Redfin perch is the common name for European Perch, their name comes from their red lower fins, while the rest of the fish can range from a green to grey upper body with black vertical lines down each side.
In America these red finned varieties of perch are either not present or if they are, they have been introduced. North America does however have their own native version known as the yellow perch, very similar in terms of size and looks, except the sides of this fish are a bright yellow between the vertical lines.
These two species are in the same family “Perca”, making them both a true perch species, and fishing for them is exactly the same in both regions. For those of you who intend to go fishing for perch, you might want to know a little basic information regarding these fish and their behavioural patterns, so you can try to gain an early advantage.
First and foremost it is important to know that the best time to catch redfin is during the day, they almost always sleep at night so it is almost impossible to catch them unless you are out looking for them during the day.
Redfin are highly sensitive to taste and smell and both elements act as trigger factors in the fish to move into feeding mode and go for baits and lures. It is always a good idea to use some burley (known as chumming in America) to get them going in the area you are fishing. A good amount of burley in the water could trigger a feeding frenzy that will dramatically increase your ‘catch rate’, but do bear in mind that the type of burley used is important, and also make sure to check that use of burley / chumming is legal in your local recreational fishing guide.
In Australia, most fishermen swear by a burley mix of water, flour, breadcrumbs and anise or strawberry essence. The objective of the burley is to break up as it hits the water and disperse, as the burley spreads and redfin pick up the scent, they will move to the area the smell is coming from in order to investigate what is there. Keep in mind though that this burley mix can also attract european carp, which if you are fishing for perch is an unwanted side effect.
Redfin fishing using the proper accessories is also important, having the right kind of rod, reel and lures are important. According to most anglers, lures with red colours are said to be more effective in getting good catches, red styled lures have been highly recommended by fishermen for years. The problem is, most people fishing for redfin using these lures will only use this type, so it becomes a bit difficult to tell if it is actually the lure type or the colour that is providing the catches, from personal experience though, colour seems to play very little part in catching redfin.
Fishing for perch is areas which are not often fished can also work well to your advantage, as with most fish, those which have encountered a fishing hook in the past will be extremely cautious of taking a similar bait or lure again. Fishing in rivers or large lakes can provide better catches due to the likelihood these fish have not been caught previously, and the changes they are schooling with other fish who have previously been caught is minimal.
Using soft plastics for redfin lures seems to be the best option when it comes to catching a good sized perch. Casting your line in a good location with accuracy comes with a lot of practice and patience, and with time, loosing lures to snags will become a thing of the past.
So finally, why would you want to target redfin or yellow perch when there is trout to go after? Perch is one of the tastiest freshwater fish there is, and if you enjoy deep fried or grilled fish, the redfin perch is miles ahead in terms of taste compared to salmon / trout.
The fact that it is easy to prepare is also the reason behind this type of fishing being so immensely popular. Once the fish is scaled and the skin removed, a blade can be run down the side of the backbone and along the ribs, providing a bone free fillet of fish which can then be battered and deep fried with some flour, salt and pepper, or grilled with some herbs and lemon.
These simple to catch and simple to cook fish make an ideal first target fish for most new fishermen.