Archive for the ‘Perch Fishing’ Category

When it comes to Perch Fishing, you have to try GLOW BEADS

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Super Glo Beads

Super Glo Beads


“Shhhh…..its a secret”… perhaps the one sure-fire way to spread the word, and when it comes to perch fishing, you have to try glow beads.

Matzuo Sickle Hooks

Matzuo Sickle Hooks

Of all the panfish out there, perch, at least in my experience seem to be most attracted to glow beads.  Whether it be one bead on top of my #6 sized Matzuo  Sickle hook, or a combination of 3 or four beads with a small Indiana blade, it seems that the perch really come to the glow.  For years I have used the plain white glow, this year I wanted to play with colors that glow, so I went to Northland Tackle’s website, and ordered some Super Glo Beads in;  chartreuse, pink and red.  The red doesn’t glow as long as the other two, but if you know perch fishing, you know perch love red bloodworms, so its worth a shot!

Wish Northland still had rattle beads, I can just imagine what a little noise could do rigged with an emerald shiner!  But, we do with what is available, and after an extensive Google search last night, could find nothing smaller than an 8 mm bead.  Which reminds me, I use #5 mm beads for the perch rigs.  So if you are making your own perch rigs, at least you should be making your own snells, you will not be sorry if you go glow with your beads this season.

Copyright, 2014


Perch Fishing Basics, and a Few Tips for 2014

Thursday, July 24th, 2014



The perch fishing on Lake Erie has started, but not into full swing just yet.  If you haven’t organized your gear yet, or even if you are just starting out, here are some basics you will need, and a few tips to get more perch in your cooler.  Maybe an idea or two for improvements too.

First off, get a good quality rod.  I wont tell you which brand to get, but I love my St. Croix rods and they would be a good choice.  That said, I would suggest a 6 foot to 6’6″ rod, you can go 7′ if you feel like you must, but I don’t see the need.  Basically you are looking at a jigging rod, but for perch.  Since we are talking perch, I suggest either an ultra light, or light action rod. Not sure what that means, look at the side of the rod and look for the line rating, and it should say something like 2-6 pound or 4 to 8 lb.  If you go heavier than a Light action, then I think you will be missing some of the nibbles that could be bites.

Reels, any good spinning reel will do the trip, something in the $50 dollar range or higher should do the trick and last you for years and years of perch fishing fun.  After all, we are just talking perch, so unless you hook a sheepshead or monster walleye, you will rarely use any drag at all.

Your choice of line might just be as important as the rod you choose.  Braid or some time of superline is a MUST.  No stretch is the key, you want to feel every bite. With a good braid like those available from Suffix, will even telegraph back to your rod when a fish bumps your line!  If it can do that, imagine what it can do when a perch gobbles up one of your minnows.  I suggest 4 to 8 lb test, but do not be afraid of going to ten or 15 lb test if you want to use that same reel for walleye or bass on another rod.  The poundage is not really the key here, and you aren’t trying to really cut the current because 95% of the time you will be anchored, with  your line already vertical.

Have a selection, or a variety of perch rigs and spreaders on hand.  Perch rigs are my most go to type of approach when it comes to perch fishing.  But, spreaders have their time and place in my bag of techniques,  and are highly effective when drifting, while looking for the perch.  I like to drift in order to find a big school, mark that spot quickly with my handheld gps.  Then fire up the motor and go back along that track and put the anchor down to drift back to that spot.


I already wrote about the new BigMouth CatchCounter a week or so back, but am telling you again. There is no better way to keep track of the amount of perch going into  your cooler than with this device.  You don’t want to go over your limit and pay a fine, and the CatchCounter is a great tool.  It also keeps an bag of ice throughout a long hot day!

