20 Aug Catch Silver Perch, hard fighting little bulldogs
Silver perch fight hard, hook themselves and don’t need specialist gear….how good is that?
I must admit that up until a few years ago I never really fished for silver perch. I’d catch them when I was fishing for redfin, or cod….or just about anything that swam….but “silvers” weren’t my focus. I guess this was because I never caught many so I didn’t think there were many about….so why try?
Now that stocking programs have increased numbers of silver perch and I’m catching more….and having a heap of fun doing it – they are a target!
Silvers, are a great sport fish. They fight out of all proportion to their size. Hook one of these “bad boys (or girls)” in a river where they can use the current to swim away… and you know you’ve got a fight on your hands.
I’ve read they can grow up to 8 kg and reach over 60cm long but the biggest I’ve caught was 39cm long and weighed about 2 kg…Having said this, anything over about 30cm I consider a good fish.
One thing I really like about silvers is they aint’ too choosy aboutwhat they put in their mouths….they eat just about anything. This suits my kind of fishing, and when conditions are right you’ll get a few good ones in a session. The only restriction on bait is size. Silver perch have small mouths so keep bait and hook small.
I usually fish hook sizes between size 10 and size 6. These cover all the baits they like…and as far as baits are concerned, the list can be big. On the best days you can catch with compost worms, bread, grasshoppers, crickets….even corn! But the baits that seem to catch most consistently are scrub worms, shrimp and small live yabbies’….
….and there is one more bait that has produced me some good results…prawn tail!
… I used a prawn tail, left over from a fishing session at the beach…and caught 2 good silvers on it! I just peeled the tail, cut it in sections and put a small piece on a size 8 hook – bingo…2 nice fish.
Berley works on silver perch real well. Not many anglers use it but I don’t leave home without it! A good berley mix, with a bit of chopped up bait added, can bring in fish from far and wide. I always carry a few different baits and add bits of all these to my berley mix. I also use a berley cage as my sinker. This gets the berley right next to my hook….and tells all the fish around that “dinner’s on”!
The most active time for Silver Perch is in spring and summer. As the water warms they feed harder, spawn and move about…and I mean, really move about. According to studies they can migrate a long way in rivers, especially as they get bigger.
They feed actively all the way through the hot weather and start slowing down in Autumn, almost closing down when things get cold.
If you really want to hook a few -then fish early and late in the day. Overcast, light breezy conditions work well and if the barometer has been consistent for a few days in a row you could be into a good session…having said this, an approaching low pressure system will bring them on the bite like never before….but only for a very short time!
Silvers lay a lot of eggs – up to 300,000 by a mature female. Unfortunately, introduced species like carp and mosquito fish as well as other Australian natives, yabbies, Murray crays and just about anything else in the water love silver perch eggs. So, not many eggs end up as mature silvers!
Silver perch are classified as endangered in Victoria. I always catch and release and I recon this is the best way to deal with these silver beauties so they are around for the future.
You don’t need special gear for these fish. I have caught them on ultra light spin gear and heavy bait gear…so they don’t mind what you are using. A light to medium, 2 to 2.1m rod with a reel to suit 2 – 4 kg line will do the job. I prefer graphite spin rods because they let you pick up line quickly and strike directly into the fish…but a fiberglass rod also works ‘cos they mainly hook themselves!
I don’t lure fish for silver perch much but when a low pressure system is approaching I will tie on a small hard bodied or soft plastic lure from 5cm -10cm in length and cast to logs, branches, rocks and deep holes in the water…these have also landed me the odd golden perch and small cod!
Silvers like structure …just like all cod and golden perch. Look for deeper holes, shaded areas, logs, branches as a target area. They seem to like spending time exploring reeds growing in the water so it’s worth putting a bait or lure near these areas. It’s amazing how you can put a decent fish out of shallow water near reeds or a big log.
Silver perch are a great little sport fish. They eat what you throw them, aren’t picky about your tackle and fight like pocket sized bulldogs!
You gotta love fish like that!!