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

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.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

In-Fisherman Calendar Periods

In-Fisherman Calendar Periods

In-Fisherman staffers target all fish and key on the revolving season calendar periods to maximize the the likelihood of catching more and bigger fish.

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean's Jeff Miller shares a room-full of new gear for 2020 with Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Trending Articles

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

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

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

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and other Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

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...

See More Trending Articles

More Pike & Muskie

Dramatic changes have reshaped Lake of the Woods. Pike & Muskie

Lake of the Woods Muskie Trends, Tactics & Threats

Cory Schmidt - September 26, 2019

Dramatic changes have reshaped Lake of the Woods.

When it comes to a natural presentation for pike, nothing rivals livebait rigging. Even under Pike & Muskie

Catching Late Summer Pike on Livebait

Steve Ryan - August 01, 2018

When it comes to a natural presentation for pike, nothing rivals livebait rigging. Even under

Winter is upon us, and muskie anglers should welcome it for what is has to offer. Pike & Muskie

Winter Muskie Fishing

Steve Ryan - January 29, 2020

Winter is upon us, and muskie anglers should welcome it for what is has to offer.

There's something special about ice fishing for giant pike. Pike & Muskie

Finding Pike Consistently All Season Long

Gord Pyzer - January 23, 2019

There's something special about ice fishing for giant pike.

See More Pike & Muskie

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.