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Couple Nice Pickerel

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This past Saturday afternoon, I took advantage of two things. Nice enough weather to take the jon boat on the creeks and a willing wife; willing to let me have most of the day to myself to fish. Can’t beat that…and the kicker was that the time spent on the water paid off with a couple nice pickerel. Eventually.

Launching at about 10:45 a.m. into Valentine Creek in the upper reaches of the Severn River allowed me enough time to work my intended plan. The target species was pickerel. And it being the third-to-last day in the annual Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland’s Pickerel Championship (a three-month, catch and release, winter tourney), I needed a full day on the water to increase my aggregate length total and move a spot or two up the leader board. There was success.

A decent 22.75″ pickerel took the Rapala Shadow Rap Shad near the cover of a dock.

I worked my patterns, lures, and spots landing a couple decent sized fish. But the day started tedious and slow enough…with nary a bite during the first hour and a half. By the time I skittled into the skinniest water—the back cove of Plum Creek—the sun had warmed these shallows and I saw a few slim fish chasing my Rapala X-RapTwitchin’ Minnow (pilchard color). I then moved toward the docks in 4–5′ and at the ends, casted a Rapala Shadow Rap Shad (live perch color)—my go-to lure all winter for pickerel. I alternated this with a 1/4oz Zman Chatterbait WillowVibe tipped with a 4″ Bass Assassin Sea Shad. I managed a healthy 20″ fish on the WillowVibe (casted under a dock) and a 22.75″ fish on the Rap Shad off the end of another dock, that was adjacent to a point. That was all I needed to call the day a success. Fun to get some tuggage in late-winter. In a couple weeks, the fish will get even friskier, and that goes for other species, including yellow and white perch…and before too long…the striped bass. See y’all on the water again, real soon!

This 20″ pickerel was enticed by the vibration and flash of the Zman willowvibe tipped with a 3.5″ paddletail.