PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

From the south suburbs to the northwest suburbs, the Des Plaines River provides some excellent fishing opportunities.

PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby cyanatic » Oct Thu 15, 2020 9:55 am

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.

ImageDPR Fall woods on DPR 10-14-20 by Steve, on Flickr

ImageDPR Pike 25.5+in 10-14-20 by Steve, on Flickr

ImageDPR Carp hooked by dorsal fin 10-14-20 by Steve, on Flickr

ImageSurprise DPR Carp 10-14-20 by Steve, on Flickr

ImageDPR Pike 18in 10-14-20 by Steve, on Flickr
Good fishing,


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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby joetrain » Oct Thu 15, 2020 11:26 am

It seems like the river is treating you well so far.

I really never shore fished but from my canoe or yak I got into the habit of using my grippers and leaving the fish in the water to remove the hooks. If it’s possible to do that from shore then that would probably be the most beneficial to your catch.

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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby Aux Pleins » Oct Thu 15, 2020 12:17 pm

Well done. Yea KVD Squarebill is great, but about 80% of the river is too shallow for it. Works perfect on 5-6 fow when the weeds have died down. As for pike handling, worry about your own safety first and foremost. Get a solid grip with your pliers on the treble hooks if you are using them, then go in with your hand to grab the fish. Those fish will pretty much always shake. If you can get a good grip in the middle of the fish or behind the head with your hand you can do that , but really be ready to get a grip on the hooks with a tool. Just dont stage a pike in your hand too long with out a buffer between you and thrashing hooks is best advice.
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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby Skifish1 » Oct Thu 15, 2020 1:59 pm

That death grip is only choice you have when on shore or wading. When you set them back in water you just need to confirm that there gill plates expand back out and they are flapping them normal. Its better a firm grip like that then have them dragged or flapping on shore unlike you and me they have no eye lids. So my biggest concern is fishes eye protection which is why I try not to have them hit the ground nor do I use the hard cheap poly nets that shred fish body and eyes. Also stopped using grips so to cause less mouth damage plus I switched to a different style mouth spreader which doesn't poke holes in pikes mouth. Having spreaders is a must and leveraged cutters for cutting hooks. All of this an evolution over catching a million pike over the last 10 years on how to make the fish healthy release as good as it could be. I believe your death grip is okay. This eye protection topic was something my fish biologist brother in law conveyed to me. Mortality of being out of water is always a concern. Body scratches heal. Can't fix damaged eyes.
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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby Rambler » Oct Thu 15, 2020 3:35 pm

Nice fishies! You're getting a lot of great advice here.

I keep grippers & spreader in my bag but don't use them often. Death grip is usually the way to go.

BTW - I hit my spot on the river yesterday. Waded to the island & fished for a couple hours without any action. Lots of wind. Wish I'd tried a buzzbait but went with a variety of others. Oh well.
Keep calm and fish on...

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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby jonny2can » Oct Thu 15, 2020 8:21 pm

Nice catch on the pike.. dumb carp.. atleast you got the lure back!
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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby Grain » Oct Thu 15, 2020 10:37 pm

Yeah, I foul hooked a 24" or so carp this summer. It was like dragging a kettlebell.
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Re: PB Pike and surprise catch on DPR 10/14/20

Postby Busse Jim » Oct Thu 15, 2020 11:07 pm

1/2 dozen years ago that grassy shoreline was under under a foot of water, pretty sure that tree was about 100' north last few years but that spot has givin up some nice pike over the years.

Even with the Dam removal. :(

Great read and Pike!!
A ten pound carp on a lite rod, from shore, had to be wild! :clap:

Haven't been out but I bet the fall colors have been great in that whole stretch the past week or so.

Aux Pleins wrote:As for pike handling, worry about your own safety first and foremost.
again nice post!
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