It might not be in high gear yet, but the August/September perch bite on Lake Erie is showing signs of life. Made it out last Friday and Saturday, and although we did not limit out either day, all but three fish were eight inches or bigger. A positive sign that there could be some nice catches ahead!
This nice 9 inch perch came on one of the homemade perch rigs, I call it a hybrid because I combine the traditional perch rig by using one 4 inch hook lear, and a single hook rigged up like the tightline rig about three inches above the arm. To get a third hook on the rig, I attached another snell to the snap used with the weight.
Actually, if you do not have time to play around and experiment, I suggest using a single lear tied on above the snap. 90+% of the fish we catch come on the bottom hook and off that single lear, which puts your bait about two inches off the bottom. In the long run it will save you some minnows, and while fishing the single arm keeps two minnows hooked up near the perch’s strike zone, the lake bottom where they actively feed.
The top arm will catch fish, but not as many as the bottom two. I do like to run that top arm though when I have some really big shiners in the bucket. These bigger baits seem to act as a decoy, or provide a bigger profile to call the perch in from a distance. Sometimes they nail it, sometimes they settle for the smaller minnows on the bottom hooks. They also tend to stay alive longer, and their constant wounded action is another factor to bring in a school.
I find it a good idea to fish two rods at a time. It can be troublesome at times, but there is a method to my madness. Example, the perch are actively feeding, you get a hit and bring your line up. Now those fish are down there with nothing to hold their interest, more often than not, they swim off leaving you behind while they search for food. At least when you have another rig in the water, even in a rod holder, they have a reason to stay in the area.