Spring’s here and that means it’s surf perch time all up and down the West Coast. From Baja to Washington State, these little bad boys will congregate along sandy beaches and you can have a ball catching them on light gear.
Here’s how to do it…
Where to Look
Your primary targets will be redtail, barred and rubberlip perch. Steeply-sloping beaches, particularly ones near stream or river mouths are best. The best perch fishing takes place on days when the surf is small and you should concentrate on the slots that run perpendicular to the beach and troughs and holes that are parallel to the beach. Look for rips and cast inside the first line of breakers — a lot of people make the mistake of casting too far You may also find them in bays around docks, pilings and warm water outflows.
For light tackle perching, I like a 7- to 9-foot rod rated up to 8-pound test and a spinning reel with a long-stroke spool loaded with 10-pound braid. Run a 3/8- to 2-ounce tungsten worm weight up the line add a plastic bumper bead and then tie off to a crane swivel.
Add a 3-foot section of 8-pound leader and No. 6 baitholder hook.
You can use a wide variety of baits like fresh mussels, squid or pile worms, though live sand crabs are number one. I prefer, however, to go with artificial. Three-inch curly-tailed grubs with the tails cut off (to make them look like sand crabs) work great as do Berkley GULP! sand worms in the new penny and cammo patterns. Simply cut the worm in half or thirds and thread it up your hook and onto the line.
Keep ‘er Steady
With the Gulp worms or grubs, cast out and let your rig hit bottom. Then, just retrieve it with a slow, steady grind. The bites are the solid tap-tap-tap variety. If you’re using bait, just let it soak until the fish find it.
Light Tackle Surf Perch