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Posted 03th November 2023

How to Catch Estuary Perch on Lures

How to Catch Estuary Perch on Lures
How to Catch Estuary Perch on Lures

By Mark Gercovich 

I'm old enough to remember a time when estuary perch, or EP as they are often referred to, were regarded as quite elusive and mysterious beasts. Sure, we would get a few if we fished live crickets on the surface in the darkness, and occasionally one would grab our trout lure. But to think that fisheries netting surveys at the time were telling us they were as common in many systems as the bream everyone was catching on bait, well that was hard to believe.

Modern Times

Fast forward a few years to the advent of the beginnings of all the modern lure-casting tools and lures we have at our disposal now, and suddenly catching EP was a more frequent occurrence. Add to that the reduction of illegal netting, the catch and release ethos, and now here in Victoria particular, restocking programs; EP are a fish that seem to be bucking the downward trend some species are affected by.

As we head into late spring/early summer the fishing for estuary perch starts to ramp up. However, they are a fish that can be targeted all year, with a wide range of lure techniques and Daiwa has plenty of models that suit many of these scenarios. Let's have a look at what Daiwa lures you can select for your EP luring session and what works well when and where.

Spike It

The first places people think of when lure fishing for EP is targeting them deep in twisted trees and snags. A lure like the Infeet Spike 53SP is perfect for this as it gets down quickly with just a couple of turns of the reel. With the Spike 44EXDR and 53SP also now coming into the Daiwa stable, it gives the angler even deeper options to really allow the angler to punch that lure down into a snag and really hang it in the fish's face. I also love the Spike range of lures for bouncing over some of the rock bars we have in the local rivers. You feel the lure crash dive into the rocks. Pause it, do the same again, then again, until the tap from the lure hitting the rock changes to a crunch from the fish sitting next to it.

It's amazing how tight and shallow the EP get to the bank at times when feeding, even in dirty water. The shallow diving Infeet Sazanami is perfect for these situations. Cast tight to weed beds or just muddy banks, these lures imitate the small local bait fish perfectly. They can be twitched, ripped, and paused with the adel realistic holographic flash belly, created to mimic the reflective underside of baitfish, attracting any feeding perch in the vicinity. The Double Clutch 75SP is another great local minnow population mimic that works well when fished in ultra-shallow water. The good thing about EPs in shallow water is that the only reason they are there is to feed, so if they are there you should be able to get them to eat.

For slightly deeper and more structure-oriented spots, lures like the Infeet Kodachi and the Double Clutch 48SP are the go-to lures. Cast along a bank with scattered structure they can be bounced and twitched through any likely EP holding places. The new SilverCreek DR Minnow Jointed 50SP also works well in shallow structured areas and can be worked very methodically with the jointed action still working even at this slow speed, allowing you to really keep it in the strike zone. 

Hitting the Surface

Surface fishing for EP is one of the most exciting lure techniques you can use on the species. The Infeet Slippery Dog 65F TG is the go-to Daiwa surface lure for them. Even though the slippery dog has been designed as a prawn mimic and our local estuaries in the Southwest coast of Victoria don’t contain prawns, they are dynamite on EP. A very slow side to side retrieve with plenty of pauses works well near structure, whilst on flats areas a bit of a faster burn then pause seems to draw the fish in.

Perhaps not as exciting as surface fishing, but still very effective, is trolling for EP. Cooler months in particular as you are searching for schooled up fish on the sounder, having a spread of deep diving lures like the aforementioned Infeet Spike range or the ever-popular Double Clutch 75SP can produce plenty of action.

Going Soft

Back in the very early days of targeting EP on hardbody lures there were days when they just wouldn't bite, despite the fact you knew they were there because you had been catching them even just the day previously. On these occasions a switch to the fly rod would often produce the goods as they were after something softer and more subtle. Then along came soft plastics and boy did the EP love them. There is plenty in the Daiwa Bait Junkie soft plastics range that can be matched perfectly to whichever of the new Daiwa Bait Junkie Jigheads that suit the situation you are fishing.

Heavier heads like 1/8th oz can be perfect for deep schooled up fish in winter whilst lighter heads like 1/12 to 1/16 are better for casting to weedy edges or bouncing down rock walls. All the varieties work well in every situation, but if I had to make one call for each it would be the 2.5” Grub for fishing deeply schooled fish the, the 2.5” Minnow for casting to shallow mud banks and bouncing down walls and the Risky Critter for tight structure fishing. If I'm fishing the freshwater, where the EP run a little larger in average size and I could also come across a brown trout, I'll go up a size to the 3.2” Minnow. If that's not enough variety for you there are new Bait Junkie models for 2023 including the 2.95” Flick, 3” Wave Minnow and the 3” Prawn

Yes, it truly is a great time to be a person who loves luring for estuary perch, get out on your local and give it a try with some of these lures.






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