© 2013 Aaron Atkinson

Pike on Top

On that sunny Friday morning I was chugging a flashy golden topwater popper through the weedy shallow water of the tea-stained lake.

Chug-chug-chug-chug-chug the lure hopped along. And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere the placid water erupted in a violent boil.

“Was that a fish?” Dad asked, looking up from the back of the boat.

“Yeah. And a big one. But he missed it,” I replied.

Looking back I don’t think he missed it. I think he gave it a good slash in an effort to stun it before coming back for the kill.

In the moment I played along, holding the lure still. And then I gave it a small chug. And then came a mouth like a gator from the water as it inhaled my lure. I waited a moment and then set the hook. It was like pulling the pin from a grenade. The pike went ballistic. It made a beeline for deeper water, pulling the canoe behind it. The reel sang one of the sweetest sounds in fishing as line zipped off the drag.

I weathered the initial fury and brought him to within 15 feet of the canoe. Enraged that he was losing the battle he recoiled his long, muscular body and made another run for the depths. The line hung up on some lily pads, slowing his sprint. Gently, carefully, I torqued the rod and pulled us near. The entangled weeds lifted from the surface of the water.

“There’s the swivel.” I pulled a bit more

“There’s the leader.” Harder yet.

“There’s the lure.” Almost there

“Dad, there’s the fish! Net him.” And he did.

But the pike wasn’t done yet and in a wild fury he made two more attempted runs from within the net and in the process he drenched Dad with the wake from his massive tail. Dad tried to duck, but he was still soaking wet. I thought that he might be less than pleased. He wasn’t, instead he giggled with boundless, dripping glee.

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