How To Set Up for Fishing Perch

FishfinderHQ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Perch have a striking tiger-stripe appearance and deliver just as much drama on the end of a line. Though these aren’t anywhere near the biggest freshwater fish you can target, perch are very agile and will give you a good fight, making them a satisfying catch.

An once you have landed one perch, you will go on to catch many. Thats why seasoned anglers return to perch fishing again and again to hone their skills and occasionally learn something new. 

If you’re new to perch fishing, this article will equip you with everything about how to set up for fishing perch. This article covers:

  • Your tackle for perch fishing
  • Rig options for perch 
  • Bait and feeding for perch
  • Tried and trusted angling techniques for landing large perch 

This should be enough for you to have great success with this coarse fish. But beware, because this bad boy is known for putting up a good fight so you need to leave nothing to chance in your prep! 

All about perch

Perch is a carnivorous freshwater gamefish that is a popular catch for anglers of all abilities. Despite being considered a coarse fish, ie one that has poor eating, perch are actually decent eaters, if not a little bit bony. 

Distribution of the perch

Perch have a worldwide distribution, including closely related species native to central Asia and North America and perch species that have been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. 

The European Perch, Perca fluviatilis, is found in rivers and waterways across the UK.

Perca fluviatilis

What do perch look like?

The distinctive features of the perch make it easily identifiable, with its:

  • green-brown coloration  
  • dark ‘tiger stripes’ coming down along its dorsum.
  • large dorsal fin with multiple spines 
  • a second soft dorsal fin
  • orange-red pelvic and anal fins
  • large eyes
  • maximum length: 28 inches
  • maximum weight: 7 pounds (3.17 kilograms)

Where you can find perch

Perch are a common catch in both still and moving freshwater and wetland habitats. You can find these fish in any reasonable depth of water as they are opportunistic predators.

You can fish for perch in:

  • ponds
  • streams
  • reservoirs
  • rivers
  • lakes
  • canals
  • stocked ponds and fisheries

Common hideouts of the perch 

As a predator species, perch will eat just about anything smaller than themselves, including roaches, rudd and even smaller perch.

Fry and small perch will shelter near the banks of bodies of water, while large perch cruise the centre of the channel. After spawning in the spring, the fry and smaller fish will be in locations with plenty of vegetation, branches and weed.

They are abundant in clean water with a bottom that is gravel, much or sand.

Using a GPS fish finder will help you catch these sneaky fish much quicker. Check out our favorite river fishing GPS for your rod here.

Understanding perch behaviour is key to catching them

The bigger bolder hunting perch are very specific in their behaviour and lurking places. You will find them lying in wait for their prey near vegetation like lilies and reeds or tree roots and limbs that have become submerged.

Where baitfish gather, a perch is usually not far behind, and you can use this pattern of behaviour to inform your angling technique. 

Know the right times to set up to catch perch

Perch angling is especially good in lower light, or overcast weather, as these fish feed in early in the mornings and evenings.

For perch, low-light is your friend so aim to begin your sessions early or late in the day. Hanging out all day to fish perch is unlikely to be fruitful and you will probably get your best bites just as you are about to leave. 

Tackle needed to set up for fishing perch

Your selection of perch fishing tackle will depend on the type of fishing you intend to do. The tackle items shared should deliver the decent all-around performance and reliability a beginner angler needs.

The Plusinno rod on Amazon is perfect. See the latest prices here on Amazon

Because perch do not grow exceptionally large, you won’t need to bring out the big guns. One advantage of fishing perch is that you don’t need heavy tackle.

This means you can put your efforts and energies into getting everything just right!

Here is the basic fishing tackle for perch

1. Fishing Rod

An Avon or Quiver tip rod, suited to fast-flowing water is a good match for Perch angling. This rod is strong and able to fight a perch even in strong currents.

The Avon rod ( Link to prices on Amazon ) is very versatile and lends itself to a variety of fishing techniques including the float fishing and ledgering techniques (mentioned below) that are often used with perch.

The test curve of the rod does not need to exceed 1.25lb due to the average size of this fish.

2. A reel

As a beginner, you need a reliable reel that is not too heavy so you can cast confidently all day. Capacity is also important, and if you are keen to fish at depth or land larger perch, you will need a larger reel. 

Piscifun Viper X Spinning Reel - Ultralight 5.2:1 High Speed Spinning Fishing Reel, 10+1BB, Carbon Fiber 33 LB Max Drag,500 Series

A 2500 to 3000 size spinning reel is a suitable pairing for the Avon rod and more than adequate for catching small to medium-sized fish like perch. 

If you are using spinners or jigging for perch, you may get away with a smaller reel of size 1000 to 2000. 

