Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) - Wiki
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[Photo] Chain pickerel (Esox niger). Photo by Author Ken Hammond
The chain pickerel, Esox niger (syn. Esox reticulatus), is a species of freshwater fish in the pike family (family Esocidae) of order Esociformes. It is also known as the federation pike or federation pickerel. Its range is along the eastern coast of North America from southern Canada to Florida, and west to Texas.
The chain pickerel has a distinctive chainlike pattern on its sides and its body resembles that of the northern pike. It typically reaches 24 inches in length with a weight of 3-5 pounds. The U.S. record is over nine pounds.
The chain pickerel feeds primarily on smaller fish which it ambushes from cover with rapid lunges and secures with its sharp teeth.
It is a popular sport fish. It is an energetic fighter on the line. Anglers after pickerel have success with live minnows, spinnerbaits, spoon lures, and other lures. Practically every bass lure can be effective for pickerel, although they seem to be particularly susceptible to flashy lures, which imitate small prey fish. Dragging a plastic worm, lizard, frog, and other soft plastics can also be extremely effective.
In ponds and smaller lakes however, some anglers see pickerel as a threat to trout populations and trout restocking efforts. It is sometimes considered an easy-to-bag "trash fish", and not particularly tasty. A commonly used nickname in the southeast for this fish is the Southern Pike.
This fish is edible ,but there is a special way to clean them to get the meat with no bone. You must first clean them as any other fish,then carefully cut the backbone out.Then you fillet them in three to four inch segments .You then carefully cut small ,preferably 1cm, incisions on the meat part of of the fish up the flesh and sideways. Then deepfry the fillets until brown. No bone will be in it.
If fishing for these fish with lures and intend to release the pickerel, mash down the barbs on the hooks with pliers so if the fish does swallow the hook, it will be much easier to remove the hook and get the fish back in the water as soon as possible.
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