The Pickerel Rig: You’re better than that, aren’t you?

It’s time to ditch the pickerel rig, my friends. Unless of course you love snags, pollution and harming fish, then by all means, carry on.

The pickerel rig is most Manitobans’ intro to fishing. I get it. They work. You get the benefit of two depths/presentations and you don’t have to do anything but cast and wait. Most avid anglers move on from this basic tactic after some time, but many stay dedicated to a method that honestly, kind of sucks.

Costly polluter

First of all, how many damn rigs have you lost in your lifetime? The bottom weight gets snagged super easily—especially if you’re shore fishing on the river—and more often than not, you leave a bunch in the water as a result. Now, thanks to you, there’s a rig with two baited hooks sitting down there, and odds are a fish will bite them eventually, and there they’ll likely stay, trapped in your bird nest of line and hooks.

Let’s do some math: let’s say you fish at Lockport ten times per season, and each time you lose one pickerel rig—a conservative estimation—to a snag. Now consider the thousands of anglers that people visit this spot every year. Since I’m a writer, and numbers aren’t my strong suit, I’ll assume my point is made.

I’m not alone in my disdain for p-rigs. Jordan Manton of Crunch Time Tackle has also seen their negative impact first-hand.

It's time to ban the pickerel rig! Find out why, and what to use instead.
Jordan Manton might be the only person in the world who hates pickerel rigs more than I do.

“The only evidence you need is one of the many nests of pickerel rigs caught by local anglers at Lockport every year,” says Manton. “They have their time and place, but they are most often favoured un-educated recreational fishermen.”

Better Methods

A catfish rig, or some slip-sinker/circle hook combination, works better and leaves you less prone to snags. This method has an added bonus in that the hook sets itself.  If you’re using pickerel rigs for catfish, you’re kind of screwing yourself over honestly.  Just because it’s called a catfish rig, doesn’t mean I haven’t caught walleye, trout, pike and drum on some version of this method.

Step it up!

Don’t you want to introduce some finesse into your fishing game? There are so many tactics that offer a little more fun that periodically checking if you if you still have bait on your death rig. Try flickin’ some spoons or casting some crankbaits. If you’re a carp fan, check out my post on carp tactics. There are so many better, more fun ways to fish.

If you use death rigs simply because you like to “fill the bucket” while putting in minimal effort, we likely don’t fish for the same reasons.

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