Using the cold steel auger, I bored a hole in the ice, set my bucket upside down next to it, and put some bait on my hook. I used the spoon thingy to remove the ice that was beginning to form on the surface of the water in the hole, and dropped my line into the darkness. It wasn't long before I saw the bobber disappear, and I pulled out the first perch, a nice one. I took the perch off the hook, put it in a bucket, and reset my line. After about a half hour of pulling perch out of the dark depths of the lake, I decide to try the tip up.
I should have known this was not a good idea. First, I had to bait the hook, and the bait was a large fat minnow. A chub I think it was called. I did not like that one bit. After saying I was sorry a hundred times to that little fish, I tossed the baited line into the second hole, set the flag on the tip up, and went back to hole #1 to fish for more perch.
|A modern tip up.|
I jumped up and began to reel in whatever was on the other end. And I thought of that poor minnow. I must say I was excited and a bit scared all at the same time. This was my first solo ice fishing trip. I never used a tip up before. I didn't know what to expect. It wasn't long before I pulled the large fish up out of the hole. It was Pike.
This Pike was huge. Like 24 inches long or maybe she was 3 feet, I don't know. But she was big. And she had teeth. I had caught a Pike before while trolling the lake at night, but for some reason on this day it was like I realized for the first time Pike had teeth.
I also realized my Dad wasn't with me. See, I didn't like to take fish off the hook. Dad would do that for me. I was ok with the smaller fish, but if I were to catch a bigger fish like Bass, or Salmon on the big lake, well I turned that task over to him. Now, here I was on this stark, cold, barren lake. Alone. With a big Pike. With teeth.
"Ok," I thought to myself. "Now what." I had to get the hook out of her mouth. I had to touch her. I reached down, and got real close, but I just couldn't do it. Damn! "Ok, Barb, don't be a wimp. You can do this." Always creative, I took my stocking cap off, put it on the fish, got out my pliers, and successfully removed the hook from Pike's mouth. Whew.
Now what do I do with her? I could put her in the bucket and take her back with me, but I am sure she will flop out of the bucket and onto the seat of my car and then into the front seat only to bite me. No, that would not work. "I know," I said to no one. "If I let the fish lay here on the ice surely she will freeze to death and not be able to bite me". I looked at that poor fish there on the ice and immediately decided to return her home. So I took my heavy Sorel boot and pushed Pike back into the hole.
I watched as Pike bobbed up and down. Why wasn't she swimming away, I wondered? Then I realized. Fish don't swim backwards. Duh.
So now I am watching this mouth full of teeth bobbing up and down, and realized I have to take her out of the water once again, turn her around, and slide her back down the hole head first. Great.
I took my pliers and grabbed Pike by the mouth and pulled her up out of the hole. After Pike quit flopping around on the ice, I turned her around and scooted her once again with my Sorel boot, this time head first into the hole. I watched as Pike gratefully disappeared into the darkness.
|Nimo hearing the tale of Pike.|
There is no such thing as a free lunch.