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.

Recommended for You

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance. Pike & Muskie

Best Drive-To Pike Waters

Gord Pyzer

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance.

Made from 100% recycled fishing nets, the Costa Baffin's are a must-have for any serious angler. Accessories

Costa Baffin Sunglasses Review

Chris Schneider - April 26, 2019

Made from 100% recycled fishing nets, the Costa Baffin's are a must-have for any serious...

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites. Walleye

Spring is Prime Time for River Walleyes

Dan Johnson - February 22, 2018

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

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.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

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...

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

See More Stories

More Pike & Muskie



Big water equals big fish. There's truth to this statement when it comes to fish at the top end Pike & Muskie

3 Prime Locations for Big Muskies

Steve Ryan - May 24, 2018

Big water equals big fish. There's truth to this statement when it comes to fish at the top...

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance. Pike & Muskie

Best Drive-To Pike Waters

Gord Pyzer

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance.


Northern pike are an early-summer gift to anglers. Part of that generosity has to do with their Pike & Muskie

Early-Summer Lures for Pike on Shallow Flats

Steve Ryan - April 27, 2018

Northern pike are an early-summer gift to anglers. Part of that generosity has to do with...

See More Pike & Muskie

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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