Arrange Your Perch Gear Like a Pro

Follow these step-by-step instructions by Rapala Pro Guide Jonatan Nellfors to make sure your perch gear is set up and ready to go!

I’ve worked as a chef and a head chef in many different restaurants around my country. If there´s one thing life as taught me, it is that you will never be fully done learning. You can be really good and skilled at what you are doing, but occasionally you will stumble on something new to learn. A fresh point of view or someone that will show you something different. A new recipe or the latest taste combination. 

That learning curve is something I’ve copied into my fishing. In my opinion, you can be a great and skilled angler but there are always some new cool hacks and tricks to learn. Or maybe you are one of those people who recently started fishing as their hobby? 

Well, in this article I will cover my process of planning and making arrangements for a full day out perch fishing. Whether you are a more skilled angler or new at fishing, I hope this post provides you something new and valuable. I guess we cannot cover all the techniques and situations in just one article. But a good walkthrough on the basics will give us a good head start!

Organize your gear!

I consider perch fishing requires a bit more delicate touch. Smaller bags, lighter rods, downsized nets, finesse techniques and exciting lures.  As a storage for my tackle and lure boxes, I am using a tackle bag from Rapala. it’s an older version of the new LureCamo Tackle Bag. The medium sized bag holds up to four pieces of a 3700-size tackle box. Check out all the Rapala tackle bags here.

Good gear bag is always crucial. I would suggest you choose one with hidden pockets. You always find perch related items that need storage space. Pockets are good for that, because they make organizing easy.  The Rapala LureCamo Tackle Bag has a daisy chain, which allows you an easy access to your tools. The bag also has a bunch of organizer pockets and other cool features. 

Some of the essential gear that I always pack with me on my perch fishing trips:

•    The smaller and more delicate Mini Split Ring Pliers from Rapala 
(Great for those smaller split rings and hooks.) 
•    Hook Sharpener
(A fast way to re-sharpen your hooks when they have some minor damage.) 
•    The 25 kg RCD Digital Scale and RCD Roll Ruler 
(The best way to get your measurements and weights right, in a quick and easy way)
•    A good net. See the Rapala net selection here.

Sometimes it might make sense to bring along a bigger net. Depending on your fishing situation it can be an advantage to use a net that is equipped with a longer handle. For example, if your fish a lot from a boat with higher rails on it, a longer handle is needed.

In addition to the list above, there are a several other items that can be useful. Pack a sharp knife for general use and a pair of good scissors for cutting braided lines. Rapala has their RCD Precision Line Scissors which are my favorite. 

Rods, reels, and lines!

Then into the jungle of lines... It might not feel easy to choose a suitable line. During the last years I’ve received plenty of questions regarding fishing lines! What line should you use for perch fishing?
Well, these are my personal preferences – let me tell you why I use these lines.

My choice of line depends on the rod. Basically, for a full day out hunting for perch, I pack three different setups (with rods, reels, and lines). This may of course sound like a lot, especially if you are new to fishing. And on the other hand, some anglers might find it not enough (and prefer to have a bigger selection of rods with them). It’s all up to you of course.

Set 1: a 6,5-7,1” spinning rod (fast-medium action) attached to a 3000-size reel. 

This is a great combo that will work on most waters as you target perch, smaller zander, trout, grayling… You name it. A line that has been working exceptionally good for me, is the Sufix 131 G-Core braided line. Honestly, it is an amazing line.

It is easy to get ahead of yourself and think that I sound a bit biased. But trust me; throughout the years, I have been fishing a lot on different braided lines. Yet the Sufix 131 G-Core is my absolute favorite. Why is that?

Firstly, the roundness of the line is so good. The outstanding roundness makes even the really thick dimensions (like 0,40) to feel smooth and thin. The feeling is the same, no matter which rating of this line you choose. Secondly, the way the 131 G-Core resists water is beyond expectations. You are still able to make those long casts without any problem. And thirdly, the strength and knot-tying abilities are flawless. 

The Sufix 131 G-Core is built with 13 fibers: 12 HMPE fibers and 1 GORE® Performance Fiber in core. The strength consistency is higher, and that one Gore® fiber will make the line rounder and more water and abrasion resistant. I´ll recommend you try it for perch fishing. Somewhere around 0,12 to 0,16 is the most suitable for a 3000-model spool. 

