The Pike Fight
I was talking on the phone, gripping the BlackBerry to my right ear (as the left one is pretty much useless) and watching the tip of my rod with the pickerel rig and minnows floating just past the spot where the Snye flows into the Clearwater River. A spotty evening with the odd rain shower and overcast conditions, there were only a few anglers on this stretch of land that on a sunny evening is stacked with fishing rods every 15 feet or so. I was nestled in my prime spot, talking on the phone, waiting for a fish to rise.
Throughout the call, I had various nibbles and substantial bites, but I left the rod alone and kept talking. Finally, the rod took a definitive dip, then another, and a resounding third. Resolute that the conversation was far more important, I left the rod in its holder, letting the fish settle.
Eventually, I switched the phone to my left ear, straining to hear as I'm virtually deaf on that side, and reaching for my rod with my right hand, setting it between my knees so I could slowly start to reel it in without interrupting the productive chat I was having. Incrementally, the fish - obviously a medium-sized pike by this point - was coaxed closer and closer to the shore eventually landing at the feet of the guy fishing off to my left on the point.
"Ahh, I kind of have to deal with this fish I just caught. Can I call you back?"
That one turned out to be about 7 pounds. I grabbed him and persuaded the hook out of its spot just on the inside of his significant mouth, then set him gently in the water to go about his merry way.
"OK, I'm back," I said, getting back on the phone to finish the conversation.
Several things about this night of fishing compelled me to stay a little longer that I normally would. Apart from being in my favourite spot, the water was perfectly calm, and the young eagle was perched on his branch watching the goings on very carefully, always a positive omen for fishermen.
So, I put my rig out and waited. It took about 45 minutes, but once again the rod took a dip. This time, the pike turned north and made a beeline down river, heading for the point at MacDonald Island.
"Oh man, this is a monster," I declared, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was going to be something special.
As I reeled in, with the drag on just a smidge, the sound was deeply satisfying. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee, went the reel as I turned the handle with fervor. The monster turned north again and emerged from the water, driving himself away from me with the incredible power of its tail.
I kept reeling it in as I began to move it slowly away from the current of the Clearwater and into the stiller waters of the Snye. Walking myself down the shore and over the rod of my neighbor, I pulled the fish on to the beach, being very careful not to snap the line.
Anglers gathered around as I grabbed the pliers to extricate the relatively tiny brass hook out of its gargantuan mouth. One guy had his iPhone out and took a picture. Another was describing what was happening to his girlfriend on the other end of his phone. A third grabbed my BlackBerry and captured the moment as the fish weighed in at an even 14 pounds and stretched out 37 inches or almost 94 centimetres.
My thumb is a little sliced up from holding the fish under his gills to get him on the scale, but other than that, I emerged unscathed from the most exciting fight of the year.
I gently grabbed the monster after doing the official weigh-in and measuring and placed him in the water. Running my hands delicately along its sides, I gave the tail a little wiggle and it slowly meandered away to destinations unknown.