Anthony’s Top Tips For Shoalhaven Estuary Perch Fishing
- Anthony uses colour coding on his chart plotter to help figure out seasonal patterns.
- Scents can make a difference when lure fishing for estuary perch. S-Factor and Sax scents are his choice.
- Estuary perch in the Shoalhaven system tend to associate snaggy structure such as rock boulders and laydowns. There are also brassy flats in the brackish and freshwater reaches that hold plenty of perch attracting food items.
- Estuary perch respond well to a pause in the retrieve and using adhesive weight such as suspendots to create a suspending lure from a floating hard body.
- Perch move throughout the system and will move down to the mouth of the river during the cooler months to spawn. When the open season comes they tend to have moved back up the system to varying degrees, but usually still in the tidal reaches.
- When the water is warmer, estuary perch usually move closer to the surface. Usually through winter when the air temps are below 20 degrees they’ll be deeper in the water column. Surface fishing for perch tends to be in the brackish water not too far upstream of the Nowra Bridge during the warmer months.
- Most perch fishing during the spring and summer happens upstream from the Nowra Bridge, with perch, bass and bream possible in the same session.
- Anthony likes the run out tide, especially if it coincides with the low light period around dawn. The week leading into the new moon and a rising barometer also fish pretty well.
- If the fishing is tough, try dropping the leader size, slowing the retrieve and moving around until you find an active school.
Anthony’s Tackle Recommendations For Estuary Perch
- Standard bream gear is fine for catching estuary perch. A 7 ft, 1-3kg or 2-4kg rod with a 2500 size reel with PE 0.6-0.8 braid will do the job perfectly.
- Leader size is important. You’ll get away with a 4lb fluorocarbon bream leader at times, but when there are bigger fish about Anthony usually goes for one and a half to two rod lengths of 6-8lb leader for estuary perch fishing.
Anthony’s Estuary Perch Lure Selection
- The Pro Lure D36 deep diving crankbait in “Flash Green” colour is one of Anthony’s favourite lures for estuary perch fishing. Anthony suggests removing the size 14 Decoy trebles that come standard on this lure and switching to size 12 for perch. Put the size 14 hooks back on for bream fishing. Anthony likes to weight this carefully using suspendots to make the lure suspend, He casts tight to structure, winds down and then pauses and lets the lure sit for a second or two. Experiment with the retrieve speeds, don’t worry too much about twitching the lure, just focus on retrieve speeds and pause times.
- Any cicada style lure is a good option when fishing for estuary perch on the surface, but Anthony prefers walk the dog style pencil lure. He uses the Pro Lure SF62 in mangrove shrimp or pearl shrimp colours. This style of fishing for estuary perch is best during the low light periods in shallow areas around structure. Cast lures tight to structure and walk them back – especially good around the areas where there are reeds if you cast in and then walk them out. Again, adding a pause into the retrieve now and then will get a few extra strikes. Have one of these lures tied to a rod at all times and if you see a prawn skip pick it up and fire out a quick cast!
- Curl tail grubs such as the Pro Lure Grub Tail work well, but Anthony particularly likes the Pro Lure Live Yabby. He’ll start with a 1/16 to 1/12 oz jig head, or even up to 1/8 or more if the current is flowing. Use plenty of scent and work the lure with the current in little hops along the bottom. Be vigilant for the little “tick” as the lure is sinking back down, as almost all bite happen on the drop
Anthony has been on the Pro Lure Australia team for 5 years and finds their lures perfec for the style of fishing he talks about in this episode. He also has input into the design of some of their lures.
Gosen fishing lines produce high quality braided lines an fluorocarbon leaders that give Anthony his edge.