Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Catching Giant Northerns

Last year around this time I was on the hunt of a lifetime.  Chasing the Barren Ground Caribou in the northern most reaches of Northern Manitoba was a dream that finally came true. After filling my limit of two boo (that is what the locals call them) it was time to go fishing.  The weather had been miserable with low overcast condition and mist.  Plus in was just plain cold with all that dampness.

I could not believe it.  I was looking at patches of blue sky on my 5th day on the tundra.  It was a beautiful sight to see. No mist, no fog and a light breeze out of the south.  It would be a warm day.  After harvesting my second Caribou, I took the next day off and just hung out at the lodge with a couple of the other hunters who had also limited out.  This is what is known as a bull slinging session. 

With a high pressure and beautiful weather we should be able to hammer some big northern pike and lake trout.  There were two hunters from Ontario that had limited early and had spent the balance of their time fishing for lake trout.  Commonwealth Lake also held Arctic Greyling.   I hoped to smack into a few of them.  We tried, but it was not to be.  

We worked the bays as the fish had been caught previously in the shallows.  The lake trout spawn in the fall and we worked hard in the shallows, but only one lake trout was caught by a guide that came along with my guide and myself. 
This was a nice size laker, but unfortunately it was the only one caught.  It was estimated to be around five pounds.

If you look at the sky behind the guide you can see it clouded up again.  We were concerned there was a change coming, but it broke into scattered to broken clouds with a lot of sunshine pouring through. 

We ran into two of the fishermen from our lodge and they were not catching any trout either. 

After about two hours, I had not caught one fish nor had one hit.  It was time to change lures.  I had been fishing with a red and white spoon and had switched to a Five of Diamonds.  Still nothing, and did not even have a hit.  This was not the first time in my life this had happened.  Switching to a Len Thompson spoon that had to be 30 years old, I started smacking one right after another.  The spoon was dark green with black diamonds like the five of diamonds spoon.  We could only keep northern under 30 inches. Since it was fresh fish for dinner, it did not take long to have all the lodge could eat for an evening meal.  
Typical eating size northern.  There was no trouble catching this size, once they started hitting.

Still, small fish are fun, but I have never caught giant northern pike, and here I am in northern Manitoba where they live.  That thought soon would be gone as a giant pike took hold of the spoon.  Standing there, I just held on as he went where and when he wanted to go.  Peeling out line, he circled the boat more than once and then would make a run.  Reeling him back to the boat,  I could tell he was beginning to tire.  Finally, after getting him up close to the side of the boat, he looked like a log.  The guide reached to grab him along the back of the neck.  He did not go for that at all, spun back 180 degrees and cut the line.  He was gone, but did I ever have a good time!  I shed a tear for about 3 seconds after losing one of my favorite lures, but there was still a lot of fishing and catching to do.  We had just really got started.
They started getting bigger and bigger.

Since the big boy bit on a green spoon with black diamonds, I grabbed a chartreuse spoon with black markings horizontally down the side and started back casting into the shallows.  All heck broke loose and we were all picking up really big northern pike that had to be thrown back.

Blue Fox Strobe Spoon Kit
The chartreuse with the black strips is the killer. Click on the link or the pic to buy from Bass Pro.

We caught northern pike routinely this size and bigger and threw them all back.

Finally, the killer lure was lost and all three of us in the boat had caught lots and lots of fish that were mostly thrown back.
This was dinner.

It can't get much better than this. 

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank.

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