Matt Carpenter Fishing

Matt Carpenter

Wet Tropics Jungle Perch And Freshwater Specialist

Matt is a Wet Tropics resident angler who specialises in targeting jungle perch and sooty grunter in the clear water tropical rainforest streams, especially tributaries of the Herbert River, Hinchinbrook area.

Matt’s Top Tips For Herbert River Jungle Perch

  • Jungle perch fishing is about walking some distances, even swimming across creeks (croc alert) to get to beautiful, remote locations. The recent popularity of JP fishing has made the easy to access populations of JP’s more wary and harder to tempt. Walking a distance upstream to find fresh populations is a good idea.
  • This is quite an aggressive species, so if jungle perch are present they’ll usually smash a lure in the first one or two casts. If not, move to the next spot.
  • Due to the shallow, clear water JP’s can be easily spooked, so wear inconspicuous clothing, move quietly and make long casts. Matt usually fires a casts the full length of the pool and works the lures back straight through the middle.
  • Within the stream the JP’s can be in the open, hiding among boulders, under overhanging vegetation, depending on their mood. Rivers that have connectivity to estuaries fish best as JP’s need to access brackish water for spawning.

Matt’s Tackle Recommendations For Jungle Perch

  • Matts preferred tackle depends on the weight of lure he’s casting and the density of the vegetation. A 13 kg line class rod is his preference, with a 6 ft version for streams with heavier vegetation cover. A 7ft rod is better in more open streams and allows for longer casting. Matt couples these with a 1000 size reel (but 2500 is good too) and 8lb power pro braid. A rod length or so of 12 lb fluorocarbon leader completes the outfit by being sufficient to handle a sooty grunter bycatch but not being so thick it will spook jungle perch.

Matt’s Jungle Perch Lure Selection

  • Matt likes 3-5″ paddle tail soft plastic and reckons the brand and colour aren’t that important, Jungle Perch will hit most of them. Zman MinnowZ, Zman Grass MinnowZ, Berkley Hollow Bellies and Sure Catch Sure Bite Hollow Fish all work well. He fishes these in faster flowing water with lots of small pools with Bassman beetle spin medium sized jig spin attachments. These are cast well up the middle of a pool and are worked back a little faster than the current on a steady retrieve, enough so the blade can be felt to be working. Use a 1/4 oz jig head with a solid hook to protect against damage by sooties.
  • The Lively Lures Ziggy SD walk the dog style stickbaits are great because they cast a very long way and can be used to target easily spooked fish. These are cast the full length of the larger pools with fairly still and worked back “walk the dog” style.
  • Zman Finesse Frogs get smashed off the surface by JP’s. Matt rigs these on a 2/0 hook with a small belly weight to keep the lure upright and simply burns them across the top. Casting distance isn’t great, but these lures are dynamite on the smaller creeks and tributaries.

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