I should have mentioned this with the paragraph on the rigs and spreaders, but avoiding getting a ticket seemed more important.  You will need a selection of weights for your spreaders and rigs.  I do not like the spreaders with the weights already attached, they are a “one trick pony” and do not allow you to adjust to different situations. Casting or bell sinkers are the best, those coin shaped ones aren’t bad, but not nearly as good either.  I suggest a variety of 3/4 oz and up to 1.5 ounce, with sizes in between in order to adjust to wave situations.  This is the mold I use from Do-It, it has all the sizes I want:


Copyright, 2014


The New BigMouth CatchCounter: counting perch, bluegills, crappie and more

Monday, July 14th, 2014



Like many walleye anglers around the Great Lakes when late July and August roll around my attention turns towards those tasty yellow bellied treats known as Perch!  Even fisherman who do not put their boats in for chasing walleye come out in droves when it comes to the annual perch season.  Often the bite can be hot and heavy with slinging multiple perch into the cooler, one after another.


With that in mind, while combining either Ohio’s limit of 30 perch or Michigan’s larger amount of 50 per angler, keeping an accurate count can be difficult to say the least.  It is time-consuming to stop fishing and take several minutes to check multiple times to be sure of a precise number in the cooler.  I even thought of using a clicker like the one above, this was even before they started showing up in fishing catalogs and local bait shops for sale.  The problem with the clickers is that before long somebody in the boat will eventually ask, “Did you count that last one?”.  Which will lead you to ask, “Who’s last one?”.  And the vicious cycle of putting the rod down and start counting the individual perch all over again.


Original Catch Counter

Original CatchCounter




Two years ago I found the solution to my perch counting problem, The CatchCounter.  Made locally in Port Clinton, Ohio, the counter kept track of the number of perch going into my cooler, while keeping them on ice as well!  As I wrote in a previous article, I learned of The Catch Counter from a friend of mine who sent a link for a Craigslist posting, I contacted the owner, Tony Sebastiano.  Tony was great, explained everything about the counters to me and went with getting just the counter myself, had an old cooler, cut my hole in the lid and was ready rock n roll on Lake Erie.  The counter was great, never had an issue with it and has performed flawlessly for the last couple of seasons.

BigMouth Catch Counter

BigMouth CatchCounter


I will say this about Tony, you can tell that he has a passion for his product because he works all the time to improve it for the panfishing minded consumer.  Responding to feedback he has introduced the new BigMouth CatchCounter.  Crappie anglers in the South wanted the opening to be bigger for their crappie that grow rapidly in their warm southern climates.  Tony made it bigger, stronger, more durable, with even a more accurate counter.



There are three options when buying the BigMouth CatchCounter, well actually four and will get into that also.  First you can order just the counter itself, and then mount it to any flat surface storage area.  The second option is that you can buy the counter mounted on a 5 gallon Bass Pro Bucket.  I like this option for ice fishing because it is easy to store.  The third option is to have it come mounted on a 48 quart cooler, which is really nice for fishing the big lakes and handles the larger limits with ease.


The fourth option is actually the best deal of all, if you can get five of your friends to order at the same time, you actually can get just the BigMouth CatchCounter heads for  five dollars cheaper per unit.  Don’t have five panfishing friends, that issue can be solved, because I bet two or three of the people you do know, know a few other anglers who would want one also.  Installing the heads are fairly easy to do yourself, and most folks have an old cooler or bucket lying around.

If you ice fish like I do, it is easy to first install the counter on a cooler, and then because it is so easy to take the head off, you can then use it on a bucket for ice fishing.  If your experiences on the ice are anything like mine, once you start throwing bluegill, crappe and perch on the ice, you tend to quickly attract a crowd near  you.  By keeping them in a bucket, it is a little easier to hide the fact that you are on a hot bite.  Instead of laying them on the ice to get a count, which can draw attention, the CatchCounter does it for you.

Once I hang up the walleye gear for the summer, will be posting lots of pics of the BigMouth CatchCounter from the boat, and later on when the ice gets solid, from the hardwater too!

If you want to see one of the units for yourself, you can check them out at these locations:

-Matthew’s Bait&Tackle, Monroe Miahigan

-Fin/Feather/Fur-4 Ohio Locations. Canton,Ashland,Middleburg Heights and Youngstown.

