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The 4 must-have lures for Perch Fishing

Summer’s on the way – in some places, it’s already here. And that’s the perfect reason to share some of my favorites for perch fishing. In the last couple of years, I’ve dedicated my time to search and catch the big perch in Norway. And now I’ll be sharing my favorite Rapala lures that have more than earned their permanent place in my perch arsenal. And to make it even better, I’ll also be sharing some tips and insights on how to use them for maximum results.

The perch is one of our most common freshwater fish here in Norway. Thanks to its adaptability, it’s found almost everywhere – from small and nutrient-stripped marsh waters to large lakes and rivers, rich with fish. They have often adapted to the environment in which they live, meaning that even within the same species there can be great differences in behavior and appearance. My focus has often been on not hunting for the biggest specimens but instead discovering and optimizing new fishing situations. 

My search for this “striped pitbull with gills” has been going on for years, almost bordering on obsession. Together with the rapid development of methods, equipment, and electronics, my experimentations have brought a lot of lessons and results. A couple of years ago I could have returned home empty-handed, telling myself that “the fish just weren’t home today”. Nowadays, each fishing day comes with countless observations. I still have trips with less-than-optimal results, but my approach to it has become more analytical. I could go on about this for ages, but for now, I’ll restrict it to lures – the ones I wouldn’t do without. Because when hunting for the master of adaptation, you’ll need to adapt as well. 

Rippin’ Rap®

The Rippin’ Rap® is crankbait with a lot of character – more than most people are used to. The lipless design allows for bouncing the lure along the bottom with a vibrating action. The built-in BB rattle system emits a loud and distinctive rattle for extra attraction.

This perch didn’t need a second look before devouring my 7 cm Rippin’ Rap.

I first became aware of this lure a few years ago. And in many ways, the Rippin’ Rap has revolutionized my perch fishing. Thanks to the lure’s considerable weight (9–24 g), it can be used for fishing near the bottom with great speed. It’s a long-casting lure that attracts fish from far with all the noise and mayhem it causes – which is a great feature when fishing in murky waters. It’s probably clear why the Rippin’ Rap has become one of my essentials: it’s a long-casting all-rounder with a bold attitude! And it’s not only for perch – the pike and trout also love this little show-stopper.

One of the many perch above the magical one-kilogram threshold. Caught with the Rippin’ Rap, of course.

It’s not only about the function – the form needs to be on point, as well. 

Shadow Rap®

If you ask me, this lure’s a modern classic. I’ve lost count of how many times the Shadow Rap® has turned my fishing trip around – this lure is a gift that keeps on giving. The Shadow Rap family has models, sizes, and colors for days. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Shadow Rap Shad 09.

I often use multiplier reels and short, stiff rods for my perch fishing. Why? Because it gives me better sensitivity and control, allowing for varied presentations.

The Shadow Rap Shad’s beauty is in its presentation. It has a swimming lip that gives it a seductive action when reeled or trolled. But when jerked and twitched, the lure makes sharp turns, giving the impression of a prey fish in trouble. And this, of course, is pure heaven to predators. Sometimes, the predator fish can feel a bit too loose and relaxed – that’s when getting bites can be tricky. However, adding little jerks, twitches and spin stops to your presentation can be just the thing to turn the situation around.

When it comes to color options, I tend to go with natural imitation patterns.

Another thing that makes the Shadow Rap Shad stand out is its slightly high profile which makes it easy to spot in shallow waters. In those situations, there simply isn’t enough depth for the fish to swim underneath the lure. That’s why it’s good to go for a lure that has a noticeable silhouette. On slower days, I couple the Shadow Rap Shad with VMC’s Bladed Hybrid Treble hooks to pick up the pace.

DT

Now this one’s a legend. The DT stands for “Dives To” – and that is exactly what this lure does. After hitting the surface, this bait dives to a predetermined depth and spends impressive amounts of time in the strike zone. In the US, it’s often used for bass. But here in the North, it’s a great choice for perch. The DT can be fished in a very traditional manner (with great results), but I have a special way of using it. I have to warn you: we are about to get into a bit into the specifics of fishing. But it’s something that will keep you ahead of the curve – and it’s a great way to show off to your fishing buddies.

Treating the fish gently and with respect is essential for a successful catch and release.

Optimally, I use this technique in waters with large rocks and a bit of mud, with depths ranging from 2.5-3.5 meters. Okay, here goes: I crank the lure quickly down to the bottom, where I let the long diving lip bump into some rocks and the bottom. It’s only after that when I let the lure float upwards. When the DT makes contact with the rocks and the bottom, it creates a small cloud of sediments and sand. I let the bait float through this cloud – and boom! That’s when the fish usually strike. The theory behind this is that the initial collision with the rocks and the bottom catches the attention of the fish. And when it sees the very life-like lure rising through the cloud of sediment, it instinctively goes for the strike. 

Two beautiful perch that I caught with the DT10 on a short trip to a live well.

Skitter Pop®

Without this bad boy, my passion for perch fishing would have never grown to these proportions. For those who are not familiar with the Skitter Pop®, it’s a surface-running lure that pops, bloops, and skitters like there’s no tomorrow. Fishing with lures like the Skitter Pop can be unbelievably exciting because all the strikes happen right there on the surface ¬– meaning you’ll get to see all of the action. If you ask me, the best times to use the Skitter Pop are early summer mornings and evenings when the water temperature is high.

The technique for the Skitter Pop is easy: just add some twitches and pauses to your retrieve, and you’ll get the popping effect. Make sure to include the pause after the pop – that’s usually when the strikes come. For this to work, the fish in the area need to have a habit of hunting for food in the topwater layers. So, if you see fish snacking right below the surface on a calm summer day, make sure to give the Skitter Pop a go.

I hope this text brought some insights and inspiration for your fishing – both on what lures to use and why to use them. And when it comes to fishing, you never stop learning!