'Perchanator' is New Panfish Weapon

By Ted Peck - March 22, 2017
Perch are a perennial source of torment for rabid anglers. Frustration is understandable in pursuit of walleyes or muskies. These piscators are gamefish. Perch are panfish. Conventional wisdom says panfish are easier to catch.

Legions of fishers across the upper Midwest have discovered the enigmatic nature of these golden tiger-barred devils, sometimes going to extreme measures to figure them out while trying even harder to remain nonchalant when perch decide not to cooperate.

I tried to display this façade when guiding three clients for panfish last summer.

Two of this trio was catching a pile of bluegills using nine-foot St. Croix panfish rods and a tiny, black 1/80 oz. jig-fly known as the Bimbo Skunk.

In a lifetime on the water I have yet to find a bluegill lure which will outfish the 'Skunk. A white cousin of this lure called the Blonde Bimbo has a similar effect on crappies. Both will also fool the occasional perch.

Until last summer there were other presentations which would consistently catch more perch-including the basic split shot and tiny red hook with a pinch of worm.

This most basic rig is profoundly effective on perch-but sometimes beneath the dignity of someone who considers himself a professional angler.

Returning to the dock with a nice mess of perch and admitting they were caught on a hook and split shot would be like Kevin VanDam telling the world he just won the Bassmaster Classic tourney throwing a raspberry scented, pre-rigged plastic worm.

Professional anglers use "lures" to catch their fish. I used to employ Minnesota logic in building my perch rigs, adding a single orange bead so I could call it a "lure".

Until just a couple of years ago Minnesota ice anglers could not use a basic chub on a treble hook on their tip-ups. They had to use a "lure". Legal compliance was accomplished by adding a tiny spinner blade or superfluous plastic bead.

On this particular summer outing the third angler in my party was using the "professional" perch rig of a hook and orange bead, fishing the exact same water as his buddies who were wailing away on the 'gills with Bimbo Skunks.

The client with the bead-and-hook caught 90 percent of all the perch that day. The blessing of this mixed bag bounty made my clients quite happy, but bothered me considerably.

A solution was right there at the end of those fishing lines all along-build an orange version of the Bimbo Skunk and the perch should tear it up!

I phoned Dan"Bimbo" Gifford far too early the following morning with my epiphany. He was equally excited. The first batch of prototype 'Perchanators' arrived by special delivery two days later and were immediately field tested.

It took several incarnations and over a month to finally come up with a lure approaching perch perfection. We came up with a slightly larger hook with a slightly heavier jighead weight of 1/32 ounce to effect a quicker fall through the weeds which are a popular perch summer home.

` The final touch was a chartreuse stripe running along of the lure's spine. The stripe effectively imitated a tiny green benthic macroinvertebrate which lived between the fronds of elodea which perch like to feast on from mid-summer through late fall.

Even after most green weeds died off, the Perchanator continued to fool fish under the Mississippi River ice…and really live up to its name now that ice has faded from backwaters of Old Man River.

A major key to consistent angling success-regardless of species you're chasing-is to focus on forage down the food chain from the fish you want to catch.

Perch start life feeding on zooplankton, progressing to benthic macroinvertebrates as they grow. Really big perch eventually go after minnows, including smaller perch, but they maintain a craving for benthic macroinvertebrates until the day they wind up on a stringer.

Most of my panfish guiding is done on backwaters of the Upper Mississippi River. Throughout the summer and into the fall bluegills, crappies and perch can be found in pockets and near the deep outside edge of elodea and similar water weeds in 6-9 feet of water on this fishery.

Finding fish is the first component of a successful day on the water. The second step is putting something which appears to be irresistible prey in their strike zone.

Put these two parameters together and you can catch fish with a basic hook and split shot.

Folks who fish for a living have a tendency to tweak a system which already works. Those with a guide service logo on a fancy shirt can't use terms like 'coontail weeds" or "little green worms".

They feel compelled to expound on six species of elodea and piscatory preferences within the vast buffet of benthic macroinvertebrates.

My clients rave about the new Teddy Skunk Perchanator. They catch more fish, bigger fish. It really, really works.

Available at a bait shop near you, or online at www.bimboskunk.com/ted/ for the bargain price of $2 per copy-but WAIT-order now and you can get a second TSP free. Just add $2 for additional shipping and handling.

Author Ted Peck
Ted Peck
Cap'n Ted Peck has over 30 yrs. guiding experience, specializing in multi-species fishing on Pool 9-10 of the Mississippi from Genoa, Wi. to Prairie du Chien. Cap'n Ted is a pro staffer for Lund, Northland Tackle, MinnKota, Bill Lewis Lures, Evinrude, Uncle Josh, HT Enterprises and Custom Jigs & Spins. When not guiding Cap'n Ted communicates the outdoors experience via newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and through seminars. This work has taken him all over the midwest, Canada and beyond... but he always returns to the upper Mississippi which he considers the most diverse fishery in North America. Click here for more info on Ted's guide service. Cap'n Ted's new book Mississippi Musings with the Old Guide is a personal account of his long career as a professional fishing guide on Old Man River.