-Ravenna Marine-Ravenna,Ohio
- FISHERMANS WHARF – Port Clinton, Ohio
- A&J BAIT – West Lakeshore Dr., Port Clinton, Ohio
- LAKE SHORE BAIT & TACKLE – Ashtabula, Ohio
- BAD BOY BAIT & TACKLE – Vermilion, Ohio 


Copyright, 2014


It was a Perchy Weekend

Monday, September 16th, 2013


Perch fishing on Saturday was a lesson in bait versus gas money.  Bait won, but not without a little turmoil in the process. I called far and wide in search of emerald shiners before heading out in the afternoon.  From up near to Erie Metro, to down by Turtle Island, and every place in between,  before choosing a place on Jefferson, who guaranteed they had emeralds.  When we got there, the kid working informed us it was a mix of “shiners”.  Think the kid knew we were a bit upset, because the scoops that went in the bucket looked big enough to be four scoops anywhere else I have been in years!


We set up in a pack of boats near Stoney Pointe, and in 30 minutes, maybe had five fish in the Catch Counter cooler.  Ok, this where I do a quick plug for a pretty sweet product, the Catch Counter.  The unit mounts pretty easily to a cooler or even a bucket, and the bucket set-up can be used for all seasons as it will fit nicely in an ice fishing sled or shanty.  They are well worth the cost, I have had (and still do) have the little handcounters that you click for each fish, and the concept is great, if you actually remember to click it for each fish!  Been there and done that, and just got tired of all the second guessing, trying to remember countless times during a trip if that fish or the one before was counted or not. It is even worse when there are multiple people in the boat tossing in perch, while you are trying to fish at the same time.  Throw in the fact that it is not worth the cost of the ticket to have an unreliable count, and you will want to be sure too.  They are made down by Port Clinton, Ohio, and you can find them locally (according to the website) at Trout’s, Rose Marina, and Fisherman’s Cave down on Summit St.  Pretty sure I saw them at Matthews Bait and Tackle, also, but I would call ahead to make sure of that.  Alright, counting rant over, back to the perching.


After that first half hour, we moved to the eastern side of the pack, in 23 foot of water.  The first 20 minutes or so were about as unproductive as the first stop and we started discussing where to go next.  Then my neighbor Cliff popped a couple of nice 9 inch fish, and I picked up a couple of small ones that went back in to grow.  A little times goes by, and its approaching 5:30 pm.  We start talking about moving again, and then they turned on for the last hour and half we were out before it got dark.

It wasn’t exactly what we call a “flurry” of action, but with the time and bait left, it was enough to hold us there.  Except for the occasionally swallowed hook, the large percentage of the fish that went in the cooler were 8 inches or bigger.  We ended up with 32 that night, and decided to call it quits when the sun touched the trees behind the rock wall at Sterling State Park.


Went back out again Sunday morning, and popped another 44 in the same place. Would have stayed in later, but we both had stuff to do.  Besides, the Tigers and Lions were both on television!  All in all, it was a good weekend, and on Saturday I got some pictures of what could be the prettiest sunset on Erie I have ever seen.



Copyright, 2013

Perch Fishing is Picking Up!

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

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.

Copyright, 2013


What Makes a Good Perch Rod

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

One of the recent posts I saw over on one of the forum websites dealt with a question, or the author wanting ideas on what kind of perch rod to buy.  I have done this post before, but it is worth revisiting since there are new people looking each year for a good perch rod.  You should have a “perch” system in mind when purchasing a new rod.  That means you know what reel and line will go with the rod to make it work best for you personally.

Some will want a medium rod, maybe even a medium light action, but we are not talking a walleye rod, nor a pole for bass fishing.  In my opinion, those are just too heavy.  With rods like those, you miss the subtle bite that sometimes finicky perch will approach your bait with.

The best two rods in my estimation when it comes to perch fishing is either a light action one, or an ultra light. Short of hooking into one of the Detroit River or Brest Bay muskies, these two rods will bring anything up to the boat, including walleye with the drag set correctly.  To me I would not suggest going longer than 6 ft. 6 inches (which I have with a light action St. Croix Premier) or a 6 ft. ultra light rod, also a St. Croix Premier.

My reel choices would be something in the 1000 to 2000 size, depending on the rod you choose to fish with.  Daiwa makes some of the best reels in the world, and if you were to choose either a Lexa or an Aird, they will last you a lifetime of perch fishing.  Both are quality that is hard to beat in a mid-priced spinning reel.







