Arizona Canal Fishing

Footloose Fun

The list of rigs and methods to catch perch is a long one, but the simplest and most enjoyable way to catch them is to rove the banks with lure or fly tackle. In this manner it is possible to try various spots. A light, sporty rod is not only enjoyable to use but minimises lost fish. Perch, and the big ones especially, can be heart-breakers on the wrong tackle; whether it is their head-shaking antics or the soft sides of their mouths, these fish can easily shed hooks, hence heavy rods are less than ideal.

The only risk apart from getting stuck in the odd snag is the presence of pike, which make it sensible policy to use a light wire trace. Braided lines offer terrific strength at a very low diameter – and 10lb braid will cast even tiny lures but minimise the risk of danger should you contact a pike or two.

Arizona Canal Fishing Photo Gallery

Des Taylor returns a canal specimen to the haunt it came from, beneath a barge.

Much has been written about lures for perch. While it is perfectly true that a big perch will sometimes take a comparatively huge lure, I am of the firm belief that you will catch a lot more perch on something that can be comfortably engulfed by a pound plus fish in one bite. Lures in the 2-3in bracket are ideal.

There is still something to be said for the classics where lure choice is concerned and a small spoon and plugs, or the time-honoured Mepps spinner still catch plenty of perch. It’s good fun just running the spinner through likely areas and watching the fish come after it. One tweak I will often make is to replace the treble hook with a large single: this is much kinder on the mouth of the perch and also allows you to thread half a worm in place, which is a good dodge to earn extra bites.

The author cradles a well-marked perch, taken on the worm.

Of the more modern lures, small soft plastics are brilliant perch catchers. These are much easier to fish at greater depths and hence my first choice when the water is deep or the perch are lying close to the bottom in the colder months. These can be counted down to different depths and retrieved steadily, or even jigged slowly across the bottom. I much prefer those rigged on just a single jig hook, which are also much kinder to the perch compared to treble hooks.

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