For those of you who are live-bait fisherman, have you ever been so proud of the job you did catching, storing and presenting the bait that you thought, “That looks so good, I’d eat it myself?”

That’s not exactly the way it went down for Zakk Royce of Blues Brothers Guide Service, but he got there in the end.

Royce is a famous catfish guide. How else do you describe a guy who pulled back-to-back North Carolina-record blue catfish from Lake Gaston, and several 100-pound fish.

Royce has spent a lot of time learning the behavior of trophy blue catfish on Gaston, a 20,000-acres lake on the Roanoke River along the North Carolina-Virginia border, and one of those behaviors is eating white perch. Accordingly, Royce spends a lot of guide prep time catching white perch for bait. In fact, he frequently catches them by the cooler-full in between his catfish guide trips.

“Big blue catfish love to eat white perch, but one of the things I hear most often from other anglers is why am I not keeping those to eat myself,” said Royce (919-724-2474). “A couple of years ago, I was catching some really good sized perch — pound-and-a-half fish — so I broke down and filleted them and cooked them. Those guys were right; they’re delicious. I eat a lot of crappie that I catch here on Gaston in the spring, and these fish are every bit as good if not better than crappie.”

While catching scads of white perch year round is not a difficult task, Royce said late August and into September is one of the better times to catch bigger perch. He said the typical perch pattern through the year is to find them congregating