Now to cap off the right set up, choose your line wisely.  A good braid like Suffix 832, in the 6 lb. weight, will get the job done nicely. You could choose 10 lb. test if you plan on using the reel for fishing another species, but I would prefer 6 lb.  Once you put on some mono backing, you can fill up the rest of the spool with the braid, and that one package should last you several years of fishing, well worth the extra costs of using a braid.  More importantly, that braid will allow you feel everything going on at the other end of the line.  Draw your rod up tight at the handle, get the rod to bow slightly, and you have a fine tuned set up for perch fishing.


Copyright, 2013


New Twist on an Old Perch Rig: Brand New

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Saturday night I am playing out in the shop, making up some perch rigs, reorganizing my kit. Always trying to build a better mouse trap.  The best thing about fishing sometimes is just basically tinkering with old ideas, and either adopting a concept here and there, or coming up with a new application for an unrelated idea.

You know the standard in perch fishing well enough by now.  You can even add a 3rd hook to the snap used to attach your weight to increase your chances of catching more fish.  It works great, over the last two years most of my perch have come on that bottom hook.



Last year I started playing with the idea that most of the perch do not come on the top lear (wire arm).  The ones that do seem to bite at the top minnow are often the small, young perch. More often than not, they just steal the minnow off the hook.  My observation over the years is that the bigger perch are more of the bottom hugging variety. So I made up a bunch of rigs with just a single lear, and use that snelled hook with the one coming off of the weight snap.  Lost fewer minnows, and it seemed to catch more fish, win, win in my book.

Now we go back to Saturday night and tying up the rigs out in the shop, I look at the bottom of my kit, which is just an old kitty litter tub.


I look at the bottom of the tub and find some of the tightline rigs that I tied up, very similar to this one from Domka Outdoors.


The wheels start turning, coming up with a new way to get three hooks into the area called the strike zone. I ended up combining the semi traditional one arm rig, with the tightline rig.  By doing so, I put three hooks into a thirteen inch area from the bottom of the lake.


Sunday morning I put it to the test, and the results were good, caught two triples while putting a two-man limit in the “Catch Counter”.  LOVE that thing, because I was always messing up my count using the standard clicker.  So worth the investment!



Copyright, 2013

Today is the Last Day, Free Shipping at Jann’s Netcraft

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Today is the last day (July 7, 2013) for free shipping on orders of $50 or more online with Jann’s Netcraft. Enter the code X84776 at the code at the checkout step at the end of the process.

After gearing up with some extras for the perch fishing that is to come, it doesn’t take long to rack up a 50 buck plus bill with all the goodies available at .  I picked up some new colors and reloaded on some faves in 5 mm beads.  These beads get used on the snells above the hook, below the Indiana blade, and they also get used tying up the two arm styled perch rig.  While I was cruising through the beads, I added some new colors to the 6 mm bead collection, $6.99 is a fair price when getting a 1000 count in a particular color.  Throw in the free shipping, and it is a really good price!


In addition I picked up 100 more hook lears.  I really like the 4 inch ones since they get the hook further away from the rigs main vertical line, cuts down on the tangles.  You get 50 for $10.84, and that is 25 rigs when tied up, which is a lot.  Specially when you reuse rigs that get torn up over time, just tear them apart and rebuild them as you need too.  BUT, believe me, once your perch fishing friends find out you know how to make them, they will ask you to put some together for them. Good way to make a little minnow money…wink, wink.  Worst case, you make your parts money back and get to buy some more!

The best part is that you made them yourself, they will catch you just as much perch as any store-bought rig.  They save you money over a couple of seasons, you get to build them to your specs, you can reuse them, and your friends will think  you are brilliant! Well, at least when it comes to catching perch ;)

Copyright, 2013

Perch Rig Options: a comprehensive look at making your own tackle

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Just yesterday I was thinking of making up some perch rigs with spoons and short leaders. Its something I have done before with good results, this morning I went to write about it and I had a comment on an older post, “Please provide the link”.  I found the original post with converting ice fishing spoons to perch rigs and gave the reader the link. Looking back, while locating the original, there have been seven posts that were dedicated to anglers making their own rigs, or gearing up for perch fishing.  This article will have all those links, with a brief description of the content.

