- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2007


Don’t think this is yet another yellow perch article. Well, it is — kind of — but with a twist.

It all started on a recent cold morning when five bass boats gathered on Charles County’s Nanjemoy Creek, their occupants clutching cups of scalding-hot coffee while the boats chugged upstream to a fairly wide, wind-protected stretch where 10 anglers began to search for food. Yes, food.

Any perch that might be caught (five nine-inch and longer fish a person are legal) would be turned into battered, deep-fried, golden fillets that are so tasty you would gladly trade a steak for a plate of these delicacies.

I’ve been a part of these little perch roundups for a number of years, managing to get friends together along the way, some who haven’t seen each other in a year.

Bass fishing guides Andy Andrzejewski and Dale Knupp were the organizers of this year’s affair. Knupp’s wife, Nancy, supplied baked beans and cole slaw, her husband brought the fish batter, deep-fry pot and oil and Andrzejewski toted a box filled with sodas. The rest of us brought ravenous appetites.

The two fishing guides also showed us a very effective method for catching bass can also be used to hook fat, roe-filled yellow perch.

“We’ve been nailing those perch using dropshot rigs,” said Andrzejewski as Knupp nodded his head, pointing out an incident in which two fishermen who used live minnows on bottom rigs were outfished by the guides’ dropshot method only 10 days ago.

If you’re not familiar with dropshotting, you should give it a try. Just ask my long-time fishing pal, Bob Rice. The St. Mary’s Countian tried his usual perch-catching method, casting scented two-inch long grubs into the creek, slowly lifting the rod, reeling in a bit of line, then dropping it again. It has always worked before. But not this day.

However, when Rice tied a special dropshot hook to the line of another rod, added a fake bait and the little ball sinker that the rig is named for, he caught a fine female perch on his first cast.

That’s how it went all morning. Francis Guy, of the Guy Brothers Marine Center in Clements, Md., was dropshotting and he caught more than 30 yellow perch, but kept only the five biggest specimens. The same happened in the Knupp boat as Dale and Nancy appeared to be in a contest. The two dropshotted and caught dozens of the gold-hued fish.

Most everybody on the creek did the dropshot thing, and they all caught perch. Several who didn’t hooked a perch now and then, but they were far behind the others.

The dropshot method began around the U.S. as a bass-catching device. It consists simply of a plain hook being tied to the line in such a fashion that it will stand out perpendicular to the line. Enough line remains under the hook to allow a special, small, round sinker to be added. What you have is a hook, about 12 inches or more of line under it and a sinker with a special release clip. The sinker can be as light as 1/8-ounce and as heavy as a -ounce. A three-inch long Power Minnow from Berkley is fed onto the dropshot hook with the hook point emerging totally exposed on the back of the scent-filled man-made bait. Favorite colors are known as chartreuse shad, black shad, perch or smelt. Pick either one and see what happens.

Our perch wouldn’t leave the greenish models alone. We would flick out the phony bait rig, let it sink to the bottom, lifted and lowered the rod tip from time to time and the perch did the rest.

Did they ever!

• Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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