When it comes to bait dunking, one of the greatest keys to success is to get your rods out of the rod holders and onto a balancer.
With the rod sitting on a balance point device, a fish can pull the tip down without feeling any resistance — and the result is a much, much higher rate of success. These things can take your lake trout bait dunking, river sturgeon and striper fishing and even salmon and steelhead fishing to all new levels. There are bunch of balancers out there and we’ve tried most. Lately, I have been using “The Perch” by NIMA Co. Here’s how it’s done in extensive river striper testing…
- The Perch is a handsome, solidly-built aluminum device machined in the USA.
- It’s available in 2 different base styles to fish most flush, side, rail and gunwale mounted rod holder bases.(Scotty, Cannon, Berkley, Roberts, Fish-On, Atwood, Roberts)
- Keeps the reel in the up/strike position
- Top fork rotates 360° to keep your rod pointed at the bait.
- Locks into the rod holder base
- All bases drilled and tapped (1/4” x 20 NC) for permanent installations.
- Includes rubber-covered Balance Arm and band to fit most rods. (1 to 1-1/2” Diameter Grip)
Slick & Simple Design
One quick glance at The Perch and you can see it’s of very good quality. The machining is precise and to mount it in a rod holder base all you have to do is line up the pre-cut slot with the tab inside the base. Twist it and then the whole unit locks securely into place…
Most rod balancers we’ve used in the past have the same general “V” shape and the rod rests in the bottom of the V, where you try to find it’s balance point. The issue with many other similar devices is your rod can disappear over the side quickly if you get a big bite. Some come equipped with safety lines, but we’ve quickly found that those are a major pain in the butt because it’s hard to release the safety line in the heat of battle.
Also, you can’t always get your rod to balance with the reel facing up. When you go to set the hook, it’s nice to have the reel in the upright and ready to rock and roll position.
Well, The Perch solves all of those issues. Nick Matulich at NIMA Co. struggled with all the same issues and that, through much trial and error, led him eventually to design the Perch. His major stroke of genius came when he came up with the groove & pin design.
Basically, you attach a small pin (provided in the kit), which he calls the “balance arm” to your rod handle with a small band (also included)…
Then, all you do is simply drop the balance arm into the grooves in the balancer, where it locks the rod safely in place. Next, find your balance sweet spot and wait for a bite…
On the Water Test
So, we’ve established that The Perch is a pretty nifty little unit…but how well does it work? Well, the very first day we took it out, I would have lost two rods over the side without it. I got a couple massive grabs while I wasn’t paying attention and looked up to see my rod tip in the water and the butt pointing to the heavens. Again, because the rod sits on the balance arm down in the grooves of the balancer, it can’t come out on a hit. Well, never say never, but we tested it on the boat ramp too by doing some simulated bites from striper to black marlin and the rod never popped out of the holder.
Save yourself one rod (let alone two in one day) and The Perch has already paid for itself (they’re around $60) many times over.
The “V” portion of the holder easily rotates 360 degrees, so our rod tips were always pointed directly at the bait, so there’s none of that awkward angle thing when you go to set on a fish. Speaking of bites, the best way to see the real advantage of using a balancer like the Perch instead of hand-holding or rod holders is when the boat when it’s still on the trailer.
Put your rod in a regular rod holder and then stand 20 feet behind the boat and pull on the line like you are a fish biting the bait. What you feel immediately is resistance. Next, try the same exercise with The Perch and you feel no resistance at all…and therein lies the beauty of the thing: So many more bites get converted to hook ups.
A tool like this is a must-have for anybody soaking bait for a variety of species from trout at a stocked lakes to sturgeon on the Columbia River. And I think it could really have some interesting applications for lake trolling and back trolling on rivers. And I’m sure you could mount a rod holder base on a board and use the Perch on shore, too. More experimentation is needed! Honey, I’m going fishing again…really it’s work related! ;)
In all, The Perch preformed better than expectations and, in my mind, has made all previous balancers I’ve tried obsolete. I have nothing but good things to say about the unit. The only issue we had…and this one is very minor…is the rubber band that comes with the uint for attaching the balance arm to your rod is designed for rods with fore grips up to 1.5 inches in diameter. We have been using much lighter gear, so we had to twist the band to get it tight enough to stay tight on our rods…again, no big deal and I’m sure I could find small bands if I looked at Home Depot or somewhere like that. You can see in the first picture of this article how the band fits nice and snug without twisting on a larger boat rod.
Pretty simple: The Perch is awesome. If you are a bait-dunker, you need some! For more info: THE PERCH