Perch is one of the most common ice fishing targets. “Striped” lives in almost any body of water, and its capture is a foregone conclusion, regardless of whether you are aiming with your tackle at pike, bream, roach or other fish.
The perch bite on everything: on the girder, and on the spoon, and on the jig, but many anglers prefer more interesting fishing objects. However, in my opinion, perch requires a special, well thought out approach. For a dozen years of fishing practice, I fished in various reservoirs, at very different times, and, probably, in eight cases out of ten, it was perch that became my target.
There are two main ways of ice fishing for perch: with a spoon and a jig. It is impossible to say with certainty which one is better. Every situation, every body of water requires careful analysis. Perch preferences vary depending on the type of reservoir, the size of the fish itself, the main food supply and other factors. I will dwell on the seasonality factor in perch fishing.
Dependence of bite on the weather
The first ice on the reservoir is a real celebration. Even the vastness of the water area does not bother, because it is not difficult to make holes in thin ice. Where does the perch stay on the first ice? In the same place where the tulka is.
It would seem that since the perch is hunting for tulka (this can be judged by the contents of the predator’s stomach), then it should be caught with a spoon or a balancer. The jig is too invisible for the perch, which is looking for fry, and does not give the required rate of fishing, when in a minimum of time it is necessary to catch the maximum fish.
By mid-January – February, when the schools of tulka are thoroughly scattered, perches are also scattered. It is more and more difficult to meet large concentrations of striped raiders, and catches are decreasing. At this time, it is already difficult to say which will work better – a spoon or a jig.
Perch are becoming somewhat more passive, as the oxygen regime is deteriorating, now they are less mobile than at the very beginning of winter, and they try not to move long distances after the same tulka. But nevertheless, by inertia, they should continue to be trolled, since the sex products do not compress the insides very much and the stomach remains free. Fish feed quite actively during this period – you cannot starve, you need to gain fat reserves, preparing for spawning.
By the end of the winter season (this is the time of the thickest ice), when the perch’s abdomen acquires a rounded shape, it would seem that the spoon and balancer should not be taken out of the bait box at all. It is now difficult for a predator to chase after a tulka; nothing larger than a mormysh crustacean will enter the stomach.
Perch during this period, most likely, should stand in shallow waters, near steep shores, under islands where oxygen-enriched water flows, and move little, since it is necessary to save strength and energy. They eat food, obviously, in small portions (the stomach is completely compressed by this moment), but all day long.
Ate – digested, ate – digested. And then there is probably nothing better than a jig, which imitates a small food object, and the spoon and balancer should stay at home.
This is how you can theoretically plot a predator’s predilection without even going out to the pond. On the first ice, the spinner is unconditionally in the lead, in the wilderness (mid-winter) – the ratio of the spinner and the jig is 50:50 or with a slight roll towards the jig, on the last ice – only the jig. But what about in practice?
From theory to practice
Fishing winter in central Russia usually begins in November, when the first ice that can withstand a person is installed on small bodies of water. In large reservoirs, ice sets much later than on ponds, rivers and lakes.
But fishing is always more interesting on large bodies of water. Large water area – large schools of fish. There is almost always competition in the perch flock. It is thanks to her that she manages to catch more fish. But it happens that schooling perch does not want to take. The reason for this is difficult to explain, but it is still possible to catch a predator, although fishing becomes more difficult.
In large reservoirs, the main prey for perch is small fish. On the Volga reservoirs, this is almost always tulka, less often – high melting. To hunt for them, he strays into large flocks.
On the first ice, the spoon has a number of advantages over the jig. First of all, a larger range. If a jig on the first ice has a radius of about 1–1.5 m, then a spoon in the same conditions – three to four times more.
It is possible to increase the radius of influence of the bait (both spoons and jigs) by raising it above the bottom. The higher the bait, the more noticeable it is for fish. But the spoon is noticeable from longer distances.
Secondly, the lure works much more mobile – it sinks faster to the bottom. There is no need to clean the hole: I worked for three minutes and if the fish did not find itself, you can move on. Perch on the first ice is active. Both small and large predators are confidently caught on the spoon.
The main thing is to find it, and for this you need to drill a lot of holes. I can remember quite a bit of fishing on the first ice, when I only fished with a jig. In most cases, it was possible to catch pond micro-oceans. Practice confirms that it makes no sense to fish with a jig on the first ice.
But in the period of deafness, theory and my practice diverge. I have been keeping records in a fishing diary for many years. I write down the date, time of day, weather, the number of fish caught and, most importantly, what it was caught for. After carefully analyzing all the records for the last seven years, I made a table in which there were two columns: one for trolling, and the other for a jig.