Here is the post that was asked about.  Converting ice fishing spoons like Northland Tackle’s Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon, and either rigging them with an ice jig, a leader and a hook and some plastic options.


This article was dedicated to using plastics to catch perch in open water.  Many of the baits are similar to Northland’s and although the links for the article are no longer viable, you can find most of the Little Atom product at Sportsmen’s Direct on their website, or in the store up on Lake St. Clair.  Although live bait is my first choice almost always, these soft plastics have their time and place, and will keep you fishing if you run out of minnows.


This rig is similar to the standard rig, but can be made up quickly on the fly if you need a rig right away.  No lears (metal arms), some line, couple of hooks and some beads.


This is just a quick example of using a single hook rig for putting perch in the cooler.  Its simple, and it works!


This piece is an example of the traditional rig, they are easy to make, and you can get all the parts at Jann’s Netcraft down in Ohio or on their website.


Here is a novel twist on the classic perch/crappie rig, using two sizes of lears to avoid some tangles and give the fish another presentation.


This article brings it altogether, including all components, into one neat way to organize all your gear into a  complete kit.


Copyright, 2013

Getting Ready for 2013 Walleye Season with Molds from Do-It

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Even thought it is the wrong time of the year to be thinking about open water walleye fishing, I find myself planning for next spring already. Good or bad, I actually started looking back in October on the Do-It Mold website and had them mail out a catalog.  One nice thing was that they included a 25% off offer for folks placing a direct order for the first time.  That actually took a little sting out of placing an order so close to Christmas time.

This is going to be my big leap into pouring lead for the first time, so I did a lot of research on melting pot options.  I asked guys I know who have done it before, specifically their likes and dislikes.   I chose Lee Pro 4-20 self pouring, 110 volt model.  It has a 20 pound lead capacity, that is 320, one ounce jigs at a time!


Even though I was not going to out of control in ordering things I might like to have, when it came to the molds, I ordered the ones I knew for a fact that I would get the most use out of right away.


Going left to right, I can use bell sinkers for just about any application.  The lighter ones for drop shotting for bass, and I know, people who know me are screaming….”WHAT???” because I mentioned bass fishing.  Truth be told, the drop shot approach is a lot of fun, it reminds me a little of jigging for walleye a little bit.  Then there is always live bait rigging with a three-way swivel, and that works with panfish and walleye. OK, just got a thought for a new approach for pike and muskie under a float, will have to save that for another day after I toy with the idea a little more.  Mostly I chose this mold for perch fishing and went with the brass eyelet versus the swivel model because it just looked like a better product.  Besides, there is already a swivel at the top of the perch rigs that I make, and usually a snap and swivel on the main line attaching to the rig.


Second from the left is the Walleye Head Jig mold.  Bottom left in this picture. There several types to choose from, but the WHJ-7-AR model has a ring and a barb for better securing plastic like a Wyandotte Worm or a Fin-S Minnow.  It still doesn’t hurt to carry around a tube of crazy glue in your jig box just in case, not only for securing the baits to the jigs, but repairs to the plastics from bites, as well.

The next two choices were simple to make, starting with the Vibrating Lure or what has become simply called blade baits on Lake Erie.  This type of lure works the best it seems when spring rains turn the lake into stained tea or chocolate soup.  The vibrations created on the lift call the fish in, and they seem to thump it when it hits the bottom or right at the beginning of the next lift.

The Ultra Minnow Head Jig mold over on the far right was the one I really wanted the most.


The plan is to work this winter on tying my own hair jigs for the spring bite down on the Maumee Bay.  It looks like last year’s big buy from TJ’s Tackle and all the powder painting equipment and supplies are going to be put through a workout this winter.  In the picture above I already got started with some 5/8ths oz jigs that I had gotten off Ebay earlier in the fall.  You cannot give an angler a new tool and expect it to sit on the shelf until it is time use it!

Will the average angler ever justify getting all the gear to make your own lures and rigs?  Possibly,  maybe not, but do not under-estimate the thrill and feeling of success  whether you catch that one monster for the wall, or simply fish after fish. Knowing you did do that can be a measure of success all on its own.

Copyright, 2012