The Story Behind Ohio’s New Record Perch

Sit back, relax and pop the top of a cold one while you read this. Go ahead, we’ll wait…

Ready?

Now can you identify with the laidback method it sometimes takes to catch a state-record fish… And that’s exactly the technique David Berg was employing April 18, 2016, while casting from shore. OhioRecordPerch_StCroix 1His catch near the high noon mark? A 2-pound 14-ounce yellow perch from Lake Erie; which is now being considered Ohio’s largest ever landed on hook and line. The potbellied fish was 15.73 inches long, and had a girth of 13.5 inches.

Berg’s system for catching fish from the pier head at HTP Rack and Marina in Fairport Harbor is simple: A perch rig, its Aberdeen hooks tipped with a lively emerald shiner, cast out into 8 to 12 feet of water off the lakeside from the gas dock. From there it’s set the rod is set up against the jetty — in this case a 5-foot ultra-light-power moderate-action St. Croix Triumph spinning rod, with reel fill with Spiderwire line. And then you just sit back, relax and pop a cold one while waiting for a hit.

Smallmouth bass and catfish are what he and his brother, Fred, usually catch here. Oh, and the occasional sheepshead, which was the only fish caught up until the record-setter. Perch are more the rarity.

Smallmouth bass and catfish are what he and his brother, Fred, usually catch here. Oh, and the occasional sheepshead, which was the only fish caught up until the record-setter. Perch are more the rarity.

When Berg first saw the fat fish rolling just under the surface, his guess was a nice smallie on the end of his line. But once the fish was safely in the net, he knew the perch was large enough to at least capture a “Fish Ohio” award – a program recognizing those who land big fish in the state. But then the more he thought about it, he realized the fish might just be bigger than the previous record of 2.75-pounds and 14 1/2 inches set in April 17, 1984, by Charles Thomas – nearly to the day. And he was right. 

“I’ve been using St. Croix rods for years now, and preaching to friends and family that they should, too,” stated the 46-year-old Mentor, Ohio, resident. “The quality and workmanship of their rods is topnotch and their warranty service is outstanding.”  

Berg plans on getting the fish mounted once it is officially in the record books.