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SPECIES GUIDES

ARTICLES & INFO

ESTUARY PERCH ON GRUBZ

Luke Smith

Winter and early spring is a great time for anglers in the southwest of Victoria as all of our estuary species school up to spawn. For estuary perch this means that they are a lot easier to find than in the summer months. Fish move towards the mouths of river systems and congregate in deeper holes to do their thing. As a keen fisho, this is an opportunity too good to pass up and I recently hit the water with a few mates to experience these southern estuary sportfish.

EP's are a hard fighting fish that are similar in appearance to an Australian bass. They are known for being dirty fighters as they are usually caught tight to structure... and they know where every snag is! They respond well to a range of techniques from live baits to hard bodies to vibes. But on this occasion I decided to use soft plastics, the ever faithful ZMan GrubZ to be exact.

Perch are an opportunistic feeder and when a lightly rigged grub is slowly wafting past their nose they just cannot resist. When using ZMan 2.5" GrubZ I use a 1/16oz #2 TT jighead and I have found that for most of my estuary applications this combination is best. It is for that reason I have a whole tray of various colours, rigged and ready to go. To work these lures I use a light 1-3kg rod and a 2000 sized spin reel filled with 2-4lb braid. Leader size is a personal choice as perch have an abrasive mouth and many fish are lost due to the leader being worn through. It is for this reason when targeting big EP's many will use up to 10lb leaders, however I choose to run a light 4lb leader to try and achieve more bites from this sometimes elusive fish.

When it comes to finding perch you need to cover a lot of ground as they can be very hard to find at times. In the winter months they can be found stacked on the bottom, which is an exciting sight to see on the sounder and it's about this time that my casting arm starts twitching. The most productive technique I have found is to cast as tight to the bank or snag as possible and let the grub sink on a completely slack line. A keen eye is needed, as when any movement of the slack line is spotted you need to strike and hold on. Perch love taking the lure on the drop and 70% of perch caught on plastics will be hooked before the lure has been worked. If the lure reaches the bottom without being engulfed, take up the slack line and begin a twitching retrieve. I hold my rod tip down and use a double twitch followed by a ten second pause. There is no greater feeling than when the line is slack and you feel that "pluck" in the line.

When it comes to colour choice it is extremely hard to go past Motor Oil. This colour is freakishly good and is my go-to at the start of every fishing session, no matter what the target. Other colours I have had good success on include Gudgeon, Amber, Copper Penny and Greasy Prawn. At the end of the day though, I have caught fish on every colour in the range. My tip is to use what you have the most confidence in and for me that's Motor Oil as when the lure hits the water it lights up with a green tinge and it seems the fish just love it!

I hope this info has helped shed some light on this iconic Aussie species and helps you to get out there and catch a few. Cheers.

Go-To Rig - ZMan 2.5" GrubZ on a TT Lures 1/16oz #2 HeadlockZ Finesse jighead.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017