Sets 2 and 3: The other two sets consist of baitcasting rods and reels. I choose a 7,1” rod and a shorter one - a 6,7”. These two setups will have fluorocarbon and monofilament as the main line and a thicker fluorocarbon leader. 

For the fluorocarbon main line, I´m using the Sufix Advance FC fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon has less stretch than a mono line. The Advance FC has a great balance and it is a pleasure to fish with. There are especially a couple of things that I really like about this line.

Firstly, the clarity. The Advance FC is so clear in the water, that its almost invisible (almost). I believe that’s a huge benefit when dealing with tricky and picky fish, such as the perch. Secondly, the strength and the smoothness of this line feel amazing. So many times I’ve ended up with bird nests (horribly tangled up line) with other fluorocarbons, so I am truly happy that those days or now over. 

Thirdly, the Advance FC is easy to handle. Easy to tie knots on. It’s memory free, which will spare you so much time on the waters as you can concentrate on fishing instead of untying those tangled bird nests. 

I´m using both combos for fishing jerkbaits, cranks and smaller wobblers. On the last combo, I use a monofilament line. My choise for monofilament line is the Sufix Advance. A monofilament line (“mono” for short) is often used in waters and areas which have plenty of stones and logs. Or in running waters, like rivers and creeks or when fishing lakes with rocky vegetation and places that require the line to be tougher.

You will definitely feel the 50% lower stretch compared to a standard mono line. Which is one of the benefits of the Sufix Advance. You will also notice the memory-free benefits, as you fish with the Sufix Advance. Its lightness and finesse as you are making those long casts… It is incredibly good. This mono line comes easy off the reel and you will not experience any line weakening or memory damage on the line. I´m actually surprised how it holds up amongst those sharp teeth of the smaller pike I have caught as bonus during my perch fishing. 

Lures! For different situations

So, we have gone through some of my favorite items, storage gear and especially my favorite lines on three different rod and reel setups. But without some proper and good lures, we will not catch any fish!

For me, perch is the one species that can be really tricky to catch. I believe they are way more sensitive in their behavior than pike or even zander. 
What is a good lure then? Or a question that I get alot, is: “What´s the best lure on the market?“

Well, of course it depends of which species we are targeting. I have chosen four different perch lures that are my favorite. 

Rippin’ Rap®

Rapala Rippin’ Rap® is great lure that makes a rattling noise.  Jigg it on the bottom or reel it in with a steady retrieve. Rippin’ Rap comes in three different sizes and a bunch of really nice color options. I fish it in areas with a lot of structures or over bigger areas with vegetation. It works for both perch and zander. But beware! You´ll get a zillion of angry pikes on it too! 

Shadow Rap® Shad

Rapala Shadow Rap® Shad is a perfect hard bait. With the higher profile it presents a great flash in the water. With jerking technique it moves side so to side and mimics a damaged fish. You can fish it really slow as it rises in a vertical position as you pause. Super sharps hooks from VMC makes this a multispecies lure that I use almost everywhere. You can most definitely just use a cast and retrieve technique with the Shadow Rap® Shad. It has a great wobbling and rattling action and will trigger a lot of fish!

Scatter Rap® Glass Shad 

In situations which I fish a bit deeper amongst hunting perch, I choose the Rapala Scatter Rap® Glass Shad. The unique Scatter lip gives this lure it´s fleeing movement as it sticks out to both sides on a steady retrieve. Until spring this year, I had my personal biggest perch on this lure! It was a fat Swedish coastal perch and weighed 1890 grams. 

360GT Largo Shad Jig from Storm

It’s a classic rubber jigg that will never go out of style. The rubber jigg is perhaps the most fished lure for any angler, kid, and family member. The Storm Largo Shad Jig can be fished in any water for any species. It comes in both 10 and 8 cm versions. The profile of the bait can be customized by cutting or removing the “tail tendon” for a wider tail action. It will give the Largo Shad Jig a more aggressive swimming action. One of my personal favorite colors is definitely the Silver Mullet, which has a nice flash and shimmering look!

These are my go-to lures. I swap colors and as the situations change, I adapt. 

In this last picture you´ll see one my recently caught Swedish perch on a brand-new Tokyo Rig. It is also a very effectful way to fish for perch. Especially in areas with a lot of vegetation and in shallow waters.

Keep your eyes open for my next article, which will be about this rig and catching those sneaky perch that hide inside the weeds! 

Tight lines! 

Jonatan Nellfors
Instagram: @nellfors