Q&A SPECIAL What’s the best lure?
I’M determined to catch a big perch this winter, but I am really confused when it comes to choosing the best lure. Can you help, please?
Martin Oliver, Norwich
FROM nowhere, drop shotting and jigging for perch have become fishing’s hottest properties, and with them has come an explosion in the weird and whacky baits that you can use to tempt ‘billies’ big and small. Much of this gear has been developed for places other than the UK, so it is no wonder that confusion reigns when it comes to choosing the right lures.
On their day, I am sure all these plastic baits will catch, but many lack consistency. After trying hundreds of different varieties over the last five years I have drawn a few conclusions on what perch really like.
Perch are among the most Opt for shads with a narrow neck to the tail.
inquisitive of all our fish, and will inspect almost anything to see if it is edible, but certain things definitely put them in hunting mode. A few weeks ago I spent a day out using a Waterwolf underwater camera attached above my jigging rig to try and understand what made the perch tick. The fish were attracted to all kinds of rubber lures, but it was the ones that naturally had the most movement that they couldn’t ignore.
Best of the lot were creature baits with lots of soft appendages that fluttered and swayed enticingly as the lure bumped along the bottom.
The perch were mesmerised by these active baits and would pounce on them instantly.
Paddle-tailed shads also worked well, but not quite up to the standard of the creature baits. The more subtle tail movement of these shads caught fish, but had Inbuilt foil is useful in low light conditions.
to be retrieved faster and worked with the rod-tip more to get a response. I look for lures that have a narrow neck between the tail and the body as these wiggle fast, producing maximum attraction.
Considering that I was really relying on the lure to attract the fish and not imparting much action into the lures it was no surprise that simple pin-tailed lures were the least attractive.
These can be great lures, especially when the water is colder and the perch aren’t so inclined to chase a really active bait, but they are most effective when constantly twitched and bounced, then paused to impart plenty of movement to them.
It was fascinating watching the perch hunt baits, and certainly they were brave little fish, often attacking baits that were far too large for them to engulf! Best results, though, were achieved with smaller lures, right down to I like to carry a selection of colours.
less than an inch long if the perch were only hand-sized.
Swapping to bigger 3ins and 4ins baits definitely sorted out the larger specimens.
Ask 10 perch anglers for their favourite lure colour and you are likely to get 10 different answers.
My advice is simple, but perhaps a little against the grain. In clear water I find bright colours work best, while when the water has a bit of a stain to it darker colours, such as brown and dark green can be awesome.
Looking in my well-used lure box it is obvious that green and yellow catch plenty of fish, going by the amount of chewed up lures!
Lures that have some internal flash from (for example) reflective foil inside the body also seem to have an edge, especially early and late in the day when the light levels are really low.
Lure fishing for big perch is in vogue right now.