It is time to fish for surf perch on our sandy beaches. There are a few different perch species available, all are fun to catch and good to eat, or just put them back in the drink. Here is some sage advice from a seasoned perch fisher. Look for sand bars in the surf, wade in a bit and cast into the deep spot. To determine the hidden sand bars in the surf, look for the spot where the waves do not quite meet and a still water section forms just off the beach. Fish the break just off the sand bar. Sometimes there is a bit of foam that lingers on the still water.
Mike Erion at Outdoor Pro helped me with specific details. Use a long surf rod with 20# test line. He suggested I tie a ‘Carolina’ rig or ‘slip’ rig which is a bullet shaped weight with a hole through the middle then threaded onto the line with a swivel tied at the end. This allows the line to easily be pulled through when a fish bites the bait and allows a good, long cast. Then tie on a two-foot leader with one or two hooks, Mike suggested a #4 snelled bait hook. He suggested a 2” cut of ‘Sandworm Nereis’ by Berkley in their ‘Gulp’ style in camo color. They have what you need to get on this fun fish. Another friend suggested a hunk of live blood worm or fresh (or frozen) bait shrimp. They have diagrams or you can Google Image ‘Carolina Rig fishing’ and check it out that way.
The best place for me is the sandy shore at Dillon Beach, if you want to make a day of it, take a picnic lunch and a kite or two. The cold winds off the Pacific will fill your sails. There is an excellent little store in the Marina to buy an ice cream, sit on the bench in the sun and laugh and scratch with the lazy dogs and take in the beautiful scenery. The Lawson’s will give you up to date advice on fishing, they love to get you on them with the right stuff.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.