Hi AMFisHers! I have shared numerous fishing stories with the world and have enjoyed doing so over the years, as I am a true believer that through someones stories there is always something be gained by everyone.
This specific fishing story is about my biggest northern pike catch ever, that was one of the most exciting fish fights I have ever experienced! As you may or may have not read about in previous posts some close life long friends and I have done a boys fishing week trip up on the Ottawa River, which is one spectacular fishery to say the least! With anticipation building up on our trip that was fast approaching a few years ago we had received some messages from the cottage owner that some huge pike were attacking walleye as they were reeling them in. The pike were actually in fact stealing the walleye off the line so that tells you they were BIG fish to say the least!
Here is a picture of my biggest northern pike catch…what a beauty!
My close friend Dave shared this news with me and I was determined to catch the thieving pike on our trip. As I was getting my gear ready for the week I decided to review all the large pike and muskie baits I currently had to see what my approach was going to be. The area in which the pike were taking the walleye was a large channel in a bay with very deep water in the middle areas leading up to weed and rock filled shorelines by a light house. This area sees a lot of boat traffic as well as unstable water at times do to the wide open channel flowing water, which was not going to make it easy to fish nor catch one of these MONSTERS!
Knowing these big northern’s were taking walleye in that 12″ to 15″ range off the lines I knew that this was all about big fishing gear and big baits. After having had a very close look at all my big fish baits I knew a trip to my local Bass Pro Shops was needed, as I was in search of one key bait that would allow me to achieve this goal of catching the thieving pike. While on the drive to Bass Pro I already knew what bait I was looking for, as I had a few in a smaller size that had served me well on the Ottawa River before, so once I arrived I headed right for the muskie bait isle. As I walked into the isle one bait instantly caught my eye as the bait that would catch me a walleye thieving pike, it was a 13″ silver & black Grandma muskie bait, with a huge diving lip on it. I knew that this was the bait to get the job done as it was the right size and had enough flash to match several of the bait fish on the Ottawa River.
This is the bait that got the job done! As you can see there are some patchy white areas between the two front hooks, this is where the monster pike smashed the bait and actually ending up scrapping and chewing away some of the hologram print. If you have any questions about this bait feel free to contact me!
Consider this one bait was all I was after I grabbed it and was off to the register, as there were not many days left before our trip and I had a lot to do. All I can tell you is that as soon as I had that bait in my possession on the way home I knew I so knew I was going to catch the thieving pike on our trip! I was on a confidence high as I knew a lot about big pike feeding habits, knew a lot about the water and area we would be fishing and knew that I was going in prepared to achieve this fishing goal!
The remaining few days passed relatively slowly as they always do before we head off on vacation to do the things we enjoy most and as those days were going by slowly my confidence level was increasing by the hour, no joke I was on a fishing mission to stop this thieving pike right in it’s tracks! Before I knew it, it was departure day that long 6 plus hour drive into the Quebec area of the Ottawa River for our boys fishing week trip, man was on a high of a lifetime! Heading up to a stunningly gorgeous area for a week with amazing life long friends who loved to fish, I could not have asked for anything more that day. The boat was rigged, packed up and ready to go as I was on my way to meet the guys at our meet up location. After having met up with them the main portion of the drive was done with my long time friend Dave in the truck with me and I can tell you the conversation was mainly about that thieving pike!
Dave knowing how much I love to fish instantly started asking about my approach and I was very eager myself to tell him exactly how I was going to go about it. I told him about the bait I had picked up and why I picked that specific bait, as well as about the 12ft muskie rod and power musky reel I had planned to use. The plan was in placed right down to the 100lb 18 inch fluorocarbon muskie leader I was going to use along with the 80lb braided line on my reel. There is definitely something to be said about a high level of confidence and what can be achieved by it! After a few stops along the way, talking about the thieving pike and catching up on life we arrived to our docking area where the reel work started. This was by no means an arrive and fish right away situation, there was a lot of work to be done, as all our gear needed to be loaded into our boats and taken to the cottages we were staying at a few miles up river. Labor intensive is the only way to describe this process, unloading the vehicles with multiple bags, coolers, fishing gear, propane tanks, extra gas, you name it we would bring it on this annual trip due to the fact that this was quite a remote area with no electricity or stores near by, oh and it was only accessible by boat.
