The best perch rods are the ones you have the most confidence in, basically meaning what works best for you, is the best perch rod. For me, I have a couple of St. Croix rods that work the best for me, and have confidence in both of them. My first rod was a six-foot ultra light Premier, loved that rod. My second rod was a bit of a step-up, a 6’6″ Avid, light action spinning rod.
In my opinion, the longer the rod is serves two things, one you get some additional backbone and the 2nd being that you keep the ultra light sensitivity at the tip of the rod. I haven’t quite talked myself into a seven-foot, Legend Elite rod yet, but am really close to doing it, maybe next year!
Next in order to get the most out of your new perch rod, you need three things to complete the deal. First off, you need a good quality spinning reel. You don’t need to break the bank on this choice, depending on the brand, something in the $50 to 90 dollar range will do nicely. My thought on this is to buy the rod first, then take it in to your local fishing hole and get a reel that gives you the most balance, and comfort with the rod. A Daiwa Exceler would be a great choice in the 1500 or 2000 size. Good quality reel, that has a good drag in case you hook something bigger than a perch.
Secondly, you have the rod, and now the reel, time to spool the reel up. In order to get the most of this rig, you must use a braid! Mono, in this case, just will not get the job done. In order to get the most out of your perch rod, the use of braid will enable everything happening below to be telegraphed up the non-stretch line back to the rod, and ultimately your hand. The stretchy mono, just doesn’t do it as well. For this application, what you will want to use is a line with a rating between 6 and 10 lbs. test.
Last of all, is the weight you will be using. You might have thought I would say the perch rig itself, but honestly those are pretty generic. I enjoy making my own rigs, but you can get some pretty good ones at the bait shop. Why then is the weight the key for this last installment of information. Think of your whole set-up as an archery bow. Your rod is the bow, the line is your string, and you drawing back is your weight at the end of the line. In order to get that “twang”, the weight must be heavy enough to draw your braided line tight when you lift up on your rod. It is crucial to keep contact with the bottom to get the most sensitivity out of the gear, without over doing it. Too heavy of a weight, and then your start to counter all the good things you have purchased to make the best perch set-up you can.
Due to the changing conditions on Lake Erie, I have a selection of weights that keep on the lake floor. Three quarters of an ounce, 1 oz, and 1.5 ounce weights will do the job nicely. If it’s a calm flat day, use your 3/4 oz weights, if you have some two foot waves, then I use the 1 oz weights, anything more than 2 ft. then the conditions will call for the 1.5’s at the bottom of your rig.
Through all of this info, it starts with the right rod. You won’t go wrong with a St. Croix, after all, as the motto says, they are, “The Best Rods on Earth”!