perch fishing

The Perch Rod Guide | Stalking predators with light tackle

Perch fishing with a light lure rod and light lines can be one of the saviours of British winter sport fishing. When all your perch fishing tackle works together, it’s hard to go back to a clunky old spinning rod setup. To make the most of the perch and feel every bite, we need some seriously light weight kit.

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perch fishing lake

A very sensitive rod is required in order to feel all those perch bites. Some hits will be noticeable on almost any spinning rod. Others are subtle, like a sudden alleviation of tension on the rod tip – almost like an anti-bite. You can only feel those on a very sensitive rod.

Recommended perch rods:

HTO Akido, as long as no large pike are present
HTO Rockfish, more appropriate for waters with smaller pike & zander
Abu Garcia Ultra Light, for maximum sport when there aren’t pike!

The perch has a mouth that inhales prey – it creates something like a vacuum in its mouth so that when the mouth opens, water floods in. A rod that is sensitive enough will allow the perch to move the lure a few inches with minimal resistance in order to do this, whereas a rod that’s too insensitive could result in lures being yanked out of fish’s mouths.

ultra light perch rod

It’s also more fun targeting these fish with lighter tackle since they never grow above 6lb. The rods that work best for perch are the same as the rods popular amongst LRF anglers sea fishing or the lighter bass rods used in calmer waters.

What’s the best casting weight for a perch rod?

The best casting weight for a perch rod is around 10g, with the lower range of 1-2g to help casting lighter lures. This is the best set up as long as pike are not heavily present in the water you’re fishing. The HTO Aikido is a good example. If larger pike are present, a rod that casts 20-30g would be more prudent, because you can’t filter out all the pike, even when fishing with smaller lures. For pike-filled larger lakes, we’d use a rod like the HTO Rockfish MH to help with the larger pike.

perch fishing in a pond
Exploring local ponds and quarries is most of the fun for me

What’s the best lure rod length for perch?

7ft is a generally accepted standard size for a perch rod since it allows more control and manoeuvrability in tight areas where you could not easily fish with something longer – such as when fishing under a bridge, or under a tree. In the most heavily vegetated waters, I have used a 6.5ft rod when it’s only possible to fish from up trees! The 6ft HTO Aikido would be the perfect tool for close quarter fishing. 8ft is a sensible upper limit for most people and is useful in waters where a longer cast is beneficial, such as larger lakes and lochs. Shorter rods make for more casting accuracy. 7.5ft is going to be ideal for most people, as a longer rod makes it easier to hold lures deeper in the water when you’re stood high above the water (with the rod tip pointed down) and easier to hold your lures position if you want to fish the central channel of a canal or river. The key rule to remember here is: Shorter rods provide more control and manoeuvrability and longer rods help when fishing bigger, more open venues.

teaching a beginner how to use a modern lure fishing kit
It’s easier for beginners to learn to use advanced kit than it is to learn to use cheaper kit that doesn’t work well

Best rod action for perch fishing

The type of perch lures you use will likely determine what rod action you choose, rather than the species you target. It really comes down to personal preference and this is one of the many areas of fishing where you will receive contradictory advice, with logic that is exactly the opposite, depending on who you ask. I wouldn’t worry about it too much but faster actions are generally preferred by most. Some find their casting is more accurate with faster action rods, whereas a slower action rod will wobble after the cast, leading to more randomness in the delivery of the lure. Slower actions can be useful if fish are very tentative and respond poorly if they feel too much resistance when they take the lure.

If you fish mainly with plugs, rods with faster actions are preferred by many, because they hold their form better against the resistance of the plug in the water (they snap back to being straight faster, since the rod bends more at the tip and less in the lower section of the rod).  A slow action rod would bend more as you retrieved the lure, further down in the rod, which can reduce bite sensitivity a bit as bites will be absorbed lower down in the rod blank than they would be if the rod was straight at the time of the bite.

Should you get a solid or tubular tipped perch rod?

A solid tip is superior for fishing with soft plastics, but a tubular tip copes better with the action of hard lures and has a faster action (the rod snaps back to being straight after twitching a lure, whereas a solid tip would absorb more of the resistance and snap back less decisively.)

When fishing with soft plastics, especially the smallest soft plastics, a solid-tipped rod gives an advantage as it will bend more into the lure. Tubular rods are better for drop-shotting and hard lures. Tubular rods provide more bite sensitivity in the blank but less of a visual aspect. For instance, if you’re dead sticking (leaving a lure still, not retrieving) in the middle of British winter, a solid-tipped rod will allow you to see the smallest bites of those fish, with their metabolisms low and their feeding behaviour more tentative.

Best reels for perch fishing UK

perch reel

The best perch spinning reels are between sizes 1000 – 3000. For most people, 2500 / 3000 is ideal. An example is the Daiwa Ninja. If you are looking for a very cheap reel, this guide will not help you. That’s because each part of your lure fishing setup is dependent on the other parts to work properly, and if you have a crap reel, your nice braid or lightweight fluorocarbon line will get in tangles and the reel is likely to struggle with lighter lines. This in turn makes it harder to fish with lighter lures. Quality is more important with ultra-light spinning outfits than it is with regular spinning rods.

If you’re unsure about reel sizes, get a perch rod & reel combo

If you’re unsure about what reel size to get for your rod or a rod you’re looking at buying, consider buying a rod and reel combo together, or contact FISHMAG and we’ll help you find the right size.

So, you basically want to grab a Daiwa or Shimano and preferably spend at least £50 to get something decent. If you’re thinking of buying something else, feel free to check with FISH MAG if it’s any good, as there are some other good options out there. Reels from Shimano and Daiwa that cost £30 are functional, at £60 they are nice and at £100 you get a very nice product. Warning – like with many things, once you’ve fished with a reel that costs twice the price you can’t ever go back to something cheaper. I think the important functionality improvements occur up to about £70, but reels get smoother and sturdier as you spend more.

Be very careful with reels that look shiny and nice on the outside but cost under £30, because you can’t tell how good a reel is by how shiny and slick it looks!

Further research

French street fishing tackle

Custom Perch rods

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