As Fall brings hungry yellow perch in close, anglers head out to catch the tasty fish.
They may not be the biggest fish in the lake, but many think they are the best tasting. Fall's cooling temperatures coax many kinds of fish into biting, but none are easier to catch than yellow perch. Whether you're in a boat or onshore, you just have to find them.
For charter captains like Tom Banyas of Peerless II charters, perch fishing means great times on the water before sending his boat to dry dock for the Winter.
"It's a lot of fun, you get together with your buddies, it's easy to do, and plus they are delicious tasty treats."
If you drive along the lakeshore, you may see packs of boats gathered in certain areas of the lake, near shore. Those are the perch-jerkers. They've located a school of fish and are anchored over them, trying to coax them into biting.
Local tackle shops can get you set up with the simple gear needed to catch perch.
You can use "spreaders" or "crappie rigs" which have multiple hooks on them. All you need is a medium action rod and reel, a rig with about a 3/4 to 1 1/2 oz sinker on it, a couple hooks and several dozen minnows.
Shine's Bait and Tackle on E. 55th Street in Cleveland has everything you'll need to find and catch perch, even accurate fishing reports.
Owner Mike Fedorka, who has worked at Shine's since 1959, says, "When it comes to reports, honesty is the best policy. Guys who are making plans to fish appreciate you telling them the truth when it comes to fishing reports. Keeps them coming back."
That's important to Mike. He owns Shine's, a full-service shop. He also realizes how important the perch are. "Without perch, we're nothing. Walleye is good at times, but perch fishing is king."
You can catch perch from shore, but a boat is your best option. There are "head boats" or "party boats" that still run in the area.
"The Holiday" out of the Cuyahoga River. The "Linda Mae" out of Wildwood State Park, and out West, you have the "Miss Cindy" and "Irish Drifter" in the Vermilion area. Great values all, and all try to put you on the fish.
Yellow perch are excellent table fare and deep fried perch are a local staple. There are several ways to prepare the tender, sweet fillets, and my favorite is teryaki-marinated, bacon-wrapped and grilled. Here's the simple recipe.
Coat perch fillets in teryaki marinade of your choice
Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours
You'll need 1 slice of bacon per fillet
Partially pre-cook the bacon in microwave or oven. Must be able to roll it up
Take 1 marinated fillet and place on 1 piece of bacon and start rolling.
Toothpick the bacon/fillet as you're rolling to keep it together
Start grill and heat it up on "high"
Place wraps on grill. Keep turning so bacon doesn't burn.
When browned on all sides, baste with more teryaki sauce.
Keep turning and turn down grill. Close lid.
Let roll ups cook until bacon is done and fish goes pale, usually around 10-12 minutes.
When done, remove toothpicks and that's it. They won't last long and will be the hit of your holiday party.
If you'd like to share your own perch recipe or any kind for that matter, join Carl's Facebook page at "Outdoors with Big Daddy WKYC" or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll get it posted from there.
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