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Hook Shots: For The Love Of Chain Pickerel



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so I have been asked if not borderline

dared over the years by many hook shots

fans to shoot an episode devoted solely

to the chain pickle lucky number 10 now

in the hierarchy of coveted East Sox

species right the pickerel sits squarely

at the bottom and I gotta tell you I

always thought like man that's really a

shame because in my opinion the chain

pick role has a lot going for it okay

for starters right there available to a

whole lot of people I don't know where

you guys live but where I live there's

not exactly great northern pike fishing

around here or particularly outstanding

muskie fishing

but what I do have is a whole lot of

chain pickerel and let's be honest

they'll eat anything and they'll eat it

often I have quite literally been

fishing this little pond in the woods

since I was like 11 years old my opinion

they are a light tackle gem and I have

used the pages of fielding stream over

the years to spread the good word of

chain pickerel as much as I possibly

could I will write about pickerel any

chance that I get now ironically if you

look back in the history of Field &

Stream

we used to publish pickerel stories all

the time and I'm talking about big long

features about pickerel which leaves me

asking when did America fall out of love

with the chain now I do understand right

that for a lot of guys pickle are

nothing but a line cutting pain in the

ass that get in the way of your bass

fishing matter of fact if you caught our

Cape Cod largemouth saga just a few

episodes ago you might recall that the

two biggest fish we caught the entire

trip both of which we were hoping with a

big best we were looking for turned out

to be slob pickerel got excited though

and the ironic thing is that everywhere

that I pickle fish I end up bumping into

all this other stuff that guys wants so

bad I'm just like Oh big crappie don't

even want that right now Billy likes to

eat shiners you know that hunt starts

from me in the really early part of the

spring you know and there's still like

some leftover snow on the ground and the

grounds all soupy and nasty and squishy

and that early season success often

revolves around fish and kind of slow

and soaking live shiners under bobbers

now I don't care what you fish for or

how you fish for it if you no longer get

jacked up by the sight of a bobber

getting sucked under okay something is

wrong with you I have already lost two

here today that could have freaking ate

that way but naturally right wherever

you go pit row fish and get ten

catch a lot of really small fish but

when that flesh on that jerkbaits a

little bigger that bobber goes down a

little bit harder and you know right

that's the one that you were after

that's the one we were looking for

because while 50 inches might be the

mark to muskie guys 20 inches is all you

need to call it a trophy in the pickle

game and it tends to be in those nasty

early first couple warm days of the

spring when you can really catch a

pre-spawn huge Pig come on solo session

pea right there that is an egg filled

March fatty that is the caliber I've

been waiting on that was the what I was

after

oh that felt good you know and then the

spring starts to get warmer and warmer

right and things start to change all of

a sudden those chains start getting a

little more fired up and a little more

fired up and they start going on jerk

beats stick baits and they start chasing

down flies and if you ask me right no BS

when you're working a stick bait and you

have a big pickle running right to your

feet and just stop right there just hang

there for a couple seconds and you keep

it that one one little twitch and it

goes it gets me as jacked up as seeing a

muskie going on a buck tail and a figure

eight t-bone you know pickerel might

lack the size of Pike and Muskies right

but the aggression is the same and the

way they stalk a bait is the same the

way they'll get behind it and track it

is it the same roadside fluke eater and

unlike muskie fishing I can catch 20

pickerel in one day you again

but ironically when that early pickerel

season rolls around even I have a pretty

damn hard time finding somebody who

wants to go pickerel fishing which is

why you'll notice that most of the

footage you're seeing that's also low JC

okay that's tripods and head cams and

solo missions now while I might not have

any hometown homeboys to go pickerel

fishing with very often ok for there is

one long time hook shots fan in

particular who is the quintessential

pickerel junkie and that is Edith jr.

