Perch Fishing In The Bay
An angler should tie
his own hooks and make his own leaders. You
should never be at the mercy of others when it comes to your
Quality control is often lacking in pre-tied, mass-produced terminal
I use a standard surf setup with two #4 hooks and a one-ounce ball
unless water movement or weather dictate otherwise. The sinker and
are tied directly to
a leader which is attached to a safety-snap swivel at the end of the
line. (I like to work with 10-pound test main line and light
rod and reel, by the way.) The process is straightforward: I
out with 15-pound test line and tie a 2-inch loop at the top, a 3-inch
loop no more than 10" down, and another 3-inch loop no more than 10"
the first loop. Then I leave another 10" of straight line below
Depending where I'm fishing (deep or shallow water), I'll tie on the
anywhere between 8" to 10" below the last loop. I always use a
Knot to secure the sinker. The best loops seem to be a cross
the Dropper Loop and the Blood Bight Knot. The hooks are tied to
the two side loops by Palomar Knots.
least half a dozen of these terminal riggings tied in advance will
much of the frustration and lost time that naturally occur when you hit
snags or get the line sheared by sharp rocks. To fish for perch
the shore is to lose tackle, and plenty of it--so accept this in
The sooner you get back in the water, the better. You don't want
to lose momentum and opportunity once you've found a school of hungry
(For that reason I often have two extra rigs already baited and nearby.)
Pile worms are my first choice of bait for bay perch fishing.
enough to cover the hooks will do the trick and hopefully last awhile
constant casting and retrieving. I usually cast out about twenty
feet, let the sinker hit the bottom and settle. Then, after a few
minutes or so, I'll reel in with a slow jigging motion, sensitive to
feel of the sinker touching down and any change in the line
Black perch hit hard and fast. So do striped perch. Pile
and rubberlips often nibble lightly. When I do feel any changes,
I stop everything and wait. If nothing happens, I'll reel in
until I think I'm too near the rocks (though of course perch frequently
school right next to those tackle-grabbing rocks). This process
go on and on. The main thing is not to stay in the same place if
you're not getting any action. Life is too short. Move
Explore. Experiment. Be patient but not impractical.
There is a lot of shoreline to cover.
Take more than one bait along just in case. The best perch
I've seen (no, it isn't me!) likes to have mussels with him at all
as well as pile worms and grass shrimp. Mussels are a good
bait and also work pretty well for chumming (though I rarely do this;
attracts other things like junk fish and crabs as well). I think
they stay on the hook better with a little elastic thread--and they
casts better--but many anglers prefer to use the mussel meat as
Grass shrimp work very well in the bay, though they tend to be
and hard to find when the sturgeon season is in full swing. Blood
worms are okay. They stay on the hook and barred perch seem to
them, but I've not had as much luck with them for other perch.
be a better bait in the ocean. Another cheap and effective bait
live shore crabs, those little green and purple guys you see scurrying
away when you lift rocks up at low tide. Sometimes when nothing
is working, large perch will slam into a crab. One per hook seems
right and looks natural. Also, since these creatures are among
who steal your bait from time to time, there is always the revenge
Finally, pay attention to tides. Saltwater species are dependent
on tidal movement and fishermen should be too.
In addition, read fishing reports and talk to anglers on the piers and
along the shore. Find out what the current trend is. For
the best fishing could have been near the bottom of the tide a week ago
but now it's right before the top of the tide. Things change.
is also a huge factor. Don't ignore it. Wild and windy days
make for lousy fishing, especially in the shallow waters of the
Cold slows down the bite. So does a lot of fresh water entering
bay from the river systems carrying mountain snow runoff. Be
of conditions before you set out and you'll be better prepared--and
enough, more "lucky."