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Topwater Perch Fishing

In all fishing techniques there are some playful ones and one that is undoubtedly the most fun – topwater fishing for perch!

Of course, there are hundreds of ways to catch a perch but right now we are only interested in topwater fishing. Even if it’s not the best way to catch many fish, it is certainly the most fun! Perch is a predator that hunts its prey on the surface of the water. When walking by a river during summer, we can often hear the characteristic sounds of hunting. The sound, a kind of “tchoc, tchoc, tchoc” comes from perch when they are chasing fry on the surface. They attack lures on the surface as they would attack fry trying to escape. 

What’s better than watching a fish attack?

Take a small rod, lure box and a pair of scissors with you. Put on your polarized sunglasses and get out perch fishing on the surface. It’s quick fishing and you will like it.

What lure to choose?

Two types of lures that you can try for perch are stickbaits and poppers.

Stickbait:

These floating lures zigzag on the surface imitating a fleeing fish, the famous “walking the dog”. A stickbait with sizes under 11cm, like the Skitter Walk® 8cm or Skitter V 10cm are perfect targets for perch. Bigger sized lures can trigger attacks but often cause many to get unhooked easily.

Popper:

If I only had one topwater lure to use for perch, it would be the popper because its action is a feast for the eyes and the perch attack them with incredible aggression. The popper’s size should be between 4 and 9 cm. The feather on the treble hook at the back of the lure is important in terms of adding flash and color, especially when it is twitched.

I use the Skitter Pop® 7cm a lot, but sometimes you have to use what perch want and sometimes they want small prey, in this case the Ultra Light Pop 4cm is a good choice. 

How to fish them?

Stickbait:

You create movement by lowering the rod and cranking slowly and regularly while giving small twitches.

Popper:

The best results are obtained with small series of four of five “pops” followed by a pause of one second, and again four or five pops. A bit like the way a perch would try to catch the fry. During the “pop”, the lure must move only a few centimeters. Popping is a slower action than ‘walking the dog’.

How to tie the lure?

With this lure, it is difficult to use a snap without limiting the lure’s swimming action. It would be ideal to tie the line directly using the Rapala knot, which forms a small loop when finished. The knot is perfectly suited for this because it gives the lure the freedom to swim.

The rod and the reel?

To cast far and above all to animate these lures, I recommend a rod of 2.1 meters in length, with powers often between 3-12g or 5-20g (M, ML or L depending on the manufacturer). 

For the reel, I commonly use the sizes 1000 and 2500 which allow for a light and balanced set. 

Which line and leader to choose?

Without any hesitation, Braided Line!

The action of these lures requires precision that only the absence of elasticity in the braid can give. In addition, the braid allows you to throw light, weighted lures long distances. As a rule, a braid of 0.13mm will fit perfectly. And my choice is the new 131 G-Core. It is soft, doesn’t sink too fast and I can cast miles with this braid! A diameter of 0.22mm is perfect. I use Super 21® FC, which is a 100% fluorocarbon line and virtually invisible in the water. 

Sometimes I even use a 0.25mm or 0.30mm diameter braid when there is lots of structure, to be able to get a nice fish out of the branches and land it. 

Where and when?

This is by far the hardest question to answer. I would like to say: where they are! From the moment the fry are swimming, the perch will follow them, so the rule of thumb is: find the food and you will find the perch! Edges, sunken branches and structure are excellent areas to fish. You must try all the locations that seem good, and when the perch are there, the attacks are almost immediate, and you don’t necessarily have to look for shallow areas.

A perch will not hesitate to rise up from the depths. Depths between 1-3 meters of water are a good starting point. However, this is also affected by the clarity of the water – the darker the water, the less the perch will move. In contrast, I saw a perch rise more than 5 meters in clear water to catch the lure on the surface. Whether in a lake or in a river, the perch will often adopt the same behavior. So, don’t remain static - move, roam the banks and look for them as the perch move around a lot. 

The best times for topwater perch fishing are the warmest months. The water must be warm enough so that the fish (all species) occupy the surface layer of the water. Surface perch fishing really starts from the moment the fish fry hatch and start swimming. This often coincides with the month of June or July, depending on where in Europe you are fishing. The perch can be found close to the edges and will hunt in shallow water until the first cold, often late September in northern parts and late October in southern parts. Since the climate has been a farce in recent years, we never know how far the conditions can go.