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Back-door basics
  |  First Published: June 2005



This month I want to go back to basics, fishing right at my back door in the Peel River.

The Peel has had its fair share of hard times, with floods ripping through it every few years, destroying the banks and structure. Despite all this it is still a prime spot for silver and golden perch, which is why I love to throw the odd line in there every now and then.

For me, the best way too fish the river is in my Koastal Kayak. It is very convenient because the water level is often quite low and the river has heaps of structure along the banks and so it is much easier to get right in there and cast accurately to them.

Lures, hard-bodied and soft, are particularly effective on perch. My favourites are Hydro Bugs, smaller Bassman spinnerbaits, and Bait ’Em soft plastics and spinnerbaits.

More often I stick with the soft plastics and I have finally perfected my technique and am now getting consistent results.

I think catching perch is all about the way you present the lure and having cracked a pattern and gained some confidence, the results just come.

A few weeks ago I ventured down to the river one afternoon with my mate Scott Hogan and my kayak. We had been on the water for awhile and I found some willow trees with a fallen log in front of them. This looked a prime spot for golden and silver perch.

I cast my soft plastic under a willow, let it sit for a couple of seconds and slowly wound the lure back through the structure, letting it sit every so often and twitching my rod tip in an upward motion. I was trying to get my lure to look like an injured insect or something similar.

After about my fourth cast I had a nice strike but no hook-up. This had my adrenaline pumping so I was straight back out there as quickly as I could. This was the lucky cast: The fish inhaled my soft plastic and the fight was on.

The fish was trying to bust me of on every snag possible and I was trying to keep it out of them.

To start with I had to retrieve pretty fast but once the fish was clear of all structure , I was able to smoothly bring in a 1.6kg golden perch. After a couple of happy snaps this one went straight back in the water ready for next time.

Scott also had some luck on a frog pattern Smak lure cast under the willows, also picking him up a beautiful golden.

After an hour or so of fishing with the soft plastics I decided to swap over to hard-bodied lures and had the luck to pick up a nice silver perch. While there are plenty of these stocked in the impoundments, they’re protected in the rivers so that fish went back in, too.

This day proved to us that you don't have to travel miles to exotic waters or use fancy techniques to catch decent fish – basic casting towards structure is a proven success.

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