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Aiming for the large ones

Stephan Gockel

My professional advice concerns the fish which normally is considered a marginal fish by many anglers. Very few people fish for it specifically. It can be quite a nuisance, when mainly small specimens aim at the lures. Therefore it has the reputaion of a stupid and greedy fish.

The intended fish is the perch. I got really fascinated by them. With this I do not mean small specimens. They are really a bit boisterous and are lead by their instinct. They have their likings but are easily caught with the right amount of standard lures. Mostly Mepp spinner with the right size (up to 3) and a small perch cannot resist. Normally bright colours get them into the right biting mood. With bigger specimens over 50cm, it is a completely different matter. They have made me helpless and perplex, yet they were also the highlight of my fishing life.

In our waters there is no more capricious fish around! They grow in comparison to other fish very slowly and therefore are quite old when they are bigger than 50cm. In this time they gained a lot of experience and have seen quite a few lures. I believe that there are more and less intelligent fish among this species. The less intelligent were caught or eaten while growing, the more intelligent have managed their lives and that is the reason why they got so old. So the large, smart and experienced perches are making it interesting. The opinion which is widely spread among experts is that it is easier to catch small instead of large perches. I have the same opinion. During the last years I developed three tactics to catch them. Here are the rules of success:

Rule 1: Large perch are very careful and extremely cautious. So it is better to fish with a very thin line. O.16 to 0.20mm monofilament or a nearly invisible 0.18mm rig is sufficient.

Rule 2: You can be sure that large perch have seen a lot of lures and will not react to them. So use different lures than the other anglers in this area.

Rule 3: Do not fish in a normal fishing area. Even if you know where they normally linger, do not believe this is the place where they bite. Look for a place between their lingering and their hunting areas and fish in between.

To put these rules into action, attend to the following:
The boat with the depth finder is already too far away... The best season for perch fishing is spring. After spawning they are lighter, but also easier to find.
Look for places where the water is more shallow and flows into different directions...for example underwater mountains. The first warm days of the year warm the water at this place. Silverfish and other small fish romp around. Most anglers fish among these and catch a huge amount of fish. If they have 10, I have just 1 but that one has a different size...

Among the smaller fish only the small perch under 40cm romp around in my experience. They need the flock not only for food, but also for protection. The real large ones do not have much to fear and therefore do not need the protection of the swarm. They are are normally found in deep waters and swim only when hunting in the swarms. There are smaller groups about 5 fish which have all the same size. Smaller perch are not found there, because they would only end as food for the other ones. Trying to catch them in these areas would be senseless, when there is so much food around. The perch are fat and lazy. It is more interesting, when they swim to the swarm for food.

And that is the tactic of my success:

First I look for the right place and I also look for swarms of small fish and young perch. Then outside these places I look for the large perch.  I anchor in between and catch the perch before they reach the swarm. At that moment when they are already heading for the swarm, they are so greedy that this is the best moment to outwit them. A lure among the fish would be useless, because they would see the trick. Concerning the lure: It should be a small lure, just a bite before dinner. And it should be eye catching. Different from anything they know. They got old and fat for a reason. I caught the best with silver painted shot which I directly put on a long 10 hook. Unbeatable as a bait are NITRO worms. I use a silverfish rod. I put the hook with the lead directly on the line (fluo carbon 0.20mm) amd put the worm on the hook. Offer the whole a hand above the ground. The rod is laid on the barrier of the boat and leave the rest to the waves. Through the waves the bait dances seductivly above the ground. Simple but lethal. The strange thing is, I only caught perch larger than 45cm...

As a top installation, I built a basic ground installation with a lead ball of 10gr directly on the line, swivel and a size 6 hook to the 120cm size 20 rig. On the hook is a very small mini waggling tail with flavour or a soft twister with a big tail. The bait have normal colours or very bright colours. The whole must be cast long and with closed handles of the spool. Then it should sink with the line to the ground. If the line eases, the lead has touched the ground. Now pull the line slightly back and then let it drift again. The rod should always point up (imagine a clock betwen 11 and 12 o'clock). The bait should drift in semi-circles. And then do it all over again. The line should be tightened all the time, so that the catch is noticed at once - the lead should always touch the ground. Let it lie for a few seconds and then again...The bites normally come in the sinking phase.

Of course it also works with a small lure. I did not catch one perch, but several zanders.

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