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First chain pickerel - species we love to hate

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I never looked forward to catching one of these things, knowing they have teeth, but when I finally did a couple weekends ago it was very exciting - a new species. I was targeting crappie (hoping for bass ;)) with a 6'6 L/F and 2-inch paddle tail grub on a 1/16 oz jig head, in the kayak. Netted him and he took a while to settle down in the net, kept flopping around, loads of energy. Used the fish grips, barbless hook popped out easily and released him. I love how the chain link pattern on the body matches the mesh of the net. I'd guess this one is about 14 inches long - didn't measure him, just wanted to get him back in the water. And his teeth away from the vicinity of my fingers :D Beautiful fish.

 

cpick.thumb.jpg.a54a8f736eb98d56b76ff5d227ef8468.jpg

 

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Lot of people don't like them, there toothy and slimy. But when they start getting to a certain size, I think their fun to catch, and fight well.  Good job on a new species.

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They fight pretty good I don’t mind one here or there. One of the owners of the pond I catch them most frequently at insists that we kill them if we catch any. I don’t ask questions, I just do as I’m told as the pond is fire, but I can’t help but feel a little wrong in doing so :/.

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Ahhhhhh Pike.  Expert lure theifs and spinnerbait destroyers.  😄

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Congratulations on catching your first chain pickerel.

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Pros: They are fun to catch. They hit Crankbaits and topwaters like a freight train. They bite when nothing else is.

 

Cons: Teeth. Slimy as hell. They are delicate, get them back in the water as soon as possible.

 

 

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Not sure if these are the smartest or the dumbest fish.  Most don't even think to start putting up a fight until they get within 10 feet of getting netted. Are they just saving energy because they've been there and done that before and know they'll be thrown back; or, do they have no clue what's going on until they see you and then start to panic?  Another of the unpredictable things that is fishing.

On ‎5‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 9:29 AM, NYWayfarer said:

They bite when nothing else is.

Yes, when nothing else is hitting a pickerel is welcome.  Funny how something that's a nuisance when you're having a good day with the bass, is considered good luck when you're not.  Also, as mentioned earlier, if you hook into a good size one and it starts to fight right off the bat, then it's fun.  Especially fun on light tackle.  

 

The distinctive line mark through the eye makes this a neat fish as well.  Since I don't like dealing with the slime and the teeth either, I always hope they shake free before I have to net them, making life easier for both of us.

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Congrats of your first pike. I have only landed a few small ones, they seem to cut me off more often that not. I would love to hook into a big northern though. 

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Slimy rats. Nothing but a problem. Always nicking up my line and bending my lures. I fish a lake infested with those. So bad I started taking the legal ones and using them for fertilizer for my sister's garden. I'd much rather have a day of catching nothing than hook into one of those pests. They're the reason I buy Terminator Titanium Spinnerbaits. If they can bend it, they will. 

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1 hour ago, RichPenNY said:

Since I don't like dealing with the slime and the teeth either, I always hope they shake free before I have to net them, making life easier for both of us.

What??!!?? My friend you haven't lived until you tried getting both set of crankbait trebles from one of these beasts toothy maws!!

 

Caught this week, pliers needed:

 

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10 hours ago, RichPenNY said:

Not sure if these are the smartest or the dumbest fish. 

It seems that chain pickerel are a nuisance fish in many northern states since they are so easy to catch but it's not like that here in South Florida. I know many dedicated freshwater fishermen that have never caught a chain pickerel in South Florida.Many are caught by accident when bass fishing which is how I caught my first chain pickerel over 2 decades ago. I still fish for chain pickerel and have a few places I can specifically target them.I don't catch chain pickerel on every trip but do catch them most of the time . I do catch bass every time I fish these locations so if anything the small/medium bass are the dumb fish in the locations I fish for chain pickerel.

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I think they can be fun to catch and are explosive.

 

Not a native species up here and were introduced illegally. They have spread like wildfire. Last year the daily bag limit was 25 but was increased to 100 this year in the hope to try to make a dent. My theory is that if no one is keeping them to eat then a limit of 1000 wouldn't help. Course it is illegal to just kill them.

