Last cast of the trip, the storybook ending

Last cast of the trip, the storybook ending

danny pike

danny mcintire

ann arbor mi



Species: Northern Pike

Date Caught: 08/26/2012

Kept / Released: Released

Region of Catch: Region 1


Length: 40

Weight: 17 (est.)

Lure / Bait used: Lure | 3/8 oz, black/white skirt nickel blade spinnerbait


Craig Lake State Park is one of Michigans most remote. The land was acquirred by the state in the 60's and remains mostly unsettled. The lakes in the rec area all have special fishing regs including artificial lures only, catch and release on most species, and no motors of anykind allowed on the water. The access to craig lake is somewhat of an adventure itself, about a quarter mile trail through the woods. It doesnt sound bad, but when we add the canoe plus all the gear for our 4 night camping trip, it was not as easy as we thought. We had planned the trip for months, and the main reason for the trip was the trophy pike and musky fishing. The three of us that went had never caught a musky and the biggest pike collectively was 36 inches. By the last day of the trip, we fished for nearly 30 hours, netted 124 fish, mostly northern pike, between 22 and 28 inches, a couple coming close to 30. The "fish of 10000 casts" and the trophy pike had eluded us, but we had an awesome trip all in. On friday morning we broke camp down, loaded the canoe and started the 2 mile trip from our campsite down the lake and to the portage through the woods back to our truck. We each decided to keep one combo out each and fish a couple of the holes that had consistenly produced for us the previous days. The other 2 quickly landed fish, and we made our way further down the lake. Not more than 200 yards from our portage was one of our hotspots for the week, a small creek entering a cove, where reeds and lily pads dotted the shollows, and a large submerged weedbed in about 6 feet of water. Not more than 2 or 3 casts onto the weedbed edge and a wake pushed by something very large followed my spinnerbait without a stike. My next cast was maybe 10 feet from the previous, and almost immediately had a strike. As fast as the strike was, even quicker was it gone...completely. My 20 lb power pro had been cut clean. Not giving in to defeat and having a renewed enthusiasm, i quickly retied. i was unsure of the color, the green pumpkins/bronze blades had been producing, and all i had left was a black and white with a nickel blade. Once i was re-rigged i cast my lure into the water, about 60 feet off the weedbed in a little deeper water. i had mybe 2 or 3 revolutions on my stradic when i got hit again...I set the hook, and immediately knew this fish had some weight. I didnt know exactly how big the fish was until a few minutes later, when its head broke the surface maybe 20 feet from the canoe. I let the others know "this is the biggest pike ive had on" and "i donno how, but were gonna dig that net out of the bottom of the canoe because theres no way i can land the fish alone". By the time fish was boatside they managed to get the net out and scoop the fish out of the water. I knew this was a personal best for me, but to get an accurate measurent we had to paddle to shore and properly measure the fish. Luckily we were no more 90 feet from shore, minimizing the stress on the fish. When we reached shore i held the fish underwater while the measuring tape was located. The fish barely broke the 40 inch mark, and was nearly 17 inches around at its fattest. We took the fish out of the water once again for a couple photos and then back into the water. the fish took no more 10 or 15 seconds to fully revive and swim through my hold and towards deep water. With the adrenaline still flowing we decided out trip could not have ended on a higher note, and that on that last cast cast of the trip, we had our trophy northern pike. We got back into the canoe, paddled for 5 more minutes, and it was time to say "see ya next year craig lake!". Once back to truck, it was a 10 hour drive back home, every second of it worth it, to experience not only the beauty and strength of the fish, but the 4 nights and 5 days away from the modern world.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Deep and Thin Boxes

Lure Lock Deep and Thin Boxes

In this video, TakLogic president John Skrabo chats with Game & Fish's Dr. Todd A. Kuhn about what's new in the Lure Lock line. And see how the TakLogic gel will even keep a cell phone in place.

Yo-Zuri

Yo-Zuri's 3DB Pencil Popper, 3DB Jerkbait 110 & 110 Deep

Bass pro Clent Davis gives the inside info on Yo-Zuri's new-for-ICAST lures.

Giant Walleyes According To Calendar Periods

Giant Walleyes According To Calendar Periods

The search for big walleyes begins with an understanding of their nature, keying on prime locations during specific times of the year.

Engel

Engel's High Viz Drybox Coolers

Versatile boxes available in four sizes; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

One key element of the program is matching the hatch. Bass

'Minnesota Finesse' for Bass Success

Matt Straw - August 11, 2020

One key element of the program is matching the hatch.

It is buoyant and enhanced with garlic and salt. Midwest Finesse

Venture Lure's Finesse Worm

Ned Kehde - August 25, 2020

It is buoyant and enhanced with garlic and salt.

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural baits and commercial options. Carp

10 Best Carp Baits Available Today

Dan Johnson

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

See More Trending Articles

More Master Angler



Jared Gibbs
chillicothe Il

This summer I have been throwing what most Bass fisherman in the Master Angler

BIG BASS DREAMING

August 14, 2013

Jared Gibbs chillicothe Il This summer I have been throwing what most Bass fisherman in the



Jason Beach
Scarborough Ontario

I was fishing on Baptiste Lake using a wacky worm when i hooked Master Angler

7 Pound Giant!

September 11, 2013

Jason Beach Scarborough Ontario I was fishing on Baptiste Lake using a wacky worm when i...



Dusty Schelbitzki
Hallam Nebraska

Buddy and i went out for a bit of fishing one evening and had Master Angler

Great Day Bassin'

September 05, 2013

Dusty Schelbitzki Hallam Nebraska Buddy and i went out for a bit of fishing one evening and...



Timothy Steinmetz
Escanaba Michigan

This nice 21 inch smallmouth was the biggest fish of one of Master Angler

Best Day Ever

August 20, 2013

Timothy Steinmetz Escanaba Michigan This nice 21 inch smallmouth was the biggest fish of...

See More Master Angler

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now