Based on the weather report, it looked like Wednedsay 10-14 would be one of the last 70 degree days we'll see for some months. It was also forecast to be overcast so I took the day off to head up to the DPR. A phone alert went off at 3:30am to say there was a Wind Advisory. Besides my annoyance at being awakened at that hour, I remember thinking, "Great! The one day I take off, there has to be a high wind advisory."
But the wind didn't look that bad when I finally got up Wednesday morning. I dithered away most of the morning selecting the lures I wanted to use and putting trailer hooks on some of the new buzzbaits and spinnerbaits I had purchased at Fish Tech on Dempster. It was just before noon when I got to the spot I wanted to fish. Wind was intermittent with gusts out of the west/northwest and the water was still really clear. The leaves are definitely turning and it was a beautiful fall day. I had the spot to myself and started out with a black 1/4 oz Booyah buzzbait with a clacker. That's what worked for me last time and I thought I would start with it again. I worked my casts from upstream toward a laydown, then fanned out downstream. About 8 casts in, a pike smashed the buzzbait. Same thing as last time, it was the trailer hook that got him. Unfortunately, his attempts to shake the lure ended up putting the main hook into the underside of his jaw. I brought him in and carefully removed the hooks. I measured him at just a shade over 25-1/2" and figured he was somewhere around 4 lbs. It's only the second or third pike I've caught, but so far it's my personal best.
One thing I need to do is learn how to handle a pike correctly. The photo looks like I've got a death grip on the poor thing. He was thrashing and I grabbed him as best I could. He seemed to take off okay when I released him. I worked the buzzbait for a while longer but didn't get anything. I switched to a chartreuse KVD square bill I had bought (I was influenced by Aux recent DPR post and added a few square bills to my arsenal). No hang ups, but I kept dragging weeds 2 out of 3 casts that interfered with the action. I gave it a fair shot before I switched to something else.
I had brought along my light rod and decided I'd switch to that and tie on an old school #6 Panther Martin spinner. I seemed to to pull in less weeds and I liked the flash of the blade in the water. I wasn't getting any action and cast upstream close to a laydown. Felt a sudden sudden snag, and then the "snag" took off for the cover of the laydown. When I felt the pull of it, I immediately regretted switching to my light rod. I was able to turn him from the laydown, but he kept bulling away from the bank. The drag was set just enough to allow line out when he pulled hard. He'd take line, I'd get it back, and it went on like this for a good 15 minutes. I still had no idea what I'd hooked into but by this time I was wishing that I had brought a net. I finally got him close enough to shore, upstream near a mud flat, where I could get a look at him. It was a carp and I'd somehow managed to hook his dorsal fin. I was using a 10lb fluoro leader but I expected either the Panther Martin or the leader to give way at any moment. By this time, I just wanted to get my lure back. I got him into the shallows and tried to get either my hand or my fish grippers on him. He'd spook and then he'd bull his way back out into the river while I tried to bring him back. Went through this routine for about 5 times before I got him into the shallows (my boots getting sucked into that lovely DPR mud) and grabbed the needle nose from my pocket. I was able to grab the treble and work the lure free. I was also able to take a few shots with my phone. He waddled back into the river, apparently no worse for the wear. The treble hook that had him was bent away at a 45 degree angle.
I don't know how much he weighed, but I could tell by the feel of him that was somewhere north of 10 or 12 lbs at least. I couldn't even drag his weight up the bank, let alone hoist him out of the water. I still have no idea how I snagged his dorsal fin. Not sure if rolled and took a pass at the lure, or if he was just sitting there and the lure snagged him by chance.
I used my needle nose to bend the treble back into shape. Because I apparently don't learn my lesson, I cast it back out again. A few casts later an 18" pike swallowed it and I was able to bring him in and get the hook out of his throat with the needle nose.
For a shorebound fisherman, the DPR has been pretty good to me so far this Fall. DPR Fall woods on DPR 10-14-20
, on FlickrDPR Pike 25.5+in 10-14-20
, on FlickrDPR Carp hooked by dorsal fin 10-14-20
, on FlickrSurprise DPR Carp 10-14-20
, on FlickrDPR Pike 18in 10-14-20
, on Flickr