Pickerel fishing is a type of fishing that many people have not tried for what ever reason. I was introduced to pickerel fishing a couple of years ago by my friend James and have not looked back since. Over these past few years I have learned what baits to use, what line to use, where to look for the pickerel, what techniques to use, and the pickerels tendencies.
I live in New Brunswick and have found a handful of places to fish for pickerel that are not too far from home. Two of these places have produced very good fishing. These two places are French Lake and Chipman. I have spent many days at Chipman fishing off Salmon River. What is important about both of these places is that weeds and lily pads grow in these two spots. If you are new to pickerel fishing you need to know that chain pickerel love to stay under cover. Once the lily pads are out the pickerel seem to love these spots. They will hide under these weeds or lily pads and ambush their prey, or more importantly, your bait or lure.
Since pickerel like to stay in these weeds or pads it is important that you use baits or lures that can be rigged up weedless. You can certainly use other regular baits or setups if you fish the weed lines but you will have much more success if you get set up weedless and get right in the middle of the weeds. A bait that James and I have learned to really enjoy using when pickerel fishing is the 6 inch senko (rubber worm). Our favorite colors we like to use because they give us our best action are pink and red. You can buy these at most stores in the fishing department. I buy many of mine on Ebay. There are countless colors and lengths to choose from. We set these up weedless and cast them right into the weeds and reel them in right across the top of the weeds. We have had countless times where we have had multiple strikes from a certain weed bed. It is important that when you put the senko on the EWG hook that the worm is straight. If it is not straight it will affects its movement in the water. The pictures below will show you how to rig up a senko so that it is straight and weedless.
When the weeds are thick I find the senko works the best when you cast it out and begin reeling in just before the worm hits the weeds. I find this is important because sometimes if the senko hits the weeds and stays still for a second or two it has a better chance of getting caught up in the weeds, even if it is rigged weedless. What I mean by this is sometimes weeds or grass will get caught up at the front of the bait.
Since chain pickerel have very sharp teeth it is important that you use the proper line when fishing for them. If you are using regular fishing line I will pretty well guarantee that you will have your line cut a handful of times by their teeth. I have used braided line in the past which can withstand their teeth quite well but I have had difficulties with it getting knotted up when casting. I have gone to use Berkley Smooth Cast line and using a steel leader. I find using a black steel leader has given me better luck that the silver ones. I have been using the Mustad 20lb black leaders. When I land a pickerel I also using a glove made for fishing. It has rubber dots on the palm which help keep a hold of the pickerel. It may look a little silly but I like using it because I can keep a good hold and do not worry as much about getting cut by their sharp teeth.
The technique I use the most when fishing with the senko is to cast right at or near the weeds and like I said earlier start reeling in just before the bait hits the water. I normally reel in quite fast. The pickerel seem to like the fast moving baits. I will cast around a certain weed spot a few times seeing if I can induce a strike. If I see some movement or get a hit but do not hook the fish I will cast back to the same spot as the pickerel will usually strike again. They are an extremely aggressive fish this way. Reeling in fast keeps the senko at the top of the water. I like this because you get to see all the strikes and many of the strikes that the pickerel make are very impressive.
If you are new to pickerel fishing or are thinking about giving it a try I hope this information has been useful and hope you get into some pickerel because it is some fun when you do.
Filed under: Chain Pickerel Fishing
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