Skip to main content

The Fifty Inch Pike

The Fifty Inch Pike

No, not this one. She's not 50 inches. That's guide David "Shoggie" Shogren. He's 50 inches. Easy. He's holding our pike. "Ours" because I caught it this time and he caught it last week. She came in under my trusty HT Enterprises Polar Tip-Up, crushing a 14-inch sucker. The tip-up is spooled with some 40-pound catfish braid for backing, and 5 feet of 20-pound Stren Tinted Fluorocarbon Leader above a Bigtooth Tackle  quick-strike leader. I like the ones with size #4 trebles. (When I tie my own, I generally use size #6.)

A number of interesting circumstances surround the capture of this healthy, toothy, critter. She was caught (and released) 30 minutes from my house. As the last beams of sunlight on the trees in the background attest, it's evening. We fished from just after first light, catching quite a few pike. I lost count, but 5 were over nine pounds and this 43-inch, 17- to 18-pounder came on our last decoy of the day.

We expected something bigger. Rumors of the mythic 50 incher, the 30-point buck of fishing, lured us to this local lake known for producing giant toothies. Never saw her. The water under Shoggie's house was so clear (we could easily see bottom at 18 feet), Rick Hammer had his Aqua-Vu LCD Modular System set up, hoping to record a live strike.


Still under the heading of interesting circumstances, we've been losing ice. Shoggie moved his house because the ice on his home lake was reduced by almost half in this bizarre warm spell. The weather of the past four days would be more appropriate in May. Minnesotans are not accustomed to watching the fish through the ice as they battle under us in the first week of January. Rather disconcerting. Amplified by the lens effect of the ice, the green thing looked like a dragon twisting in rage, about to go medieval on the bedraggled foot soldiers gathered around the hole. In other words, yeah. We're still walking out there.


Water was lapping against the north shore of Mille Lacs last weekend. A four-wheeler went through the ice on a smaller lake this week, about 40 miles north of here. Weirdest January ever. So, yeah. For pike like this? We'll walk out there. On some of the lakes around here, you have to release all pike under 40 inches. Obviously, we're already seeing benefits. We release all the specimens anyway, but now that the general public has to follow suit, we find ourselves in the midst of a toothy rennaisance. The fish in the picture is still alive and t0ugher than cured tripe. After being caught twice in a week, she's living proof that big fish can be successfully handled, released, and caught many times.

I have a feeling we'll be back out there pretty soon. Grist for a post on some rigging details. Like, why fluorocarbon? Toothies forever. Peace.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

The In-Fisherman crew head to Lake Erie to catch smallmouth bass.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Doug Stange joins Capt. Aron Kastern on Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin where they go after whitefish on ice.

Channel Cats on Ice

Channel Cats on Ice

The In-Fisherman staff reveals some of the hottest action of the winter season, as they show how to ice 20-pound channel catfish.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Lunar followers often check moon phases as well as timing of minors and majors.The Effects of Solunar Forces on Bass Fishing Bass

The Effects of Solunar Forces on Bass Fishing

Steve Quinn - June 22, 2020

Lunar followers often check moon phases as well as timing of minors and majors.

Familiar to veteran In-­Fisherman readers and anglers versed in fish sensory abilities.The Book on Bass Accessories

The Book on Bass

Steve Quinn - October 14, 2020

Familiar to veteran In-­Fisherman readers and anglers versed in fish sensory abilities.

Bass rigs can be simple or complex, but most have evolved to include multiple variations.Bass Rigs You Need to Be Fishing Bass

Bass Rigs You Need to Be Fishing

Matt Straw

Bass rigs can be simple or complex, but most have evolved to include multiple variations.

Their fighting ability is far superior to the largemouth bass—more par with muskies.The Case for Super Bass (AKA Snakeheads) Other Fish

The Case for Super Bass (AKA Snakeheads)

Steve Ryan - July 06, 2020

Their fighting ability is far superior to the largemouth bass—more par with muskies.

See More Trending Articles

More Pike & Muskie

Stick it out on good spots for big muskiesMuskies: Stick and Stay and Make it Pay Pike & Muskie

Muskies: Stick and Stay and Make it Pay

Matt Ahrenholtz - November 12, 2020

Stick it out on good spots for big muskies

Dramatic changes have reshaped Lake of the Woods.Lake of the Woods Muskie Trends, Tactics & Threats Pike & Muskie

Lake of the Woods Muskie Trends, Tactics & Threats

Cory Schmidt - September 26, 2019

Dramatic changes have reshaped Lake of the Woods.

How pike live and feed during the winter months remains largely unknown, but here are some helpful facts to locate and catch hungry pike.Understanding Winter Pike Pike & Muskie

Understanding Winter Pike

Gord Pyzer - January 20, 2021

How pike live and feed during the winter months remains largely unknown, but here are some...

One angler's forgotten, overlooked, underutilized musky lure is another fisherman's all-time favorite.Forgotten (Or Temporarily Overlooked) Muskie Lures Pike & Muskie

Forgotten (Or Temporarily Overlooked) Muskie Lures

Cory Schmidt - August 25, 2020

One angler's forgotten, overlooked, underutilized musky lure is another fisherman's all-time...

See More Pike & Muskie

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

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