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Winter Pickerel Fishing

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Winter Pickerel Fishing

When the bass fishing slows down and the air temperature drop into the upper 30’s to 40’s, most people want to stay in their warm bed instead of getting out on the water. For me, it is a great opportunity to have the water to myself and do some pickerel fishing. The Chesapeake Bay tributaries are known for some of the best pickerel fishing in the Mid-Atlantic region. As the air and water temperatures drop, pickerel become more aggressive. For the most part, you can catch them year round, but I find that my bigger fish come in the cooler months. I fish for them the same way I would fish for a bass in the spring and summer months. In the past, I have caught them on anything from wacky rigged senkos to Texas rigged worms. But I find that I have the best luck with fast moving hard baits. Pickerel tend to like shiny baits that have some flash. Most of the time, I find that I get more pickerel on blue mirror lipless crank baits and blue mirror square bill crank baits. I also throw a Bust’em Baits 3.75” paddle tail on Hard Head Custom Baits swim bait hook. I always like to try the baits with treble hooks first because I find the hook up ratio is a lot better. Pickerel have narrow boney mouths and sometimes it can be hard to set the hook. If you can get them on a treble hook, then that is great, but when the bite is slow, often times, you can turn them on with a small paddle tail. The action on the paddle tails draw more bites. Pickerel are aggressive fish that cannot resist the movement of the paddle tail. On the Chesapeake, it is best to fish on rivers like the Magothy, the Severn, or any of the main rivers off of the bay. Fishing around piers, boats, and structure will bring you the most bites during the cooler months.

Gear Used:

Wilderness Systems ATAK 140

Lews BB1 Pro and Lews Speed Spin TLP3000

Duckett Fishing rods

Columbia Sports Wear Cold Weather Gear


Check out the video here.