Big summer pickerel
Last winter the pickerel were very abundant in the Severn creeks and coves. That was a lot of fun for many local anglers -- several guys in my kayak fishing group were able to catch their first pickerel ever in the Severn.
My experience of fishing the Severn frequently for the last decade is that pickerel are not so hard to find in the winter, but rarely get caught in the warmer weather. My pickerel mentor, Virgil Poe, once told me he thought that in the warm months there is so much natural food that a good predator like a pickerel is less likely to get fooled by a lure. Virgil's wisdom has been on target -- at least until this summer.
I have caught at least one pickerel on every second or third Severn perchin' trip since late spring. Most have been the abundant young pickerel we caught by the dozen last winter (12" to 15" long). I caught most of my winter pickerel on live minnows, but all the summer pickerel have fallen for artificials. I did find two 18" specimens earlier this summer.
This afternoon I had a fun paddle around Weems Creek looking for perch and relaxing a bit before a 4-day business trip starting tomorrow. I caught 25-30 perch on various spinner lures. The hot lure today for perch was one of Woody's feather jig spinners in the 1/8-oz size. Toward the end of the trip, I was thinking of working one last stretch of shoreline before heading home. I switched over to an ultralight rod with a 1/16-oz green spinnerbait made by TF member Bignose -- he gave me a few of his creations last winter to try (they work just fine, thank you). I cast out and thought I was snagged on a submerged branch. Then the fish began to move -- initially it felt like just another 9" perch. Then it must have felt the hook because it took off back and forth, giving the slender rod a real workout. I eventually got the pickerel to the side of the kayak. I tried to get a gripper into its mouth, but ended up just grabbing the lure and lifting the toothy creature onto my lap (with suitable care of the nearby sensitive body parts). Once onboard, I laid the big pickerel onto my Hawg Trough to measure him. It is not easy measuring a long fish when you have one hand pinning the fish to the measuring board and the other holding the camera. My arms were almost not long enough to get the whole body in the photo. The fish measured out at 22-1/4". This is by far my largest ever summertime pickerel by more than 3 inches.
I talked to some anglers a few weeks ago who had caught a very large pickerel in Weems. I know where they caught theirs -- mine was caught nearby. I suspect it was the same fish.
Scout 162 Sportfish, Native Watercraft Manta 14
Nice post. I've been catching the small pickerel myself on the South River. In fact they are are two swimming around with my rattle traps in their jaws. I've never caught pickerel here in the summer time. I think the earliest I've caught them was in Sept. Fortunately they have had a good spawn in both rivers a few years ago. I do not think they would grow to foot or more in one year. Since I only fish ultra light in the river, 4lb test, I stopped using expensive lures for perch. I don't like a leader on ultra lite set ups.
Nice post and Congrats on that large pickerel.
Phil Krausz Aboard the "Krazy Phisch"
Back River, Essex, Maryland
Fishing from Pooles Island to the Bay Bridge and sometimes beyond.
What do you suppose attributed to this phenomena?
Love those Toothy Critters!!
that is a beaut!
I can catch nice ones when the yellow perch spawn, but very rarely in the summer & when I do they are a different (sub)species; the grass or the redfin pickerel and they are usually much smaller than the chain pickerel. I'd guess he was hungry :)
As a boy, and into my adolescence (late 1940s to 1960) my Father and I fished the South river a couple times a month during the summer and fall.
Pickeral were a common catch even during the hottest days , and small pickeral were especially frequent, but larger specimens kept us casting.
We would rent a row boat from "Pop" Evens on Warehouse cr and fish for anything thats biting. Our "go to" lure of the time was the Tony #13 spoon.
The second largest Pickeral I have ever caught was taken on a "Tony" out of Warehouse and measured 34". That was in 1968 early Fall if I remember correctly.
During the late 70s I was temporarily between positions, (conviently during the fishing season) during which time I fished the South about 3 times a week.
Small and medium pickeral were very common, you could usually count on catching 8 or more in about 4 hours of casting.
Yesterday (Sun) a friend and I (SteveL) fished the South and landed no pickeral, Steve lost one, but the W.perch were as abundant as ever.
I will note here that the W. Perch fishing outside of the South was unusually good yesterday with "very" large perch such a common catch that we were throwing back 10 inchers ( which caused me no end of WTF am I doing) as that size Perch are usually the mainstay of my fish dinners.
The Perch in the South were Abundant but avg size was about 7-8".--- 1/8 oz beetle spins with white, or chartreuse grubs was the ticket, and any grassy flat or downed tree near deeper water would provide action.
Which was exactly the conditions that used to bring us good pickeral fishing, ( Maybe thats the only places I cast to).
Piscophile You've been at it looooong time.I'm a newbie compered to you.I only started fishing for pickerel in the Severn in 72(40 yrs.ago).our largest was 31in.with 50 fish days and that's not counting the bushel of yellow perch from 10-14in. that year.By the late 70s,it started to fizzle out and a 7 pickerel day was considered good on the Severn.It's been a slow comeback for those rivers.I know a charter captain on Seneca Creeek, Charlie Thomas,.who told me they caught a 36incher in the 40s. and 30 incheres were commmon back then.
Pretty fish John. Good work! Thx for posting!