White perch have become a nuisance on many of the lakes across both Carolinas, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to catch. They’re also tasty table fare, and they make great catfish bait, whether used live or cut up.
And with the right rig and the right technique, anglers can catch multiple perch on a single cast. It just takes a little patience and a good hook-setting technique.
Terry Madewell lives on Lake Wateree, which is one of the lakes that has seen a big growth in the white perch population over the past decade or so. Madewell said while this fish does seem to have a negative impact on more desirable species, he takes advantage of the fishery rather than idly complaining about it.
“These fish are great to eat, and there is no limit on them. It’s a great way to get kids interested in fishing, but they are just as much fun for adults to catch,” he said.
Madewell uses a 5-hook Sabiki rig, and he tips some of the hooks with small minnows. He adds a weight that’s just heavy enough to keep the rig stable in the water, then he lowers the rig down until he feels the bottom. Next, he reels up just enough to put the rig in the strike zone, which he determines by locating the schools of perch on his electronics.
“Now, when you feel a bite, just set the hook, then lower the rig back down. You’ll feel another bite, so set the hook again, then lower the rig again. If you do it right, you can catch a fish on each hook of the Sabiki rig. It doesn’t take long to fill a cooler up doing this, especially if you have two or three anglers on the boat,” he said.
On a recent trip, Madewell and some guests caught well over 100 white perch during a morning fishing trip, then turned around and did it again the next day. Madewell makes sure no fish is wasted. Aside from cooking every filet he gets off these fish, he uses the inedible parts for catfish bait.
Speaking of catfish, Madewell suggests that when anglers are white perch fishing, they toss out a catfish bait or two. It’s not at all uncommon to hook into a cat that ranges anywhere from 3 pounds to 35 pounds.
For more information on catching white perch with Sabiki rigs, click here.