While you can toss giant 12-foot rods and sinkers heavier than car batteries, I prefer to fish perch off the beach with light gear. Surf perch can be pretty scrappy on scaled down tackle and this stuff will work from Baja to Olympic National Park on days when the surf isn’t too heavy. If you want to learn about my favorite surf perch techniques, check out my Light Tackle Surf Perch Guidebook.
The Rod: Lamiglas LX 96LS X-11
There are no technique-specific rods out there for light perching, but there are plenty of suitable sticks from a variety of companies. Lately, I’ve been using Lami’s LX 96LS X11, which was originally designed as a small steelhead bobber rod. Its length gets your line up over the wave tops but the rod is still light enough to give the fish a fighting chance.
The Reel: Quantum Cabo spinning reel
Just about any quality spinning reel will do for surf perch – they’re not exactly going to burn a bunch of drag. What I like about the Cabo series is that it has a really cool anti-corrosion system that keeps the reel functioning well even after a bunch of abuse from the saltwater environment.
The Bait: Berkley GULP Sandworms
There are times when live bait (like sand crabs) is the only thing surf perch will eat, but I’m a big fan of Berkley GULP Sandworms. I’ll fish them anywhere, any time and have huge confidence in them. New Penny and Camo are my two top colors and I’ll rig ’em Carolina style or on a drop shot rig.
The Line: Berkley Fireline Crystal
Braid cuts the water better than mono, casts like a dream, has less stretch and significantly more sensitivity…all great properties when perch fishing. Many braids will suffice, but I’ve been liking 14-pound Fireline Crystal lately.
The Leader: P-Line Fluorocarbon
Surf perch aren’t particularly line shy, but I still like to err on the side of caution and run a nearly-invisible fluorocarbon leader. P-Line fluoro in 8- or 10-pound test gets ‘er done.