Here is Morgan's report from our pickerel trip last week.
Tight Lined Tales of a Fly Fisherman: Pickerel in the Severn:
So the Chain Pickerel move into the rivers of the Bay every year at some point in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, becoming most active around the first or second week of December. I had the privilege of fishing with one of my good buddies Matt, author of The Hobie Life, on the back of his Hobie Pro Angler last week.
Not only was the wind strong (too strong to attempt to toss a fly), but the bite was too. After the last three fishing trips ending in a big old skunk, I was pretty discouraged and really wasn't ready to cast a line again. Fortunately, Matt got to talking about the Pickerel and got me pretty stoked.
With the air temp sitting around 45F, the water temp around 48F, and the wind gusts up to 35 mph, I threw on my neoprene waders and met Matt at one of the local boat ramps on Weems Creek where he had his beautiful and fully rigged Pro Angler in the water, ready to go. I had stopped at Angler's and picked up a pint of minnows and I brought along a few fly rods but decided to leave them in the car when the gusts became continuous. I grabbed my 6' Daiwa bass pole (fortunately the wind blew all the dust off it for me), and Matt supplied the 1/8 Jig Heads to hook the minnows on.
I hopped on the back of the 14' 'yak and we were off, minnows in the water right away. At the first shoreline, I rigged up and tossed my line and within the first 5 casts had hooked up on a fish. Unfortunately, the first 3 hookups turned into lost fish. I've caught many-a-pickerel in my day but never understood why they are so easily lost. The way Matt explained it to me, is that, due to their softer jaws, they need to be able to run a bit so the hook set is solid enough to allow you to bring the fish to hand. After working the shoreline for a bit and me losing about half a dozen of Matts jig heads on snags, we finally started to bring in fish. I was able to catch some footage on the GoPro before it broke (its being sent back this week for an exchange) and for those of you who follow us on Instagram andFacebook, you were able to see the photos I snapped of a few fish.
The largest of the day was about 21" and the smallest measured out at around 17.5". The Maryland citation size is 24" and one of the fish Matt lost by the boat was definitely going to be close to that two foot mark. With over a dozen fish brought in between the two of us, it made for an awesome outing and a great break of the huge skunk run I had going for me.
If you don't already follow Matt over at The Hobie Life, you should be, even if your not a 'yak kinda person, the man catches fish, there's no doubt about that.
Show them some love and you can also follow me on instagram @thehobielife