Fishing for Northern Pike in the spring can be ice-out ravenous action. Let’s face it: after a long cold winter, the big girls need to eat. Unfortunately, this feeding frenzy only lasts a short time before the spawn—and then the dreaded post spawn. It was during this brief window that Pete arrived at Garnham Lake to shoot this episode.
ON THE SEARCH FOR A TRUE BEHEMOTH
When Pete hit the water, he started out with his usual smallish inline spinners and, at times, 5″ jerkbaits. He was in search of active fish, and though he found some, only the small to medium-sized fish would respond. Essentially, if the fish was under ten pounds there was a good chance it would bombard the spinner or jerk. If the fish was a true behemoth—precisely what Pete was looking for—it would either ignore the hard bait offerings or even spook away from it.
If and when this happens, Pete usually follows Angelo’s spring Pike routine by throwing a giant tube like a Waterwolf Gator Tube, which will usually turn a few big heads. But not today.
Now our little Pete is admittedly a pretty simple guy. Once on the water and confronted with a tough situation, however, that Greater Napanee education of his kicks into another gear and the wheels start turning faster and faster. And this just happened to be one of those occasions.
“I knew pretty quickly that I was in a little deeper than I was hoping,” recalls Pete. “All I asked of the Pike gods was to make the giants rip the rod out of my hands with artificial baits. That’s it. That’s not asking too much, is it?”
“However,” Pete continues. “I always try to think ahead. So as a backup for this trip, I brought along a few Quick Strike rigs.”
THE QUICK STRIKE RIG
Quick Strike rigs are usually two smallish treble hooks on a wire leader which are configured to allow the hookup of either a live or dead bait fish (typically a sucker or oily fish like a frozen herring), which is then suspended under a float in hopes that a Big Esox creature will be enticed by this last-resort offering.
Knowing that Pete had this backup plan, Dan MacLachlan of White River Air made a quick run to nearby Ed’s Bait Shop and picked up some Sucker minnows, just in case.
If ever there was a time to enact the backup plan, this was it; the Quick Strike Rig was drawn from the box and put into play without hesitation.
“This was the game-saver for me, as it usually is,” admits Pete. “Once I popped my first twelve-plus pounder on the Sucker, I had a newfound confidence that would carry me through this otherwise tough day.”
Long story short, the rig came through with flying colours, finally connecting Pete to some real giants. Pete boated a couple in the 12-13 lb range; two more around 15+ lb; and two monsters well into the mid-twenties. These are true giants in an area that’s only a ten-hour drive from the Greater Toronto Area.
“To top it all off, that Sucker suckered in a scarred up monster that I must have worked on for over an hour. And that’s with live bait, my friends!
“What a trip, what a lake, and what an outfitter in White River Air!”