Friday, April 22, 2011

Fish #9: Chain Pickerel

Fish #9: Chain Pickerel, Esox niger
The Quest went to the Taylor River on the Hampton/ Hampton Falls line. This pond gets very weedy and warm in the summer due to too many nutrients getting into the water.  This is perfect conditions for the Chain Pickerel (Esox niger).  The pickerel loves to hide in weeds and ambush unsuspecting bait fish.
Our pickerel was caught using a 3.5 inch shiner imitation made by Rapala (a classic). We trolled the lure about 20 yards behind a kayak right at sunset on the Taylor River in about 5 feet of water.

Taylor River at dusk.
We actually caught a larger pickerel first, but it only was impaled on the last hook and it flipped off as we fumbled with cameras. The male one that we caught was not getting free.

Male pickerel,  13.5  inches long
No chance of this one getting away.
Once he was on board we paddled him to shore and put a knife in is brain to kill him quick. Being a carnivore is brutal business.  We forget that when ordering from a menu.

Now that he calmed down, we took a few pictures.

Once we got him back to the house, we took a closer look and found a leech on his chin. 

We are getting use to finding parasites on our fish. This is a small leech that was on the pickerel's chin.

Pickerel are really pretty fish and are the perfect predator that is built like a rocket. All of their power comes from the tail that propels the dart-like body forward.

Their mouth looks like a bill, but it is full of sharp teeth.
We decided to pickle this pickerel for the quest. Stay tuned for the recipe.

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