The giant perch of Southern Europe
Mikkel Matzen is a very dedicated predator angler with a nose for big fish. Follow his INSANE trip to Spain in search of the biggest of the biggest!
For several years now, Jacob and I were teased by rumours we heard of giant perch that frequent the waters of Southern Europe. Like many such things we hear about, we simply had to go and find out if it was true. Jacob and I have been on many fishing adventures together and our experience tells us that you can half-win the battle before you even leave home – planning is the key to success. We worked our network of contacts and did some thorough research as we begun to work on a detailed plan to target perch in Spain.
We spent the first couple of years scouting and mapping the lake and learning the patterns of the fish. Our goal was to catch a 3kg perch and in order for that to happen, we needed to catch a huge number of fish. As we set out on a four-day trip, the weather was unbelievably bad and totally against us. Every day we fished it was foggy up until midday. It was far from optimal conditions when fishing perch and even though we are very good at constantly adapting our fishing methods to the conditions, it was a real struggle. The times with actively feeding fish were incredibly short and we had to work very hard for every single take we had. I have never in my entire fishing career had to concentrate as hard as on these trips, it’s really all in those little margins. And we had to finetune our gear to make those margins counts.
Our go-to gear was a 7’3” rod with 0.12mm braided line and a 1m Savage Gear soft fluorocarbon tip of 0.26mm. We found that the best lures for this set-up were the 3D Crayfish, 3D Fat T-Tail Minnow and LB 3D Bleak Paddletail. We changed tactics a lot, and if we had not prepared a lot of gear from home, we would never have caught the numbers that we did. The result of all of our careful planning and effort speaks for itself: we managed to catch more than 40 perch over 2kg with an amazing average weight of 2,300g. The biggest of the bunch weighed 2,750g, giving us confidence that the goal of a 3kg perch was achievable.
Even before we began the journey home, we were already talking about the next trip and quickly agreed that we would give it our best in order to reach our goal. At home everything was planned very carefully and we were ready to leave just before the spawning. This is when perch ar most difficult to catch but also when they are at their biggest. Unfortunately, Covid-19 hit Europe and just the day before we were meant to leave, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs shut down all departures to any destination in Europe. Even now, more than six months later, we feel like we’ve lost the chance of something amazing! We will, without any doubt, go back as soon as possible and finish what we have started.