 

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they are fun but the problem is when they get in bass ponds. I have family in Poconos area and they had a couple nice bass and bluegill ponds they let their neighbors fish in for awhile. Well one of them must of felt like being a bucket biologist a few years back and dropped a few chain pickerel in and they have completely overrun the ponds. I know there are a few big bass left but hard to catch them, pickerel are so aggressive they get to your bait first. We were sighting the bass and dropping baits right in on top of them last fall and a pickerel would always steal it before bass would commit. Ponds need redone 

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On 5/18/2018 at 10:09 PM, Mumbly said:

I think they can be fun to catch and are explosive.

 

Not a native species up here and were introduced illegally. They have spread like wildfire. Last year the daily bag limit was 25 but was increased to 100 this year in the hope to try to make a dent. My theory is that if no one is keeping them to eat then a limit of 1000 wouldn't help. Course it is illegal to just kill them.

 

I wonder how they taste

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On 5/22/2018 at 12:27 AM, Burros said:

I wonder how they taste

I knew a woman down in Florida that said they were the best eating fish down there. I'd love to try one but we don't have them in Tennessee

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On 5/22/2018 at 1:27 AM, Burros said:

I wonder how they taste

I have a friend who has tried a few and he claims they taste great. Filleting them correctly to remove the Y bones is the trick from my understanding. I have seen video's of it being done but I haven't tried it.

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14 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

 I'd love to try one but we don't have them in Tennessee

All the more reason to move to Tennessee. Trust me you ain't missing much. Trout, walleye, sunfish, perch, blue gill, and striper are much more tasty. 

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I never minded catching the occasional slime dart especially when the bass aren’t biting. Just can’t stand them when I start catching them over and over with no bass in sight.

 

B

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Pike are common where I fish.  I've always liked them.  Hit hard, fight hard and sometimes I will keep a few and remove y-bones and they are delicious.  They are tough on tackle.  Swim jigs and pike don't mix well.  Jaw spreaders and pliers should be nearby if you plan on catching them.  Also hang on tight when removing hooks.  The little guys are like hand grenades when you hold them.  They suddenly go wild and are slippery.  A friend ended up in the ER last year with the front treble hook in one hand and the back treble in the other.  He was basically handcuffed.

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I'm a tight-line fisherman...  Whatever pulls on the other side is fun.

 

Picks and Pikes are fun, and some of their strikes (which, for me at least, come often when I'm just reeling in quickly to cast again) can be really exciting.  Sucks to get a bait/lure tore up by them - or lost to them - but the ride is still a joy.

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On 5/16/2018 at 12:12 AM, Graham said:

They fight pretty good I don’t mind one here or there. One of the owners of the pond I catch them most frequently at insists that we kill them if we catch any. I don’t ask questions, I just do as I’m told as the pond is fire, but I can’t help but feel a little wrong in doing so :/.

please don't do that 😕 that's just wrong man .... all living creatures deserve a right to live...

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4 hours ago, Ralph Nicholas Vito said:

please don't do that 😕 that's just wrong man .... all living creatures deserve a right to live...

I don’t enjoy it...but that is how the owners of the fishing club manage their fishery. To them it is an invasive species. Is this misguided, I think so, but that’s not my call to make.

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Just now, Graham said:

I don’t enjoy it...but that is how the owners of the fishing club manage their fishery. To them it is an invasive species. Is this misguided, I think so, but that’s not my call to make.

extremely ... bass left on their own will out duel pickerel ... way more aggressive

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1 minute ago, Ralph Nicholas Vito said:

extremely ... bass left on their own will out duel pickerel ... way more aggressive

Yeah I see it having a positive correlation on average size of bass in a pond as well. I’m surprised that killing them has become their standard practice, but most of these folks aren’t as well versed in ecology as some of us. Definitely not advocating for killing fish, just sharing my experience on the topic.

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