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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dreaming of trophy Northern Pike ice fishing

In my quest for big winter pike, I headed out to Lac St Louis near the Montreal area with a couple friends. The weather was overcast with light snow, about or just about freezing.

I set up a variety of bait dead bait including minnows, smelt, sardines and small mackerel, on my pike lines, a double worm rig on my jigging rod. The fishing was extremely slow, we moved to 3 separate spots over about 1 mile in search of the pike, all we caught were some small perch jigging live minnows and worms. We unfortunately were only able to fish until 3:00 PM. As I’m pulling up my lines, the one with a 7- 8 inch mackerel had a decent sized pike on it. Again, I lost it when trying to bring it through the 8 inch hole. A frustrating loss, my consolation is that the rig worked for a second time, and on both occasions the pike skipped smaller live minnows for the larger (and smellier) dead bait.

So why has it failed to "ice" pike twice? My best guess at this point is the quick strike system. Although I can see how it can be very effective in hooking fish, when it comes to pulling a pike through an 8" hole, the rig can actually work against the fisherman. Assuming the fish is hooked by the trailer treble hook in the side of the mouth, (which is the entire focal point of the quick strike rig), when I'm pulling the fish to the surface it will most likely be somewhat sideways as it hits the hole. To make matters worse, the treble will most likely be in perfect position to pull out if the pike's large snout goes past the hole. I think this is exactly what happened on both occasions.

My next modification to the rig will be the hook setup, I will probably use a similar setup to a "kingfish rig", although this will mean preparing, prerigging and re-freezing the sardines or mackerel with the rigs in them. The modified rig probably will be "beta tested" on my next outing, hopefully within the next week or two.

Check out my big pike setup and rig on Youtube, I would love your input.


Anonymous said...

too bad phil sorry ya lost the big one but there is a certain skill involved in not getting too carried away when the pike is close to the hole. i've actually had to give out some slack line and try again to have the pikes mouth turn properly in the hole nose up so to speak if you are in a hurry to get him out of the ice hole he may well have his head turned sideways and the length of his head spans beyond the gap of the hole ,and then ya pull the hooks free. My as calm as you can look down the hole and wait till you see the fish's beak (tip of his nose)in the middle of the hole so it's clear to guide it up and into the ice tube to the surface.

howard D

Freshwater Phil said...

The holes were king of deep and dark with about 2.5 - 3 feet of snow and ice, I doubt I could see it down there in those conditions. I probably did get carried away a bit, as it was the end of a pretty slow day, in addition to my lack of any experience catching pike through the ice. All I've fished for in the past is perch and trout, which never give this sort of problem. Anyway, the new rigging might be helpful too.

Branko said...

I love your design. I never though of it. It's so simple and effective. I will even use it for trout fishig next year for sure.

If you want to keep the fish that's on the line, I would go out and buy one of those big HOOKS, and when the fish is close to the hole, i would lower the hook and just hook it and pull it out of the hole instead of forcing it with the line.