Dr Paul Gar­ner

Why it pays to vary your lure fish­ing styles for big perch

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

WHAT­EVER hap­pened to the drop shot­ting boom that swept the coun­try a few years back? I bet a huge pro­por­tion of the lures, spools of braid and light rods are now gath­er­ing dust in sheds and garages. That is a great shame, be­cause the perch cer­tainly haven’t gone any­where. In fact, the pages of An­gling Times have been fes­tooned with big fish this au­tumn. The thing is, while drop shot­ting is a great way of catch­ing perch, it cer­tainly isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. By be­ing more flex­i­ble in your ap­proach you will not only catch more fish, but I think get more en­joy­ment from your perch fish­ing too.

So this week I want to try and nav­i­gate through the mine­field of dif­fer­ent lure fish­ing meth­ods and sug­gest some sim­ple lures and tac­tics that will put more fish on the bank.


We tend to think of perch as be­ing close to the bot­tom all the time, and many bait and lure tac­tics, such as drop shot­ting, keep the lure in this zone. This can be a big mis­take, as perch can of­ten be much higher in the wa­ter, es­pe­cially in deeper venues.

Hav­ing scuba dived with perch many times, I have ob­served that when the fish are ac­tive they can be sev­eral feet off the bot­tom.

At this time of the year in par­tic­u­lar they are quite likely to be well be up in the wa­ter, mak­ing other lure tac­tics much more ef­fec­tive than drop shot­ting.


Soft plas­tic lures have rev­o­lu­tionised preda­tor fish­ing in re­cent years. Com­ing mainly from Europe, this style of fish­ing is well suited to perch, along with pike and zan­der. Ob­vi­ously, the main dif­fer­ence be­tween baits aimed

at perch and not other, larger, preda­tors is the size of the lure.

Choose baits up to a max­i­mum of 12cm for perch. You will catch more fish on smaller baits of around 4cm to 8cm, but I would rather miss out on these fish and use a big­ger bait that se­lects just the larger spec­i­mens.

As with crankbaits, look for shads that have a tight wig­gling ac­tion – the fast move­ments of the tail re­ally do make perch want to at­tack them!

Shads with a nar­row root to the tail have max­i­mum move­ment and that tail keeps beat­ing even when you stop wind­ing in.

Un­less you are fish­ing re­ally shal­low, shads are go­ing to need weight­ing. There are sev­eral ways to do this, but the most com­mon is us­ing a jig­head with the hook built in. You can buy many lures with the jig­head al­ready fit­ted, which is a great way to start out, but fit­ting your own al­lows you to tai­lor the weight to the depth of wa­ter be­ing fished and the speed of the re­trieve.

A good rule-of-thumb to re­mem­ber when rig­ging shads is to use a 2/0 hook with a 2ins bait, a 3/0 with a 3ins bait and so on.

This sounds mas­sive com­pared to what we use for other types of fish­ing, but re­mem­ber, most of the hook is buried in the bait. To get your lures work­ing at the right depth use one gram per foot. So if you want to fish a swim 10ft deep, use a 10g jig­head.

“Un­less you are fish­ing re­ally shal­low, shads are go­ing to need weight­ing”

A mini-plug with spin­ner blade (left) and a shad on a jig­head.

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