There are a lot of fish in the world, but whenever I catch the first one of a new species for me, it's an event I'll remember, until dementia sets in anyhow.
Northern pike are one of those species. I don't remember ever catching one as a kid (that dementia thing again), so as far as I'm concerned, I'd never caught one before. On a recent fishing trip to Montana, that changed.
Using a Pinnacle Accent CR spin rod with a Shakespeare reel and brand-new Trilene 8-pound test line, I was frustrated by two big northerns that snapped my line as I got them up to the net, taking my last two jointed Shad-Rap lures with them.
I switched to a big, fire-tiger Rapala, set my drag lighter, and the next time I hooked up, that pike was brought to net and boated. It wasn't a big pike by any standards, but it wasn't exactly a hammer handle, either.
Pike are big, nasty fish that fight hard and taste great. I filleted a few of them after watching this YouTube video.
Now that I've landed my first pike, I'm ready to catch my biggest pike.
Eric is retired and living in Laramie, Wyo. He taught journalism in the University of Wyoming's Communication and Journalism Department for 26 years. Before that, he worked at the Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle for 11 years.