On canals where weed and debris festoon the bottom, a legered worm can be popped up with a little air from a syringe. This must be done with great care on a separate surface because injecting yourself with air can be fatal!
As more anglers cotton on to perch fishing, it’s also worth bearing in mind that the species can wise up to pressure. Sometimes it is worth switching to new lures and methods to fool the big, wary fish, whether this means drop-shotting or trying suspending lures or flies which can present an alternative to the ever-popular up and down motion of the soft plastic jig.
This fish was spotted lurkng menacingly in a clear canal. Note the small fry, seemingly oblivious!
Bait and Wait?
Some things never change in angling. For generations of anglers, perch fishing has begun and ended with a float and a wriggling worm. Our tackle and mindset may have developed beyond recognition but the fish are still suckers for a lively bait, whether this means a delicately pole fished worm section or a whole lobworm At the most refined end of the spectrum, modern pole-fishing techniques represent an incredibly productive and accurate way to catch perch of all sizes. A pole can be used to sneak a bait into the tightest of corners, while the canny angler can also use the tip to lift and drop a worm enticingly off the bottom
Some things in fishing never change: perch always love worms.
Canal Carp Fishing Photo Gallery
Typical pole set-ups also offer sensitivity. Slightly thicker-tipped pole floats cater for worm fishing, but otherwise tackle needn’t be ultra-heavy. Perch give a gratifying thump but present little danger on balanced tackle: rigs constructed of 3-4lb line and either a light hollow elastic or a solid number eight is ideal for big perch. Some finesse can be a great benefit because although smaller perch can be suicidally eager, the larger fish are surprisingly canny.
Whether it’s quality or quantity you want with perch, feeding is crucial. Loose fed maggots are one way to draw in both perch and the prey fish they like to bully. But for the dedicated perch angler there is no better feed than chopped worm This can be mixed with suitable groundbait and casters, or just pure worm I find dendrobaenas or red worms best, chopping them into a mixture of fine and larger pieces before they are introduced. I usually kick off proceedings with 6-8 decentsized worms plus some casters, adding a further 3-4 after every few bites or fish. The effect can be magical, drawing in fish whatever the conditions. A dendroabaena minus head slipped onto a size 12 hook presents an irresistible target amidst a pungent helping of ‘choppie’, but if smaller fish are a nuisance, lobworms are also worth trying.
Small livebaits also work where they are permitted, but do use a light wire trace as pike insurance.
Bites are generally very positive, and with the oversized mouth even a small perch possesses, you should strike as soon as the float begins plodding away. For the best in bite-detection and presentation, I like a worm set just touching the bottom
Seb Nowosiad tries some locks – areas which offer not only cover, but often major depth changes.
For anglers who don’t pole fish, waggler or light feeder tactics also work for perch. Nor is the classic chopped worm approach the only way to succeed. Maggots are a good bait, albeit one that is not as selective as worm. Like pinkies, they can be very useful to draw in the tiddlers which in turn can switch the perch on. Casters are another option many match anglers swear by for quality perch. I like these as a change bait for later in the session – although they can also be used to tip worm baits.
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