I have been ledgering for perch for many years and have always enjoyed this way of fishing immensely. Watching your feeder tip and waiting for that bend is something really special and so is playing a really big perch on a light feeder rod.
Ledgering for perch is pretty simple; all you need is a simple running or paternoster rig with a fluorocarbon or thin wire trace and, depending on the size of the fish, a size 4 to 8 wide gape hook. The best baits for ledgered perch include live bleak, roach and rudd, as well as lobworms, prawns and maggots.
If you want to get plenty of helpful tips and tricks on how to ledger for big perch, all you have to do is keep reading.
How to Ledger for Perch?
Ledgering for perch is a highly effective, yet a very simple and basic way of fishing. You don’t really need a lot of gear or finesse in order to be successful, which is one of the reasons I really like this method. Another one is that it’s a lot of fun!
Basically, all you need is a feeder or ledger rod, a bankstick and a simple ledger rig (more on perch rigs further down in this article). Couple that with some live baits, lobworms or prawns and you are good to go.
Cast out your ledger rod, let the rig sink to the bottom, tighten your mainline so that the rod tip will bend ever so slightly, and then rest your rod on your bankstick. Now, all you have to do is wait and keep your eyes on that rod tip.
No matter if you’re fishing a lake or a river, start by casting toward features that usually hold perch. Those can include:
- Overhanging trees
- Rock piles
- Drop-offs (if you can locate them)
The trick is to actively search for the perch by casting out frequently and targeting different spots and areas in the water. Very often, perch hold up in smaller or larger shoals, which means that, once you start to get a bite or two, chances are good that you’ll get more. In that case, remain where you are and keep casting toward that same spot!
If you do not manage to get any perch bites, try to look for smaller groups of baitfish on the surface that swim and splash hither and thither. Perch will hunt in small packs and usually force their prey upward toward the surface. If you find the baitfish, you’ll find hungry perch.
Pro Tip: If you still don’t manage to get any bites, try reeling in your bottom rig a few feet rather abruptly. This can often trigger the perch into biting.
When to Strike When Ledgering for Perch?
This part is rather crucial, as many anglers tend to either strike too ealry or too late when fishing for perch on the bottom.
Once your rod tip starts to quiver or bend, do not strike right away. Those first movements are usually just caused by the panicking baitfish due to an approaching perch. Strike now, and you’ll miss the bite completely!
On the other hand, once you’re getting a solid and ongoing bend into your tip, it’s time to strike. This is the moment when a perch has picked up your bait and starts to swim off with it. If you wait too long, the fish will either spit out your bait or swallow it whole, which then leads to a deep hooked fish. That is definitely something you’ll want to avoid.
If you strike as soon as your rod tip bends hard, I’d say 9 out of 10 bites will result in a perfect hook set in the fish’s lower or upper lip.
What Gear to Use When Ledgering for Perch?
As I mentioned above, go basic when ledgering for perch! A solid 10-11ft feeder rod coupled with a size 3000 or 4000 spinning or feeder reel is the perfect combo for ledgered perch. Drennan has a superb feeder rod that you can find on Amazon here.
When it comes to reels, I can highly recommend Daiwa’s Ninja series. I use those reels for all of my coarse fishing, as they are of brilliant quality and sell for a really decent price. You can check out the Daiwa Ninja on Amazon here.
I use a mainline of 4-6lb, which is totally enough for even the biggest and angriest of perch. In waters that do not hold pike, I also use a length of my mainline as my hook link. If there is a risk for pike bites, however, you should use a fluorocarbon or thinner wire trace in order to prevent bite-offs. You can read more about the best wire trace for perch fishing in this article.
When it comes to the rest of your end tackle, use a ledger or maggot feeder of about 1oz and a size 4-8 wide gape hook. I use a size 4 for live baits, a size 6 for lobworms and prawns, and a size 8 for maggots.
Best Ledger Rigs for Perch
There are really two types of ledger rigs that you can use for perch; one is the basic paternoster rig and the other one is the simple running rig.
As you can see, the words “basic” and “simple# keep returning when it comes to ledgering for perch, and very often, the simplest of rigs and method produce the most bites and the biggest fish. That’s coarse fishing at its finest!
I thought it best to simply take pictures of my rigs, as it’s the best way to show an actual setup. As you can see, the ledger link (which is really just the mainline all the way down to the lead) is much longer than the actual hook link. This will ensure that the baitfish can be presented just off the bottom, which I prefer for more active perch in slightly warmer water conditions.
Simply tie your mono or fluorocarbon hook link to your mainline with a blood or Albright knot, or use a 3-way swivel if you are using a thin, knottable wire trace. In that case, you’d of course have to make a separate ledger link as well.
The running rig is perfect for days on which the fishing is slower and the perch are picky. Sometimes, they can be really sensitive toward the resistance of your ledger, which is when you should use a running rig instead.
For this rig, your ledger link should be rather short, and your hook link rather long, so that tangles can be reduced to an absolute minimum when casting out.
And this is how the running rig works; your hook link and mainline are connected via a small swivel, while the ledger link can run freely up and down your mainline via a second swivel that it is connected to. This reduces the resistance for a taking fish very effectively.
I also like to use a small buffer bead between the two swivels, for a better knot protection.
Maggot Feeder Rig (Bonus)
When ledgering for perch with maggots, I often use a maggot feeder, instead of a lead, which allows me to get some loosefeed into my swim.
You can use a maggot feeder on both the paternoster and the running rig. You can find a set of maggot feeders that are perfect for perch fishing on Amazon here.
Best Baits for Perch on the Ledger Rig
The following 4 baits are my absolute favorites ones for perch. Live baits especially can lure the bigger specimens on the hook, which are the ones that I usually target.
All smaller silver fish will make for brilliant live baits for perch. Those can include the following:
I usually use baitfish up to 3-4 inches for perch, as those have the perfect size for this predator’s mouth. I much prefer rudd over roach and bleak, as they are more durable and will hence last longer on the hook.
For live baitfish, I usually use a size 4 or size 6 wide gape hook that I put through the fish’s lower and upper lip. I have found that this are of area gives me the very best hook set.
Pro Tip: Please inform yourself prior to your fishing trip if you are in fact allowed to use live baits in your venue!
This is a classic bait for perch of all sizes, they simply love the smell and taste of prawns. You can use smaller, peeled prawns, or pieces of them, for smaller perch and unpeeled, whole prawns for the bigger ones.
For smaller prawn pieces, you can use a size 8 hook, while you should use a size 6 for whole prawns (with or without the head).
Pro Tip: Dye your prawns red using food colouring, this will boost their attraction and lure even the pickiest of perch onto your hook!
Lobworms are another outstanding perch bait. Put a couple of juicy worms on a size 6 hook and you’re practically guaranteed to catch perch during your session.
And finally; maggots. Those are my go-to baits when the fishing is really tough or when targeting perch in cold water. I think its simply their size and their protein that makes them so effective during the cold season.
Put a whole bunch of maggots on a size 8 hook and mix it up a little with both white and red maggots for more contrast underwater.
Can You Ledger for Perch at Night?
Ledgering for perch in the dark is a much underrated and highly effective way of catching them.
Especially the bigger specimens tend to hunt in the dark, which is why you should definitely try to fish for perch in the evening or at night. You can get all my best tips and tricks for nighttime perch fishing in this article.