The Coach How to catch canal perch

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

GONE are the days when tiny sil­ver­fish were the only thing on the menu when fish­ing canals – now gi­ant perch are steal­ing the head­lines.

Pre­ston In­no­va­tions man­ager Scott Geens has been a canal fa­natic for years and has de­vised an at­tack that pro­duces the goods time and time again.

This week he ex­clu­sively re­veals his top perch fish­ing ap­proach to An­gling Times...


“There will be plenty of pegs on your favourite canal that have fea­tures, but I am very par­tic­u­lar about the kind of cover I am look­ing for.

“Over­hang­ing branches that ex­tend into the deeper water down the mid­dle are my num­ber one choice. Small snags that just droop into the water will not be sur­rounded by enough depth.

“Ide­ally, I am look­ing for at least 3ft of water, prefer­ably more. In most in­stances, the perch will al­ready be sat there wait­ing, and it is just a mat­ter of get­ting your tac­tics right.”


“If you turn up and the water is clear then a cau­tious ap­proach is re­quired. In this in­stance I will in­tro­duce a few minced den­drobaena worms that add lots of scent, around 30 cast­ers and a few roughly cut lob­worms to give the fish an idea of what the hook­bait will look like.

“Big perch will also feed in coloured water, and un­der these con­di­tions I feed sim­i­lar quan­tites but kick off with a cou­ple of balls of Sonubaits Super Crumb Black as well.

“Its po­tent smell will at­tract not only perch, but the small sil­vers that they prey on. I will go in over the ini­tial dose of feed within 10 min­utes of drop­ping it in, as perch of­ten re­act quickly to a meal be­ing in­tro­duced nearby.

“If noth­ing hap­pens, try fish­ing else­where for a while, but keep ping­ing a few cast­ers over the top to draw fish in and hold those that are al­ready there. Top up with more pot­ted worms after 20 min­utes and try fish­ing over the top soon af­ter­wards.”


“When fish­ing close to cover you could eas­ily be tempted to fish a very heavy rig, but I don’t subscribe to this ap­proach.

“I’ll hap­pily use 0.15mm Pre­ston In­no­va­tions Re­flo Pow­er­line to a 0.13mm hook­length of the same ma­te­rial, fin­ish­ing with a size 10 or 12 PR355 hook.

“This may seem like a big hook but when you are us­ing half a lob­worm as hook­bait you can eas­ily get away with it.

“My elas­tic choice is a No12 Dura Hollo, set slightly tight­ened to power those fish away from the snags in the im­me­di­ate sec­onds after set­ting the hook.

“The best float for the job will have a rugby ball shape that will re­main sta­ble, and I find a 4x14 In­ter Wire float is ideal.”


“In most types of fish­ing it pays to strike the mo­ment the float sinks, but perch are the ex­cep­tion to the rule.

“It can take a big stripey a fair while to get the whole worm and hook in its mouth, so I will usu­ally count to five and then strike.

“If I see the line tighten be­fore that, I will re­act im­me­di­ately.

“This tech­nique doesn’t lead to deep hook­ing, and the hook­point is usu­ally buried well in the perch’s top lip.

“Once you’ve caught a fish, it’s time to top up with a small amount of bait and draw an­other fish out from un­der those snags.

“There are thou­sands of big perch in the UK canal sys­tem and the drop in water tem­per­a­ture is your cue to go and bag a new per­sonal best,” con­cluded Scott.

This canal perch took Scott’s worm hook­bait. Feed in­cludes minced worms and cast­ers.

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