6 TIPS FOR FISHING ESTUARY PERCH
Common across Victoria, Estuary Perch (Macquaria colonorum) are a fun fish to catch. They are a quintessential lure-taking species, but just because there are plenty of them, that doesn’t mean they are a breeze to catch. Estuary Perch can be frustrating because of their cagey, temperamental behaviour and elusive nature. These tips for taking Estuary Perch should give you a helping hand to locating them and reeling them in.
CALM, OVERCAST, MUGGY DAYS ARE PERFECT FOR SURFACE LURES
Using surface lures on Estuary Perch is a real thrill. Around structure, you can get some pretty explosive takes, but often they will gracefully suck it into their gaping mouths with this satisfying “bloop” sound. On calm days with smooth water, throw a surface lure around structure to find the action or, once the sun goes down, target the weeds. My favourite surface lures for EP are the ones that resemble yabbies. They can normally tempt them into putting in an explosive strike.
IF THE FISH ARE RELUCTANT TO BITE, TRY SOFT PLASTICS
As I mentioned before, Estuary Perch are temperamental. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard them feeding at the surface, and know they were in the vicinity, but couldn’t get them to take a lure for love nor money. In these cases, switch to soft plastics. If you know they are there, they might be feeding on the bottom, or below the surface. Fishing with a minnow-style soft plastic, giving it plenty of life and an aggressive lift of the bottom should get the interest of an opportunistic Perch.
FISH WITH STEALTH
Given the cagey nature of Estuary Perch, being stealthy is essential. Use a lightweight setup so you can position yourself away from the structure and cast at it. If you are using a brightly coloured main line, get yourself a fluorocarbon leader to keep the bright line at arm’s length and out of the fish’s line of sight.
TRY BLADES IN THE COOLER MONTHS
In the winter, Estuary Perch tend to feed lower in the water column. During these months I will use a fishfinder to seek out a cluster of them, then throw a metal or plastic blade. The only downside is they seem to love these so much they fully engulf them, making it tricky to remove before releasing.
LOOK FOR A RISING BAROMETER
Like most species, Estuary Perch like the dusk and dawn periods but if you can couple this with an incoming storm and a high barometer reading, you have hit the jackpot. In these conditions I have been able to keep going long after the sun goes down, pulling EPs in one after the other.
MIX UP YOUR TECHNIQUE WHEN THE FISH ARE LETHARGIC
Don’t persevere with a retrieve technique that isn’t working. If the fish are lethargic, make your retrieve more erratic, add a longer pause, or make the retrieve more aggressive. These are all ways to tempt lethargic Estuary Perch into striking.
Estuary Perch can be stubborn and most Victorian fishos will tell you that patience is a virtue quickly learnt when chasing EP. But good things come to those who wait, and those who adopt these tips for taking Estuary Perch.
Do you have any tips for taking Estuary Perch? Let us know in the comments section below.