chain pickerel is one of the few species of Mid-Atlantic gamefish that generally bites better through the winter months than through the summer. Still, even during the colder months of the year, if you want to hook into a whopper pickerel it will take some specific tactics and a targeted effort. Ready to get out there and make it happen? These winter pickerel fishing tips will help.
Those teeth are sharp! Fortunately, however, pickerel aren’t leader shy. Go with 20-or even 25-pound fluorocarbon and you’ll land three times as many fish as you would using 15-pound test, which pickerel are able to snip through in short order.
When you’re winter pickerel fishing, no matter what tactic you focus on always bring a plug or spoon you can toss out and troll as you go from spot to spot. Sometimes you’ll end up catching more pickerel trolling from A to B than you will trying anything else, even if your plan is to fish live baits.
Pairing a bucktail or dart with a minnow? You never know what color will prove best until you try it, but white and the classic red/white are always good starting points. The majority of the time, one or both of these will turn out to be the most effective offering.
Pickerel are so full of bones that most anglers release them; if that includes you, be sure to use a net with rubberized mesh to minimize injury to the fish. Never catch-and-release with a knotted nylon mesh net, which scrapes the fish’s slime off.
During the depths of winter the bite will often be best towards the end of a sunny day, when the water has warmed up a bit. But when water temperatures are 50-degrees or above, expect sunrise to be red hot.
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