December 2018: Magothy River Pickerel Fishing Report

Updated on December 31, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a park ranger's daughter and farmer's daughter with a love for all things agriculture and outdoors.

The Conditions

It was about 40 some degrees and on a falling tide when we headed upriver on the Jenny Bird this afternoon. We were bundled up for a cold boat ride across the river to hopefully a few prime Pickerel spots.

I have to say, I wasn't overly optimistic that we would catch anything. It has been a rather slow pickerel season for us. We have always landed at least one, but this year I had not been the lucky one yet.

24.5 inch chain pickerel.
24.5 inch chain pickerel. | Source

The Technique

Fishing with a simple jig and minnows was the technique this time. It is one of several we use for pickerel. Last week the only pickerel we landed was on a plastic lure. Today we all went with the basic jig and minnow, cast out, reel in, cast out reel in...The typical pickerel fishing protocol that most use.

We looked for fishy spots on the shoreline and used the trolling motor to get as close as we good to the structure. Pilings, fallen trees, etc. Pickerel are territorial fish, so if we fished a spot of the river for 20 minutes or so with no bites we would move along the shoreline a bit. Assuming that with three people fishing, if there were hungry fish in the water someone would at least get a hit.

Official measurement time!
Official measurement time! | Source

Can We Call It Fishing When I Hook The Fish While Texting?

I had actually just set my rod down between my feet for a second. Why do you ask? To check my text messages of course! I was responding to a friends message when my rod got a hard hit. My rod tip bent, the fish first pulled straight down. We were in shallow water 4 or 5 feet, so he didn't have far to go.

I was in shock! The first time this season I hook a fish and it happens when I'm not even really fishing. Honestly, it is a wonder that my rod stayed in the boat considering I was holding my phone instead of it!

As I threw my phone back in my bag I was so excited and hollering for my Dad to get the net. So excited that he had to remind me to calm down and keep reeling.

Pickerel selfie!
Pickerel selfie! | Source

24 1/2 Inch Pickerel Landed On The Jenny Bird!

It was a short fight. Even though he was a wild one and it took what seemed like an eternity to get him in the net and on the boat. I'm sure it wasn't really long at all!

I was beyond thrilled and Dad and Tycen were just glad I finally got one! We had been out many times and I hadn't had a single bite. That's why they call it fishing not catching right? Well, it finally was my day to catch!

When we put him on the measure he was 24 1/2 inches. The minimum size for a citation catch and release pickerel is 24 inches. I was on my phone on the boat ride back, logging in to register my catch. I had sent in the form and pictures before the Jenny Bird even made it back on the boat lift.

Almost forgot to mention that Dad got one too, a 17 1/2 inch.
Almost forgot to mention that Dad got one too, a 17 1/2 inch. | Source

Now Dad and Tycen say we can winterize the boat! Of course, I protested! Catching my first citation fish just makes me want to bundle up and fish more.

They are glad that I finally got one, so I will stop whining about it! I'm thrilled that I caught my first citation fish!

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