Thursday, February 21, 2013

100% Predator

I can not recall the moment or moments through which I led myself to Pike.  I can only surmise that all my experiences in angling brought me to the pursuit of bigger, stronger and meaner.  One of my first expeditions for pike, found me in Minnesota.  I was working and was intent on finishing the job with enough time left over to purchase a license and hit the water.  The work van had some tools in it and a float tube and of course my fishing gear.  I had done a bit of research before hand and found a convenient destination to the job site.  Time permitted and I hit two gas stations before I found a license.  Following the GPS down a muddy road I came to a lake.  I decided it wasn't worth getting the van stuck and hearing about it from the higher-ups. I parked as far down the road as I dared and climbed in the back to pull on the waders and ready my gear.  I opened the door and climbed out.
Look out here comes a tangent.  If there is one thing I despise about the mid-west it is the bugs.  I'm not talking about the mosquitoes  although I have a distaste for them as well.  I am talking about the ticks!!!  I don't know what it is but they have a strong affinity for me.  Small tangent here.  My dad, brother and I are turkey hunting in South Dakota.  After hunting through the day we return to the cabin.  Tick count: Dad-0, Brother-0, and Me-3.  One buried in the back of my head, the other two still locating a good insertion point.  Seriously this scenario turned into the norm for any outdoor pursuit I was involved in for my 3 year stay in Nebraska.  I despise chiggers as well!!!!!
Sorry, back to pike.  Now that I've suited up, I walk down to the lake and jump in my belly boat.  I kick out and begin casting.  I quickly decide it is going to be a great day after catching a number of Large Mouth Bass.  I continue to methodically pound the cattails that extend 10-20 yds from the shore and consistently catch bass. 

 I work my way upwind and half way up the lake I find my first Pike!  He was holding under a large lily pad area extending out into the middle of the lake.  He was small.  But I was instantly sold. 

 One quality that I absolutely love in a fish is commitment.  The pike that open their mouths are committed.  If you miss an eat on one, many times you throw to the exact same fish in the same spot and get a second eat from a fish that is intent on eating.  So I snapped a few photos and continued fishing.  I believe I caught 2-3 more small guys before a storm moved in and I had to drive 4 hrs home.
Back to the bug tangent.  3 hrs into the drive I felt something crawling up my neck.  Of course it was a tick!  Quite unbelievable to me.  I was completely covered head to toe.  Pants, socks, and shirt all inside the waders.  Rain jacket with hood on top of this.  After fishing I climbed in the back cargo doors and shed all my fishing gear.  Waders, boots, and rain jacket.  From there I walked up to the drivers seat and hit the road.  That persistent, deliberate, disgusting, little bugger marched for 3 hrs straight.  Through all my fishing gear and tools and located my sorry butt in the drivers seat.  He scaled Everest and was just about to summit and stake his claim before I found his miserable little carapace soft shoeing my neck.  You would think after having so many ticks on me I would get used to it, but they always disgust me. 
Back to pike, I am in love.  There is something about a fish that is 100% predator.  "Young pike are known to grab the head of a fish nearly their own size then swim around with the tail sticking out of their mouth until they can take another bite." An ambush predator, lying in wait behind plants and rocks, then darting out at 30 mph grabbing, puncturing and swallowing their prey.  There is nothing much better than attaching your line to one of these guys while watching them viciously explode on your fly!
Ecstatic for this years PIKE!!!!


  1. Pike sound exciting. I hate ticks too.

    1. Mr. P., they are! Any time you find yourself in the Salt Lake Area let me know, I'd like to chase fish with you. Thanks for the spelling check on ticks, I definitely was not talking mechanics in this post, Ha!

  2. I LOVED this post. I HATE TICKS! Chiggers are the worst too. I got them so bad one time I felt sick for a couple days. Both of my legs had about 20 bites on them. The only other thing that ever bothers me while fishing are horseflies. They are attracted to sweat. In the summer if you have one of those starting to follow you. You either kill it or stop fishing. They will follow you ALL DAY! Awesome fish by the way. That is one pig of a bass.

    1. I would rather have a handful of tics than chiggers any. when we first moved to Nebraska I thought I had some sort of skin disease for 4 months. I went to the doctor and everything. They couldn't figure it out. Finally I was talking to a neighbor and he mentioned chiggers. Turned out between hunting and fishing I was constantly getting new chiggers. Worst thing ever. My brother had the exact same experience. Us Rocky Mountain boys were blindsided by the misery the invisible, mid-west insect world had in store for us.