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Posted By Rod Teehan, November 12, 2018
If you enjoy catching big chain pickerel, you have a good chance of doing so right now and for the rest of the open-water season. Heavy chains—those weighing 3 to 6 pounds and more—spend warm months in deep, cold water. But in late autumn as shallow-water temperatures drop into the fifties and forties, some of these ponderous pickerel slip into skinny water where they relate to all kinds of bassy-looking cover including weeds, lily pads, downed trees, sunken stumps and logs. Presumably the chains come shallow to feed on late-in-the-season bait fish. But whatever the reason, they’re usually quite aggressive and readily attack a wide variety of lures. I’ve done best with spinnerbaits and minnow-imitating plugs such as an Original Floating Rapala, but that’s because those are the lures I’ve used most for shallow-water chains. Pickerel are not fussy. They’ll strike just about anything that moves. (A live shiner may be the top pickerel tempter of all times, but I’ve not done much live-baiting and prefer to leave that subject to someone with more expertise.) You do not have to be on the water early. Usually the fastest action occurs from midmorning through midafternoon. Weather doesn’t seem to matter much. I prefer a seasonably mild day, sunny or overcast, with light winds, but that’s because I dislike cold, windy weather. I don’t think pickerel mind the cold at all. By the way, if you plan to fish Connecticut waters in November, be sure the site selected is still open to fishing after October 31.
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