Perch Jerking: An East Texas Past Time- Perch jerking is an East Texas past time. The Pineywoods is a prime location for dabbling along the banks of lakes, rivers, and creeks. “Perch” is the common catchall term for the various panfish found in local freshwater drainages. Whether you catch brightly colored sun perch or crappie, also known as “white perch,” perch jerking is fun for everyone.
While you are having fun perch jerking, don’t forget what an excellent dish these fish make. These fresh delicate fillets dipped in corn mean and dropped into a hot skillet make a tasty meal.
The best place to go perch jerking is in the shallows. Simple tackle works best. Perch find worms, minnows, and power bait irresistible. Small twist-tail jigs and tail spinner-type lures also are effective, especially when the water clarity offers a foot or two of visibility. Lobbing a small cork into the shallows with the selected bait will let you know when you are getting some action.
The lighter the rod, the better. Small light rods allow the fisherman to feel as if the perch is putting up a fight. Also effective, and a lost treasure amid the rows a high-tech tackle, is the basic cane pole. A 10-12-foot pole fitted with a short length of line and the cork and minnow or jig can be poked into tight openings of brush and limbs. Traditional wisdom also favors using a gold hook. The added flash helps attract nearby perch. Eight to 12 pound line test is a wise idea, and sufficient. Perch are light, however the occasional and inevitable hang-up does occur and the heavier line can help anglers avoid breaking off and having to re-rig.
Some perch will put up quite a fight, while others will be small enough to lift from the water with ease. Perch are aggressive feeders but indifferent fighters, and considering their thin mouths it is just as well. You can in fact jerk their lips off. Anglers will win some and lose some when battling perch. Perch will steal your bait on occasion, and “jump” off your hook at the last minute. It’s all part of the fun.
The stakes may not be as high while perch jerking as those of bass fishing, but both take that “special touch” and require a little know-how. Within the first few minutes of perch jerking you will be able to tell who knows their stuff and who is a rookie perch jerker.
If you want to have some good “clean” fun, host a perch jerking tournament with your buddies or with your kids. You will be surprised how serious perch jerking can become in a matter of minutes.