Ben’s Top Estuary Perch Fishing Tips
- Sometimes estuary perch are scattered throughout the river and estuary systems, but often they are schooled up with all of the fish in small areas within the system.
- A number of Victorian dams are now stocked with estuary perch and while there are plenty of small fish there are also good numbers of 40cm plus fish. Impoundment perch are feeding on larger food items such as juvenile redfin and carp and can be more aggressive than river fish.
- In the rivers the perch will often migrate up if there is a moderate rise in river level and slight colouration of the water – at these times Ben starts at the middle reaches and works up. In a low rainfall year he’ll tend to concentrate more on the lower reaches. During floods they go the opposite way and tend to be caught down around the mouth of the system.
- Sometimes estuary perch will become fixated on very tiny bait and will only take very small lures. Other times they’ll take quite large lures.
- In the estuaries Ben likes to fish for perch during the last hour of the run in tide and the entire run out tide. He likes the snags, weed beds and river bends and suggests moving around until you locate the fish (trolling is a good way to locate them). They’re usually around tea tree or gum tree snags.
- In dams Ben finds the perch in shallow, weedy areas during the early mornings and reckons they’ll take surface water lures right through the winter. He hasn’t yet figured out the relationship between water level and perch activity.
Recommended Estuary Perch Fishing Tackle
- Ben likes a moderately tapered 4-8lb spin rod of 6’6” to 7’ with a matching reel, 8lb line and a 10lb leader. The moderate taper rods don’t tend to make perch react angrily.
Ben’s Preferred Estuary Perch Lures
- Atomic Walker 55mm topwater pencil works well first thing in the morning from pre-dawn until around 8-9am. These are cast long and worked with a walk-the-dog retrieve at constant, brisk speed. Sometimes if they’re not playing you’ll need to add some pauses.
- Unweighted slider grub on a Decoy Screw hook can be cast around weedbeds and wound back at medium pace. If you need more depth, add a ⅙ oz TT snakelock jig head to the setup and let the lure sink a little before working it back.
- The smaller size Daiwa Double Clutch is great during the cooler weather as the perch tend to respond when the lure is paused. Once the lure hits the surface, give it a couple of good rips or wind hard for a bit to get it down to depth. Then work the lure with a couple of sharp rips followed by a 3-5 second pause (or more). Fish will usually take the lure while it’s suspending motionless.