can give them a plenty of presence in the water with a lot of vibration or something big and visible that can be moved in the water at steady slow speed.
Perch fresh are very firm white meat with sweet after taste, due to the hard scaled skin and bonnie ribcages, a lot of people hate cooking them, however if their living environments were great, and are in a good condition, cooked perch fresh is almost as tasty as the blue cod. If you have not tried them before it is definitely worth a try.
Perch can often be found near the civilisation, in a relatively easy access waters and can often be found in all year open fisheries. Once you can locate them they are so easy to catch. It is great fish to introduce kids or beginners to fishing. When you see the perch’s big mouse chasing and biting your lures (or flies) near the top water, any anglers will be hooked on them for life after that. Take our words for it and give this relatively untapped fishing a go, their charm look and ultra aggressive bite may captivate you, and it may even become one of your favourite fish to catch.
Lots of tight lines