There is one rig that I have found extremely successful when targeting perch on both still and running water and that’s a simple float paternoster rig. Being simple in design (as are many of my rigs) I hope you will be able to get as much pleasure from it as I have.
I recommend a through action specimen style float rod, which is able to cushion the typical lunges and head shaking of a big perch. I favour a mainline of at least 6lb breaking strain and 6lb Hydro Flo from Gardner Tackle comes highly recommended and has never let me down. I attach a 2½ swan shot style float with two rubbers (top and bottom) as this will allow you to change the float dependent on conditions or bait size. You can buy the usual float stops or I quite like 3.2mm Latex Bait Bands, they grip the line well, can be stretched easily and are super cheap too. In running water situations with a medium flow and a bleak live bait, I find a 2-2.5 swan float perfectly adequate. When faced with a stronger flow and/or a larger bait, I would recommend going slightly heavier and attaching the float with bands means you can swap and change quickly without breaking the rig down.
Next, tie a Large Covert Rig Ring to your mainline below the float and attach a weak link of around eighteen inches to two feet, which determines the depth the live bait will be positioned at. I generally use a mainline of 3lb when forming a weak link, and I also tie a couple of overhand granny knots in it to weaken it further. This gives the added bonus if the lead link gets snagged it can be easily broken leaving the angler in contact with the fish.
Tie a lead to the bottom of the weak link of at least 3/4 ounce (1 ounce is ideal). Last of all attach the hook link to the Rig Ring at right angles to your mainline. Ideally the hook link will be around 3-5inches shorter than the lead link, which helps to prevent tangles. Recently I have been using the new Target Fluorocarbon in 5lb and hook wise look no further than a super sharp size 8 Covert Incizor. Live baits are always lip hooked and this rig can be fished in a traditional float style or used sunken in conjunction with bite alarms and light bobbins on a long drop. Bites are usually positive affairs with the bobbin pulling steadily towards the rod blank.
Step 1 – Attach a float top and bottom with 3.2mm Latex Bait Bands.
Step 2 – Tie the mainline and the weak lead link to a Large Covert Rig Ring.
Step 3 – Tie a couple of overhand granny knots along the lead link to weaken it further.
Step 4 – Using a length of 5lb Target fluorocarbon, tie on a size 8 Covert Incizor hook.