The following figures were obtained: in the period from the third decade of December to the beginning – mid-March (this is the time frame for the wilderness in the middle lane), 93% of caught perches fell on the spoon; the remaining 7% – for the jig.
Probably, my personal attitude towards spinners had a certain influence on the result. To be honest, fishing with a spoon is much more interesting to me than with a jig. But if it were inappropriate to fish with spoons, I would not catch them. The only thing I noticed in my statistics is a decrease in the average number of fish in the catch.
Sometimes in the wilderness, perch was well caught with a jig. It happened that I did not go fishing alone, and many of my fellow fishermen believe that fishing with a jig in the wilderness is no worse than with a trolley, and sometimes even better. And yet my catches for trolling in the wilderness were almost always more than the catches of jiggers by at least a third.
The most striking episode took place in February last year. My friend and I were fishing the coastal part of a small island in the middle of the Volga. They caught in the same places and even changed the holes for the purity of the experiment. I was fishing with a spoon, comrade – with a jig. My crate at the end of the fishing trip had eight times as many perches as my friend.
On the last ice, I go fishing much more often than in the wilderness, and almost always for perch. Most often I fish from under the coast, under the islands, on the steep shores – it is in such places at this time that all fish gathers, including perch. Even if the spoon was not in the lead, the perches continued to peck at it! This is completely contrary to theory.
The perch should now prefer small food like a mormysh, but in fact he willingly grabbed spoons of a very solid size. Of course, not as zealously as in the wilderness or on the first ice, but still he took it. The most interesting fishing took place at the end of the last season.
I was looking for perch at its usual first-ice sites – in the area of the islands, in the lower reaches of the Cheboksary reservoir. I decided to first fish with a jig, as I was sure that the bite would be far from mad. A couple of days ago a friend called me and warned me that I needed to stock up on bloodworms, since the perch did not want to take on the spoon.
On my reach, I made fifteen holes, of which I managed to catch only three perches with a jig, though very good ones. The result was not impressive. I didn’t want to drill holes near the island and catch small things there. For the sake of experiment, I launched a spoon into one of the holes.
And it went well: by three o’clock I managed to pull out a lot of selected perches from the drilled holes. True, my spoon is not easy – it was an experimental sample, made by hand. She had an unusual bend and extravagant play that aroused the interest of a predator. Probably, it is because of this that so many perches fell on the hook of the miracle baubles.
On the last ice, the jig was still in the lead, which accounted for almost 63% of perch bites. But I do not think that at this time the spoon must necessarily lose. Indeed, many of my friends switch to fishing with a jig during the last ice period. They are probably right – it’s easier to catch this way. Only I’m not looking for easy options.
To be fair, I must say that in some ways theory and practice agree. By the end of the season, the perch is caught on the spoon with a spoon, and the more difficult it is to catch it with a spoon, the more interesting it is for me. You can think of a lot of ways to make a perch bite on a spoon.
Even if the fish is passive, you can still make it peck, the main thing is to think and try.
What is better than a spoon or a jig
To achieve good results, you need to analyze the situation on the spot. It is impossible to say right away what will be better caught – with a spoon or a jig.
I always start with a spoon because it has a longer range – it attracts fish from a greater distance than a jig. Perch approaches this bait and usually tries it. It depends on his activity whether he grabs it or, as is often the case during periods of poor bite, pokes his nose without opening his mouth.
If perch is good at trolling, I don’t even remember about the jig. But closer to the last ice, one has to increasingly resort to her help. By the way, during periods of poor bite, the lure helps to catch perch with a jig. I send a spoon to the hole and, playing with it, collect a flock of perch (no matter how passive it is, it will still be interested in a new object under water).
If the perch does not want to take a spoon, I offer him a small jig on a thin line, from which he most likely will not refuse. Thus, the main task of the spoon in this case is to collect as many perches as possible under the hole. Of course, after some time they can scatter, then you will have to work with a spoon again.
Replacing a jig with a spoon when fishing for passive perch is rarely effective. When a predator is also badly caught on a jig, it is most often pointless to put a spoon.
You can also tie a jig above the spoon. But on the first ice this option can still work, but on the last ice it is unlikely. There will be no problems with a spoon, but it is difficult to work with a jig, but it is possible. A friend of mine catches this all season. If the fish does not react to the spoon, he puts it on the bottom and lowers the jig into the hole, playing with it.