In the fishing store on the north end of Red Deer, Alberta is a photo of a 3 pound pike on the line that has been reeled up to the side of the boat. No big deal, but the photo shows a 50-plus pounder hitting the smaller fish like it was bait. This picture is awesome. And it perfectly illustrates my impressions of the Great Northern Pike.
The Great Northern Pike, or just plain Pike has a head like an alligator and it’s got a lot of teeth. This is where the similarities end, because compared to the pike, an alligator is affectionate and cuddly.
In that same tackle shop you can by flies for any kind of fly fishing for any season. They have a “fly” for the pick too–a mouse. On the wall, you can get a lure that, as it moves through the water, imitates the movement of little cute baby ducklings. Yes, pike will eat mice and ducklings. I wouldn’t be surprised if they at the feet off of geese just to be mean.
Pike are Mean
One time, I was fighting a rambunctious pike for a few minutes. Given the bend of my rod, he was a big one. Horsing him to the boat with 50lb. test line with a 3″ yellow Five of Diamonds treble-hooked spoon. I pulled him right to the edge of the boat and we looked into each others eyes. His eyes held malevolence. Mine astonishment. He had the spoon in his mouth sideways. He isn’t hooked at all. The hook dangles uselessly beyond its left cheek. He’s holding onto the tackle, just because he doesn’t want me to have it. Sensing the net coming under him, he just let go of the lure and, obviously miffed, swam off.
Another time, after fishing an area for a while, we decided to try another area of the lake. My buddy Keith set down his rod and went to drive the boat to the other side of the lake. As we get up to cruising speed, I get this silly idea of casting in my spoon. We might have been going 20 km/hr. My rod is bent by the drag on the large spoon and hook. All of a sudden, my rod bends double. “Fish on,” I yell. Keith is surprised, and kills the engine. I have a large pike on the line. What’s going on in this fishes head, when he attacks a lure travelling at 20km/hr? Nothing but loathing for anything that moves, is all I can figure.
I caught a 5 pound pike while fishing from a canoe. I strung a leader though it’s gills and paddled home. Perhaps it was primal instinct that caused me to occasionally I looked back to look at the fish. Never turn your back to the enemy. It’s eyes were filled with malice and as he trailed behind the canoe, I began to feel more like prey than predator. I swear I heard raspy whispers of threatened revenge bubbling up from behind me. I got safely to shore and prepared the fish for the barbecue. When I through the head into the woods, one of the razor sharp teeth hooked my finger and left a nasty wound. Was this carelessness on my part, or was it a posthumous act of revenge? The latter is consistent with my experience.
Poet Stevie Smith is familiar with the pike. Here poem “Pretty” contain these lines:
And in the pretty pool the pike stalksHe stalks his prey, and this is pretty too,The prey escapes with an underwater flashBut not for long, the great fish has him nowThe pike is a fish who always has his preyAnd this is pretty.
The pike is not pretty. Smith knows this.
Here’s her poem, “Pretty.”
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