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  • Thom Prüst

Big elusive perch, and how to catch them anyway (sometimes)

My personal favorite fish since I was a kid is big perch. Not that I was able to catch them back then. We would accidentally get them on our lines fishing for roaches with breaking lines as a consequence.

The past years though, I thought I cracked the code with almost every(!) guiding day one or two big ones in the boat.

But this year all is different..... too warm? too low water levels? no water pressure? I have no idea what the problem is, but one thing is certain: we are catching a lot less perch this year than ever before. Sure, the first three months are always extremely slow, but come April/ May, all hell breaks lose. Not this year. The perch didn't really like our worms in closed season (for artificial lures) and they had virtually no interest in our crankbaits, soft baits, chatterbaits, twitch baits, or whatever you can think of all summer long.

Perches caught on Hollands Diep 2020, 2021 and 2022
What a poor development of the yellow block. (Mind, this is a diagram of only 40+ perch)

And suddenly in September the counter started clicking. 1, 2, 5 sometimes over 10 big ones per day.

First mostly on aggressively fished crankbaits, their appetite changed later on for a slowly fished dead perch on a dropshot.

And now it seems it has to be a shad. And luckily that's how I prefer to fish for them 😁.

This is how we do it: we look for shallows (around 1-2 meters of depth), preferably with a rock hard bottom (mussels) and somewhat of a dropoff nearby. I position the boat over the dropoff and try to drift alongside this dropoff, meanwhile casting our softbaits of around 10 cm on a 15 gram jighead as far as possible on the shallows. Now, with our rods pushed down towards the water, we retrieve our lures, by making some quick turns on our reels to get the lure to come just a few cm's off the bottom before we let it fall down to the ground again.

Fishing like this we can cover a lot of ground quickly and the bites! Oh man, that ferocious pull on your line you get when a big perch gulps in your shad, it's just all you can ever wish for when fishing.

Now we just hope that these big perches keep coming in November. Do you also want to fish for big perch? Book a trip on Hollands Diep with Thom Prüst or discover the Maas and river lakes with Juul Steyn.


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