The guys and I got to work, using a trolly and walking out gear down the long dock to load the boats. Now the boats would get to this private dock location from a public dock a few miles away, so we would get to the public dock launch the boats and meet the guys over at the loading area, again no time for fishing as the work needed to get done first. With the boats finally loaded and our vehicles securely parked for the week, we started the slow journey up river to the cottages. Our boats were usually quite packed with things, as the entire surface of my 17ft bass boat was loaded with stuff. Upon arrival at the cottage docks even more work began, the second monumental task of unloading all our gear for the week. Item by item cooler by cooler we kept plugging away walking all our gear into the cottage and settling in. Now I don’t have to tell you where my mind was stuck all this time, you got it on catching a thieving pike! man was it hard knowing the day was fast approaching it’s end and we could not hit the water to fish just yet.
Once we had settled in we all quickly blurted out so we squeezing in a quick fish as we still have some time? I don’t have to tell you that we were in our boats quite quickly and off to enjoy and hour or so of fishing. We knew exactly where we were going to fish, straight for the lighthouse we went! Gear was all ready, excitement was at a lifetime high as we neared the spot where I could actually feel the thieving pike were feeding. The time was close to 5:30pm on an August summer evening and the water was just right…oh so right it was! This fishing trip for me was all about catching my biggest pike and I knew there were big pike there to catch because they were using the large channel as a feeding zone, but what I did not know was for how long as many days had passed since we got word pike were thieving walleye. None the less we briefly stopped in the channel and I grabbed for my monster muskie rod and took my 13″ Grandma bait out of the package and attached it to the swivel on my leader. With rods and baits ready to go, we headed up the channel several yards so we could troll back through with the natural flow of water. As we started into turning around we cast out our baits for the troll, I was at my highest point at this second, when my bait hit the water this intense feeling took over of I am catching this pike in the next few minutes.
I let out more and more line as we were trolling through 20ft to 60ft of water with deep diving baits. Once I had enough line out I tucked my rod in nice and tight and we started to troll. Just feeling that massive bait move down there was lifting me out of my seat, I could not contain myself much longer I needed to catch the thieving pike! We were about 40 yards into our troll at about 4 to 6 mph and as I looked over to engage with my friends I felt a massive attack on my line. I had done it a massive thieving was on my line, or was it? It was for a split second only, as the fish had attacked the bait so viciously it missed getting fully hooked. I reeled my bait back in to examine it and what I saw very clearly was evidence of a massive predator who had scratched my brand new $39 plus dollar bait! With no time to waste I tossed it back in while one of my friends blurted out oh you probably snagged some rocks, it was not a fish. Oh I knew it was a fish and quickly replied to him with, the big thieving pike it here that was it and I am catching it on this next troll through.
My bait was back out and I was waiting for it to reach the optimum diving depth. Once it was done there I started the countdown, 10, 9, 8, 7, then blank blank blank I had stopped counting as my rod bent way back on the biggest fish strike I have ever felt! This time the monster pike was on my line for the battles of its life and my life. I yelled out I got her I got her she is on the line! Trying not to battle the fish with nothing but excitement I did everything I could to compose myself as this fish gave me its all. I stood up to get try and get the upper hand on it, but man oh man was this one big tough northern pike! My 12ft extra heavy action muskie rod was bent right over into the abyss of the river. I knew it was still quite far from the boat as I had about 60 yards of line out and I could feel that the fish had also started to swim upward. I held on for dear life, trying to make sure I had set the hooks as well as I could and then it happened, the monster pike darted straight out of the water vertically! This was the first glimpse I had of this fish and knew it was going to be the biggest pike I would catch that year! A quick measurement on my fish cradle ruler revealed this pike was around the 48 inch length and had to be between 20 and 23 pounds, with a girth both my hands could not wrap around. Nice big healthy specimen to say the least.
