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

Huk Waypoint Collection

Huk Waypoint Collection

Huk's new Waypoint Collection fishing apparel is conservation-minded by using recycled water bottles.

Rapala OG Slim 6

Rapala OG Slim 6

The 2019 Bassmaster Classic champ Ott Defoe sits down with In-Fisherman Associate Publisher Todd Ceisner, to talk about Rapala's new OG Slim 6 crankbait. The OG Slim 6 will feature a flat-sided, balsa body, and will dive around 6 feet. Featuring a circuit board lip, the OG Slim 6 deflects off of cover better than traditional plastic lips. Offered in 14 colors and available in tackle stores Fall 2020. MSRP $10.99.

Swimmer Magic for Largemouths

Swimmer Magic for Largemouths

The In-Fisherman staff shows how to get going when the going gets tough, as they apply a touch of magic for largemouth bass.

Sight Fishing Carp

Sight Fishing Carp

The In-Fisherman staff slips into stealth mode sight tactics for barrel-shaped carp.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as girth measurements. Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

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...

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

High-quality components that offer high-end performance seemed to be the theme for freshwater spinning rods this year. ICAST

ICAST 2020: New Freshwater Spinning Rods

In-Fisherman Staff - July 16, 2020

High-quality components that offer high-end performance seemed to be the theme for freshwater...

See More Trending Articles

More Pike & Muskie

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.

As muskie guide Captain Jon Bondy will tell you, muskies aren't ”most other fish.” Pike & Muskie

Catching Muskies on Bondy Baits

Gord Pyzer

As muskie guide Captain Jon Bondy will tell you, muskies aren't ”most other fish.”

When the target is pike, well-rounded anglers always include spoons in their arsenal. Pike & Muskie

Spoons: A Lifetime of Lessons for Giant Pike Fishing

Jack Penny

When the target is pike, well-rounded anglers always include spoons in their arsenal.

Fish hooked on single-hook lures are easier to handle. Pike & Muskie

Magic with Weighted Swimbait Hooks

Doug Stange - June 11, 2020

Fish hooked on single-hook lures are easier to handle.

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.

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