A friend and I chose to spend an evening chasing Yellow Perch a couple nights ago on Lake Bemidji. The Perch fishing can be really good this time of year and it had been a while since I’ve been out around Bemidji so I was pretty excited. The fishing started out slow with any fish being caught being quite small. Some time a little after 4pm I marked a nice fish 5 feet under the ice in 24 fow. I reeled my 1/32 ounce jig tipped with a waxworm up to the mark expecting to hook into one of the Cisco’s that frequent this area. The fish wasted no time biting and upon hookset I knew it was a big fish. The fish took out a bit of drag and was thrashing around quite a bit. I was thinking “sweet, REALLY big Cisco!” Then came an explosive run followed by extreme heaviness. Ok, Pike, not a Cisco. I could barely make any ground on the fish using a noodle rod and 3 pound test. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to land the fish at all, which I think helped keep me calm a bit. Some 15 minutes of back and forth went by before I finally caught a glimpse of her. She made a few more runs before we were ready to try to land her. The fish had gotten her self wrapped up in the line a bit so she wasn’t coming up face first and was stuck at the bottom of the hole, and with 30+ inches of ice to deal with that made things really tough. After some clever ingenuity involving a broom handle we finally were able to get her head up the hole a bit. My fishing partner reacted quickly and reached nearly shoulder deep into the water, and the fight was over. This Pike was hooked right in the very tip of the snout. If it had taken my jig any deeper at all, it would have been a much shorter and less fruitful battle. She stretched the tape to 41 inches and was one of the fattest Pike I’ve seen. After a quick photo session she was sent home all full of piss and vinegar.
Northern Pike are the species that got me into fishing when I was 7 years old and I’ve dreamt of catching one this size since then. This wasn’t exactly how I expected it to go down but I can’t complain!