Icy morning on Friday, December 14

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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Coastal NJ
Verrrry nice! That's a good hole, except in the summertime. ;) The dam and the other bridge are equally good. Impressed on a fly in that spot.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,239
1,709
1,093
Pestletown, N.J.
Two questions. What kind of fish is that and do you eat 'em or catch and release?
That's a chain pickerel. Probably the most common fish in the pines. Very tolerant of cold and low pH waters.
Fun as hell to catch. I have baked them and smoked them but they are extremely challenging to ewnjoy because of their incredibly bony structure. I always tell people that even their bones have bones. Most of the bones are hair-like and difficult to avoid. I vow to watch more YouTube vids and then apply the knowledge.
This is from deep south pines and he made a one-way trip through the smoker. :)
IMG_1711 (Small).JPG
 

Toothy Critter

Explorer
Sep 16, 2016
342
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Winfield
Yes...as Redneck said...chain pickerel. I put back all my fish, but have on occasion eaten some . They are absolutely delicious. White flakey meat like fluke. When everyone else is sorting out their tackle boxes for the winter, I will be out chasing these guys all winter as long as there is a place with open water. That one was 22 1/2'' but trust me...they get much bigger. Water Wolf size. Jon, these are the critters under your feet as you slosh thru the bogs to capture your scenery. Redneck...that is one impressive toothy critter. I know that most people on this site are interested in subjects of The Pinelands above water level. But Pickerel are THE absolute Kings of the Pines below the surface of ALL the waters in the region. The only natural resident game fish of the Pines, as old as the landscape itself. And laugh out fun to catch on a fly that you tie at home and then bring into the woods with hopes that one will rise to it. Redneck... there is an easy way to prepare the filets to avoid the bones,
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
11,247
1,959
1,093
Pines; Bamber area
Catching and releasing pickerel was my main pursuit (after girls) in my young adulthood when I lived in Presidential Lakes. I was a top water Mepps spinner guy most of the time. When I was 14, I caught two at the Presidential Lakes dam with bacon fat. One was 22" and one was 23". There is a feeling one gets when you see them knifing through the water to hit your lure that is hard to describe.
 
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Jon Holcombe

Explorer
Dec 1, 2015
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Medford
But I just realized that I seem to have stolen someone else's thread. Sorry Jon, did not mean to do that .
Not at all, this is fascinating. I knew nothing about chain pickerel. Next time I am out with my son slogging through some bog I will casually relate stories about schools of hungry, carnivorous, 4 ft. pickerel with hundreds of backwards angled teeth that can rip through rubber waders.
 
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Rooftree

Explorer
Mar 24, 2017
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Haddon Township
At times, when my exploring takes me to some old bogs, I'll bring along my 5' rod that breaks down into two pieces for easy transport. I've done well in the shallow bogs and deeper reservoirs. I even caught pickerel in bog canal systems. Some spots in the Friendship Bogs are so shallow, you have to start retrieving your lure before it even hits the water, or you will pick up weeds. Being shallow you can see a wake formed by the pickerel coming toward your lure. If fishing in the spring you have to do it early before the bogs get chocked with water lilies. The reservoirs are ok. Years back, I met a fellow in the Pines who said if you cast your lure on top of thin ice, retrieve, and then let it drop in open water you may get a hit. I've haven't tried it.

For the past 5 years, I've been fishing in Ontario, Canada above International Falls with a bunch of guys from Minnesota. We fish for chain pickerel's bigger brother, the Northern Pike. But the prize fish is the Walleye, the best eating fish. For me, catching the Smallmouth Bass is what I enjoy the most. Inch per inch, it's the best fighting fish. Catching 10 to 20 inch smallmouth is not uncommon. I'll b making my 6th trip this coming June.. I did a posting on one of my trips back in July 2017 titled 'Not Your Piney Fishing Hole'.
 

Toothy Critter

Explorer
Sep 16, 2016
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Winfield
Smallies...yes. WaterWolf...yes....But Stripers in the Mullica on a fly rod pretty neat too. Love going to Canada. We've been flown in up over the Sheild and left abandoned for a week. Actually cried when we had to leave