This fish had some interesting irony behind it. Earlier today, I had posted on a fishing site that I participate in and said that "I just checked the Michigan Master Angler records, and was pleased to see that the big pike I caught back in May is still the number one largest pike caught and released in Michigan for 2011! They give a recognition certificate to the top five every year. I'm really hoping that my pike will hang in there. It looks promising for now, but it is just now getting to be the time of year when the big pike typically start to get caught. We shall see what happens in the next few months."One of replies that I received from that statement went like this, "who knows, you might just beat it again with those pike youv just caught im sure you will get on the big one soon enough. and may just beat your own largest pike caught in michigan! hope yours stays there or you catch an even bigger one! cant wait to see what you catch next." Right now, I am sitting here writing this, and wondering just what kind of psychic that guy is . . .
Today, the winds felt like a hurricane, so I decided to stay in some more sheltered areas of my normally big and moody home waters of Little Bay de Noc and The Bay of Green Bay. Knowing that the big pike were up shallow, I launched the boat in the best place that I know of for extracting big Esox from the jungle of weeds down below. I began throwing a large pike spinnerbait, and it didn't take long to connect either! Just a few casts into the fishing trip, and I caught a pike that I would normally call a decent specimen, a 26 incher. However, on this day, I knew that bigger slough sharks were lurking about.
I neared the area that I generally call,"the best spot on the best spot." This area is about 12 feet deep with weed growth reaching all the way up within a couple feet of the surface. I let the spinnerbait fly. The cast went a good distance, as I had casted with the strong west winds. It hit the water, and I immediately began the retrieve. Quickly, but not too quickly, I cranked the spinnerbait back towards the boat just above the tops of the weeds. However, about halfway in, my line went slack . . .
From past experience, I knew that when the line goes slack, a fish must have came up behind and grabbed it. I laid back on it, and set the hook with a vengeance! It was solid as a rock! The fish immediately turned sideways, and as I saw the sunlight reflect off the side of the massive silhouette, I thought to myself, "good gosh, what have I hooked into?"
The beast dug down into the weeds, but thanks to my 50lb braid I was able to fight the fish effectively, even in the dense weed growth. As the fish neared the boat, it made some of the most powerful runs I have ever felt from a fish, the kind where all I could do was hang on for dear life as the 50lb braid was ripped from my reel time and time again.
Eventually, however, the mammoth of an esox refrained from fighting and came boatside. With the rod in one hand, the net in the other, and my heart in my throat, I slipped the net under the fish and lifted with all the strength left in my, at that point, quivering hand. The fish came on board, and I could not believe what I had caught. Upon measurement, the fish was about 43.5 inches, and probably could have been stretched to a solid 44 without too much effort. This was a full inch longer than the pike that I caught earlier this year, and posted about on the website. Also, due to the girth of this fish, the weight is substantially more as well.
For a while now, I have wanted a monster pike to have mounted. Right away, I thought, "this might just be the one." With a little more thought, I decided, "yup, this is the one!" With that, I regret to say that the fish was not released. However, the mammoth esox will always live in majestic prestige on my wall, as well as forever in my memories.