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The pike that stared
This was one of those fish that staid glued to my inner eye for a long time. The largest pike I ever caught gave up a very good and pretty harrowing fight.
I remember this film with Ben Stiller being a super hero that can go invisible, but only when no one looks at him. It's a pretty nice ability to have, but nothing you can really prove or even brag about. Any attempt to prove it will fail, since looking will cancel the effect.
My biggest pike ever was caught when no one was looking. I do have a picture of it, but no witnesses, so I can essentially make the story as elaborately dramatic as I want. Not that I need to, because it was pretty dramatic, but I have no way of proving that it was.
Never the less, here goes.
I was fishing for autumn pike together with my good friend Kasper in southern Sweden. A very nice autumn day in great conditions. Not perfect, but pretty good. We had waded a long way through shallow water to a small island in the rocky archipelago that is typical of south and east Sweden. On the island was a small cabin, a nice pier and best of all: a bench and table with a view over the ocean. We made camp on the bench and fished in front of it and around the island.
I don't remember the day as particularly successful when it comes to catching pike, but our report from the day says 12 pike landed or lost, which makes it a great day!
At one time in the middle of the day, I ventured to the backside of the island, which was maybe a couple of hundred meters across or some 6-800 feet from side to side.
Still, I was on the other side and well hidden from Kasper, fishing almost from the shore and in between the weed covered rocks that surrounded the island. I was fishing a fairly small fly by pike fly standards: a size 2 hook or so with a bit of polar bear, some peacock herl and a straw of flash. Not big art and not big altogether.
As the fly landed on the outside of the rocks and I started retrieving it, a saltwater crocodile of north Australian dimensions attacked it! Well, maybe not, but a large pike at least. Head and breast fins were out of the water, and this wasn't a small fish. It took all the loose line and started pulling line off the reel.
I realized that I had hooked a nice pike and started fighting it. It was very unwilling to return to the shallows and every time I got it near the passage between the rocks, it took off again. It was a tug of war for some minutes, me pumping in the fish and the fish regaining its position in the more open water on the outside of the rocks. But it was getting tired, and I could feel its force reduced for every time it rushed. So I decided that now was the time to get it behind the rocks and pumped extra hard to get it closer.
But it still had a bit of energy, and spent the remains on going down and deep into the weed that covered the rocks. And that ended all tugging. The fish was permanently stuck and I was almost sure that as soon as it would catch its breath, it would wiggle once and loose the hook or break the leader.
So I started wading out to free it and get it under control again. The water was pretty deep and I had to tiptoe the last bit, but once I got closer to where the leader disappeared into the water, the line must have slacked and the fish took off again. The scene repeated as the fish dived into the weeds once again, and I had to maneuver out to get it free.
It saw me and once again it scooted out towards the open water
I also saw it, and it was big!
At that point I realized that I had hooked up with a fish way above my average!
Since the fish was on the reel and pretty tired I could control it, and I was at long last able to guide it between the rocks and weed patches as I backed back towards the beach. There I got it into shallow water and grabbed it and slid it onto the loose weed that had blown up on the shore.
A really large pike. I could see that right away. But I had no measure tape or scale, so I simply laid down the rod, took a few pictures and removed the fly. The fish was quite calm while this took place, staring at me as pike seem to do, for the minute or so it was on dry land.
Then I simply pushed it into the water and it swam calmly off.
I later used the rod in the picture as a measure and estimated it to be 110 centimeters or 43 inches, which according to pike weight formulas should put it in the 10-11 kilos or some 23 lbs. range.
Definitely my largest pike ever.