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18 jylland silkeborg 20220211 1436143720As methods improve and specimen fishermen put more time into locating and understanding the ways of the life of big perch, we have today a more dedicated hunt for these beautiful predators. Before, the big ones were often caught by chance, when fishing for pike or eel, but today the picture is entirely different, when you crave big perch.

Denmark can only be described as a heaven for fishermen. Most waters are open to the public and very few are heavily fished, polluted or otherwise spoiled. The same goes for the perch waters - perch can be found just about anywhere in the lakes, rivers and the coastal areas.

The biggest perch in Denmark seem to have come from either very big lakes such as Esrum Lake, rivers like Tryggevælde River, Køge River and Store Vejle River, the fiords of eastern Jutland, where Nakskov Innerfiord is the most known, the small rivers on the island of Falster, and, probably the hottest but most difficult, the coasts and bays of the Baltic Sea.14 sjalland store vejle a 20220211 1767296651

Even in central Copenhagen many big perch are caught on their spawning run from brackish water to freshwater. These fish have a tremendous potential to grow big, because they feed on the highly nutritive salt/brackish-water fish and crustaceans, just like the rainbow trout, which seems to grow very fast and big in these conditions.

The spawning run lasts a few months, from December to April, so you have plenty of time to get them. During the rest of the year I would suggest fishing the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Germany, where the perch are constantly fat and eager to munch your bait.

Mostly, we use fairly traditional and simple tackle, as the perch are not very wary and seemingly quite hungry even during their spawning. Our preferred rig-setup is a big, loaded antennae float, a size 6 or 8 hook for lobworms or shrimp, and a big lead-shot positioned close to the hook for best bite indication. Usually we fish the bait a couple of centimetres off the bottom, but occasionally the perch can only be caught closer to the surface, which then, of course, dictates a change of approach to fish higher in the water.

Sometimes the bigger the better, when it comes to bait size, but then again sometimes they prefer one small, live shrimp. You just have to try until you find out what turns them on that specific day.

The best baits we know for big perch are:

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1) Live shrimp
2) Live fish
3) Lobworm

Where live shrimp is the best by far. Perch specimen anglers in Denmark are happy to tell you where they fish, but you will NEVER get them to tell where they catch their shrimp.

On longer sessions there is very good sense in fishing a dead-bait with an electronic bite-indicator. Anything goes really, but in order not to make things too complicated, a whole, small roach or a bleak can very well do the trick to lure out the biggest females of the shoal. I think it is fair to say, that everything has been tried as dead bait; ranging from shrimp and lobster meat to live tench of ½ kg, and all have produced good perch.

The only disadvantage with dead and live bait fishing is that you can never really be fully confident that only perch will take the bait, as other predators lurking in the waters are just as happy with  the offered bait. Very often pike and eel make your perch trip seem like a joke, when they are the quickest to snap your delicately concocted perch-bait. Of course, side catches can be a blessing anyhow – for my part, I like the thought of fighting with the battle-happy sea trout on light tackle.10 sjalland sjallandsbroen 20220211 1625054210

A good friend of mine managed to land 4 sea trout to 20 lbs on perch tackle, besides the many nice big perch.

Night-sessions have produced varied results, which I blame on the difficulty of locating the fish, but when you get it right, it is no less than mind-blowing. Besides, there is great fun in fishing light-float and/or lighted swing-tip. Again, the setup is ledger fishing, and it isn’t a big technical endeavour. I tend to use a simple rig with a 1 to 2 oz lead-bomb, and a fairly short trace for instant bite detection so the fish doesn’t get hooked too deeply. The rig is at best fished as a running ledger with a Drennan-stop or a power-gum knot.

Some winters we fortunate enough to be able to do ice fishing in Denmark. The big lakes on the island of Sealand are almost all good winter lakes, with scores of good average perch. For this type of fishing the small ice-pirking rods are used, but any little rod will do. The best bait is usually a small ice-pirk with a couple of maggots on.

The current Danish record is 3.48 kilos, and this fish was caught in the 1960’s from Tange Lake in Jutland. Every year several fish are caught to about 3 kg, and recently (December 2006) we had as many as 200 perch averaging ½-1 kg in 4 hours - on live shrimp, of course.

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