better known as the bearded wonder the

beard live and in person

I mean how serious is Ed about pickerel

he's got a 24 inch custom cut pickerel

bolted to the front of his truck

both pickle fish and anything mean got

teeth no one else likes them so no one

goes for him so then there's no

competition gold form it's the closest

thing I got around here to hike or a

muskie now ed lives in South Jersey ok

and when I say South Jersey I mean like

south South Jersey down here it's far

fields it's country you got got a far

field over here corn on that side Nick

and tons of lakes now truth be told ed

and I have been trying to get together

all spring and every time we would set

something up around his work schedule we

get weathered out or we'd have a cold

front and by the time we got together it

was July and I knew go into this that Ed

was pulling out all the stops he said

look I got this Lake okay it's a little

funky every Lake around here has either

a bulkhead or a small dam or something

that blocks it this is the spot Gator

land right here so ed just pulled over

on the side of the road or now we gotta

sneak this John boat through a through a

gap in a fence but as pretty as edie

spot looked I couldn't help but think

you know what it's it's 80 degrees that

water okay it's hot

this is not

March or April anymore so the question

was where are we gonna get the Gators

that Ed is known for in the spring to

chew in the middle of July what's up

everybody since it's the middle of

summer and JC ain't doing a whole lot of

fly-fishing in this episode here's an ek

buggy whip tip for all you dog day fly

guys you know when the water gets really

hot species like pickerel and smallmouth

can get really lazy so lazy that they

might not want to chase traditional

flies like clauser x' and soccers that's

because weighted flies are still moving

quickly when you stop and they fall

that's why this time of year I always

carry a bunch of unweighted flat profile

bait fish flies this style of fly may be

a lot more common in saltwater but can

be a secret weapon this time of year in

the fresh I like to make a few subtle

strips and then completely stop when you

stop one of these patterns they hover

but they also do is flip on their side

and flutter like a dying baitfish this

creates an easy meal for a fish that

really doesn't feel like Jason and quite

often that bite comes on a dead slack

line but don't take my word for it let's

hear it from today's happy charter

client he's captain Eddie catch many big

fish on fly fishing you call yeah

now what ed had explained was that even

though all this Bank structure on this

little lake looked so juicy

he said I don't catch my big fish there

these big picture are in these they're

these deep open-water fish where this

bottom is covered in coontail and

they're just one spot where it's shelves

off and then this this grave and they're

right down in that deep stuff sometimes

Bessie and this time of year where it's

so hot out and despite the heat and the

time of year it did not take him five

minutes to hook good one nice fish dude

nice fish

they're underage fish especially when it

comes to fighting on light tackle you

get a you get an ultra light setup out

there you gotta fight on your hand do

you think the largemouth jump these guys

are like green carpet ed yeah one of the

things that makes this Lake grow them

big is that their primary food source is

yellow perch so I show up with my normal

offerings right my normal stick baits

the normal things that I throw for

pickerel closer to home all the time

edy on the other hand has got a small

yellow perch pattern swim bait on BAM

right there all around the stop kills it

slap it up on the old board 23 inches

with the tail folded a real nice one and

I'm not stupid

okay I did not exactly come armed with a

lot of perch colored stuff but I found a

stick bait that was perch colored and

they tore it up

and they're raring to go man and it

would heat right at the boat and for a

good portion of that morning it was fire

I mean it was downright fire and had a

sitting right in the middle of this lake

in the deep and we were throwing up onto

this we D flat and bringing those lures

back across it into the deep water and

that's the presentation that these pick

will wanted so considering that these

fish can get funky in the summer they

tend to be easier to catch in spring

this is some pretty incredible myths of

perfect roll fishing on Ed's Lake and

you got it dialed in brother and then

see those people did a very nice ox like

thing they win note on us is that they

went later on the guy even Clara got a

clown a wind picked up you get that last

few feet in and they went in and then

they see and they're gone it gets turned

them right off look at adds magical

beard flapping in the wind but you know

what I can't complain I was so worried

about not getting high caliber fish in

the middle of the summer but ed is

dialed it is a pickerel whisperer man

so pickerel freaks that one's for you

okay that was five months of on-and-off

pickerel filming and while I encourage

everybody to show their local pickerel

more love I personally may take a year

off from pickerel fishing after this one

I have never picked real fish so hard in

my entire life

figure and