Pike Be Kraken

Our second day at Trout Rock dawned as promised — cloudy, cooler, and feeling like rain. But the pike didn't respond as expected. Normally, a cold front would mean downsizing and slowing down. We didn't repeat yesterday's count of 20 trophies over 40 inches, but we halved it and caught 10 trophies doing almost exactly what we did yesterday, slow-rolling small, size #5 bucktails and straight-shafted spinners with no hair.

One lady at camp (Liz Weiss of Oklahoma) managed to boat a 48.5-inch brute. Another frequent  visitor brought in a 47 incher that was weighed, and the small scale pulled down to 25 pounds. My largest today was 44 inches (shown above with guide Brian Spitzig).

My travel companion, Ted Cawkwell, brought in the beauty pictured below. It was just over 43 inches with a 20-inch girth, meaning it probably weighed close to 24 pounds. She had some serious girth, looking like she just wolfed down a small barnyard animal.

We caught quite a few with fly rods today. The water remained a bit turbid from recent wind events, and with today's cloud cover it was no surprise the pike were opting for fluorescent patterns. Firetiger rules again.

In fact, it was still a bit windy. Ted was trying to pull out a tangle in his line when this one engulfed his chartreuse fly next to the boat. "Hey!" Brian exclaimed. "Whoa — there she is — right there! She's on it. What are you — hey — fly's gone — uh, Ted? Judas — Set the hook!"

To Ted's eternal credit, he somehow managed to get unraveled, tighten up, and set the hook. Not exactly tarpon fishing (as he would be first to tell you), but plenty exciting in its own way. She flew completely out of the water once, then leapt over the cradle at boatside. Funny how fast people flinch out of the way when a face full of teeth comes flying in their direction.

Not exactly the stature of a mythical, ship-wrecking kraken, but we're allowed elbow room for poetic license. In fresh water, pike are certainly a fitting substitute for mythological monsters.

Tomorrow will be our final day here and we're none too anxious to leave. About a dozen or so pike over 50 inches were boated here last season, so we're busy in our cabin, tinkering with terminal tackle, trying to sleep, sitting up suddenly in the middle of the night, eyes wide, whispering, "kraken." Massaging our forearms. Stretching our backs. Getting ready for another day in "Island World" — perhaps the most incredible expanse of shallow pike habitat in North America.

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