Perch (Perca fluviatilis)
5lb 15oz, Les Brown, Stillwater at Crowborough, Sussex, 2006
5lb 2oz, P Taylor, Loch Ard, 2011
Perch a widespread throughout the UK and are found in all types of waterway. They are easily identifiable with their prominent spiny dorsal fin, and striped flanks. In clear water they can have very bright markings with dark stripes over deep olive green and golden flanks with deep red/orange fins.
These colours help this extremely prolific ambush predator blend in amongst weeds or dappled light under overhanging vegetation.
As befits their predator nature, perch are most often found near features which afford cover for small fry, alongside weed beds, margins, reeds, ledges, overhanging vegetation, pilings and bridges. They often give away their presence by scattering small fry in the shallows.
Perch are a shoal fish for most of their lives but as they get larger they will often drift off into pairs. If you catch one big perch on a certain method it is always worth going straight back in on the same line as you will often catch its mate.
Fishing for Perch
Perch are often the first fish that the novice angler will catch as they show little caution when feeding and will happily grab at anything edible that crosses their path, this is particularly true of small perch.
Match anglers use this preference for a moving bait to help build good weight of perch where they abound or simply to add a couple of bonus fish to the net while resting their main line. Deliberately lifting and dropping a worm or maggot bait, or dragging it from side to side, will almost always induce a bite if perch are in the area.
Best baits for perch are worms, red maggots, casters or red and fluorescent pinkies. Large specimens can also be caught on spinners, lobworms and some small fish baits.
Perch can be caught on any method but, due to their preference for features, margins and overhanging cover, and their liking for a moving bait, on many venues the pole is hard to beat.
Perch will feed all year round and are one of the most consistent autumn and winter feeders.