3. Fishing line 

Monofilament line is a great line to learn the ropes of perch fishing with. It has a thick diameter that can increase its visibility underwater and put off the perch, so limit its weight to only 6 to 8 pounds.

Calamus Bastion Braided Fishing Line, Gray, 150 Yds, 10 LB (4 Strands)

Some perch anglers use braided line which is thinner, lighter and stronger, but can be a little more difficult to work with.

If you want to learn more about braided line, why not look at the article “6 Pros and cons of braided fishing lines you should know”.

4. Terminal tackle

The terminal tackle is the gear you will attach to the end of your fishing line to actually catch the perch.

This will vary according to the perch fishing technique you want to use. Consider including these typical perch fishing tackle:

  • A float: a standard waggler float will give you excellent bite detection. This fishing float attaches to your line at its bottom end. You can choose from a weighted or “loaded” version or an unloaded version that you can use with a weight on the line.
  • Weights: choose from a variety of lead fishing weights including split-shot and sliding sinker to perfect your rig for delivering your bait optimally. 
  • Hooks for perch:  A size 4 to 10 wide gape hook will work with most bait for perch. A larger hook is more easily disgorged (have a hook disgorger on hand) and less likely to be swallowed by the perch. :
  • Small spinners: Spinners are a handy type of fishing lure that has a characteristic metal blade that spins when the lure moves, creating flashes of light and vibration that attract perch. You can also bring out the hunting instincts of perch by using a decent spinner lure. Perch near a spinner should respond strongly, especially if you keep them small. Size 1 spinners are a good match for perch. 

A mat and a net will make landing these beauties all the easier

Perch are not afraid to put up a real fight, so landing these plucky fish is not for the fainthearted.

PLUSINNO Fishing Net, Floating Rubber Coated Landing Net - Easy Catch Release, Retractable Foldable Fishing Net for Easy Transport Storage for Bass Trout Catfish Pike Salmon Fly Kayak Fishing

A landing net helps you to land the perch you have reeled in, especially if you are on a steep bank or other inaccessible areas.

A fish cradle or mat provides a safe, supportive surface for handling the fish while they are out of water.

Set up your fishing rig to catch perch!

How you set up your rig for fishing perch will depend on whether or not you are float fishing. If you aren’t going to float fish, your rig needs to be free running to allow the perch to take the bait and run with it.

This type of rig can be simple and effective using the following terminal tackle:

  • A running rig kit
  • 1-2 ounce lead drop shot weight
  • A 4-6 pound fluorocarbon leader
  • A size 4 to 10 hook

Look at some simple running rigs for fishing perch:

Float fishing for perch

As mentioned above, the classic waggler will give you great bite detection when you float your bait for this fish.

Watch seasoned angler Martin Bowler take you through the waggler set up for perch: 

Ledger fishing for perch

But you are after perch that are at the larger end of the scale, abandon the float and opt for ledgering.

Ledgering covers a variety of rigs that delivers your line and bait close to the bottom with a single weight and any bites being indicated at the rod. For this technique, bite detection using alarms or drop-off indicators are useful.

Have a look at the ledger set up here:

Selecting your bait for perch

Because perch is so active and opportunistic, it will fall to all sorts of bait. Everyone has their own recipe for success but bait that does well with perch include:

  • Mealworms
  • Redworms
  • Maggots
  • Lobworms
  • Prawn
  • Livebait like worms, minnow, roach, rudd and even small perch!

Add the loose feed to the water to bring out the perch. Worms and maggots can be distributed over the water as loose feed, then used as hookbait.

You can simply spray the maggots over the water by using a catapult in the area where you will cast your hookbait.

This will bring in bait species followed by the perch. Alternatively scatter a few broken prawns or lobworms. The feeding must be limited though, or you will fill up your perch and they will lose interest in your bait. 

Bigger bait will earn you bigger perch

For targeting larger perch, there is nothing better than a whole raw defrosted prawn, which will easily filter out smaller bites, carp and other fish.

Whole raw prawns are ideal for large perch and will bite down on them whole with their massive mouths. 

Lobworms (essentially giant earthworms) are an alternative large bait. This fresh bait will need an equally large hook.

Get groundbait working for you

Pros often use dark coloured groundbait or even soft soil and combine it with maggots, worms and prawns and lob small balls this concoction into the water.

The cloud of dirt in the water attracts baitfish, while the worm and prawn fragments also entice perch that are in the area.

Rounding up

Perch is an excellent game fish that comes in a manageable package size that even a novice angler can master.

Once you get to grips with the basics of fishing perch, you can experiment with different setups and techniques, adding to your tackle as needed.

With perch, practice makes perfect, so be sure to put in the hours at your favourite lake or riverside spot.