Trying to gauge how big it was in the air was next to impossible, so much adrenaline was rushing through me it was hard to stay focused. All I knew is what I saw jump out of the water was once MASSIVE northern pike! Back down my line went with this pike not even close to given up. Having been well prepared I had all the confidence that I would land this fish, hooks felt like they were in nice and good, my 12ft muskie rod was doing its job, the big reel was doing its job, the leader its job and I could only hope the very good knot I had tied was doing its job. After what felt like an hour, but was only about 10 minutes or so I saw the pike finally showing signs of giving up. My power reel was bringing this beauty to me, slowly but surely as to know over stress the fish it was almost to the side of the boat. I could see I had two of the three large treble hooks perfectly placed in the fishes mouth/jaw, so I was not worried it would get free. After being blinded by this amazing specimen I took a closer look and realized my leader swivel had opened up and it also looked like the front bait hook was coming off the o-ring. Nothing shy of panicking which I did right away, I yelled out for help with the landing cradle, help guys help my swivel is open.
I took a chance and leaned over and grabbed my leader keeping tension on the fish. Waves had picked up and we needed to get this fish in the cradle ASAP. I could not close my open swivel and let go of the leader right away. Only option I had was to fight this fish with my rod again, keeping all the tension on it that I could. The second I saw myself guiding the fish into the cradle I felt very little relief as we were not out of the woods just yet, actually not even close. Anticipating this monster was going to dart off again I kept the tension on. The next thing I see is that the beast had given up and was in the cradle, we had landed my biggest pike! After a very quick screaming celebration session and rest session for the cradled fish, we went back to bringing it into the boat to be unhooked. I would say oddly enough but it wasn’t I knew exactly what I was seeing, one hook was almost out of the fish, with the second still secured well. Time being of the essence, we unhooked the beast as quickly/safely as we could. I yelled out for the camera and grabbed my monster pike with one had in the gill plate and lifted her up. Man did my eyes see one big pike in front of me! The thing was absolutely enormous! Not only long but thick and heavy. We got ready to take a few pictures so I could release her.
Sometimes no matter what you do the fish does get stressed out, especially a big fish like that out of deep water. I placed it back into the cradle in the water by the side of the boat and I knew the fish was stressed. I began doing everything I could to make sure the monster did not die on me, not an outcome I would ever want with a big fish like that, especially my biggest pike ever. I kept an eye on its fins for any movement and bubbles coming out of the mouth, within seconds I could see it was recovering but very slowly. Holding on to the tail with all my might, I started feeling the strength coming back into the fish, what a great moment! After several minutes I knew the fish was getting close to a safe release and I was waiting for my goodbye splash! The fish looked and felt stronger, then it happened one fast swoop of the tail, out of my hands it went and the splash of water was coming for my face! I had done it, went up to catch the thieving pike and I had just let it go…..unbelievable feeling!
It’s hard to really describe the feeling at that moment, especially when I was examining by gear. The swivel on my leader was still open, the body of the bait was all scratched up and two of the o-rings on the hook had almost fully opened, quite the battle and I had won the opportunity to land my biggest northern pike ever! The fun did not stop there as I knew there had to be more big pike feeding in this same area, there would never just be one all alone. I fixed my bait up as best as I could with some pliers and we were back to trolling. It was not long and bang I had another big pike on the line! This second battle was another intense one but we were lucky enough to land that fish as well, followed by a third big pike.
It felt so great knowing that everything worked out as planned, which is normally not the case with fishing sometimes. All the time I had spent reviewing the area we were going to fish in my mind, from water depths, area structure, the bait to use, my gear and if it would hold up well, every single thing had fallen into place for me. My pike catch of a lifetime fish was complete and my fishing goal/mission of catching the pike that were thieving walleye from fisherman’s lines had been achieved on the first day of the trip in just a couple of hours!
Having a plan and being able to execute it as perfectly as you can is the key, again it may not always work out as the rest of the week that exact same lighthouse area had no feeding pike that were interested in any bait we were casting or trolling with, the bite was completely off. We did move on to other areas catching more of the species we enjoy up there, smallmouth bass, catfish and more pike. All in all this is a very memorable catch for me as it is not easy to execute with such confidence at that level and have everything work out, but it did and I was grateful for the opportunity to land “MY MONSTER PIKE”!
I hope you found some inspiration in this story, as that is what my passion for fishing has always been about inspiring those around me to achieve their fishing goals any way they can!
The AMFisH guy…
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