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Chain Pikerel


OTHER NAMES: Pike, river pike, grass pike, jack, jackfish, eastern pickerel, chain sides, mud pickerel.

RANGE: Found throughout Florida.

HABITAT: Normally found in vegetated lakes, swamps and backwaters, and small to large rivers. They prefer water temperatures from 75 to 80 degrees.

DESCRIPTION: Chain pickerels are deep olive-green on the back, shading to a creamy yellow on the belly. Olive green blotches are present within distinct black chain-like or interwoven markings on the sides. There is a distinct dark, vertical bar below the eye. The cheek and gill covers are completely covered by scales.

SIZE: Sexual maturity is reached in first to fourth year, and maximum life span probably eight to nine years. Females grow faster than males. In Florida, chain pickerels can reach lengths of up to 30 inches long.

FLORIDA RECORD : 8 pounds.

FOOD VALUE: The white, flaky meat is good tasting, but quite bony.

GAME QUALITIES: Although not so common as the black bass, chain pickerels are often encountered by bass anglers, especially while plug casting. They are good fighters, especially on light tackle.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Productive lures include spinner baits, weedless spoons, surface plugs, crank baits and jigs. Minnows are a reliable year-round bait.

FISHING TECHNIQUES:  Still Fishing; Casting; Trolling.


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