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The Perch and Pike bug

The Perch and Pike bug
Posted in: Fishing Articles

Happily I am driving north, more than two hours’ worth, smiling all the way.  I’ve caught the perch bug, and I’m happier than stink about it.  I should say, I’ve caught the perch and pike bug, because it seems that you can’t have one without the other and I’m okay with that.  I like them both.

The perch and pike bug is real.

My destination is a little mark on a map, given to me by a friend.  He was at this lake a few days before and made out like a bandit.  He sent me this message, “We made out really well with perch and pike.  Was nonstop all day, couldn’t bait our hooks fast enough.”  The picture he sent along with his text sealed the deal.  In his sink were a pile of beautiful perch and three healthy pike.  Tips rarely get better than this, so we took the very next opportunity to get out while the fishing is hot.

The ‘x’ on the map pays huge dividends!

At the lake it was evident that people were driving on, but just to make sure, we walk out on the ice and drill a test hole.  The ice is a full auger flight thick, plenty thick enough.  We drive on, being sure to drive in the truck tracks of those who went on before us.  It isn’t long and we approach our destination.  There are bulrushes near shore that extend out for the first fifty or so feet and outside of that there are a bunch of old auger holes.  A smile comes over my face and I announce, “We’re here!” 

I hop out of our vehicle and get right to augering holes, as does my friend Vien.  In short order we have a couple dozen holes knocked out, perforating the area.  With that, I’m satisfied to get things going with a perch rod in hand.  I know there are likely lots of pike here, but I am literally too excited to take the time to set out a JawJacker and smelt when there is the potential for perch.  My friend Robyn, who immediately dropped down her tungsten jig with maggots while I was cutting holes, let me know that she’s already had 5 on and landed two.  I can hardly keep it together.

The perch were biting like crazy!

I opt for a tungsten with a piece of meal worm attached to 4 pound line, and drop my rig to the bottom.  Its five feet deep, and I’m maybe 10 feet off the edge of the bulrushes.  Before I have much time to think about anything, the distinct pull on my line brings my senses to laser sharp focus.  At the next pull I lift and up comes a perch.  “Yes!  Cedar, Fraser, check this out.”  I say excitedly.  They run over and celebrate my catch.  In the next fifteen minutes I land another 20 or so more, and of those, several are keepers.  This is as good as I could hope for. 

Getting my perch fix in, I am now calmer, and I lay down my perch rod and stick out several JawJackers with smelts on.  I place two near where I’m fishing, and put another couple off a small weedy point a short distance away.  I don’t think it was even a minute and the distinct sound of a rod snapping into the air, fills my ears.  Quickly Cedar and Fraser are on it.  Cedar grabs the rod, gently removes the JawJacker from the hole and takes her time reeling in the pike. It comes up, and it is a healthy fish somewhere in the 65 to 70 cm range and thick.  Cedar and Fraser are super happy to see the pike.  We keep this fish.

Cedar with a healthy pike.

We reset the JawJacker with another smelt and I get back to the business of perch.  In short order I’m pulling up perch after perch, and then a switch is thrown and absolutely nothing bites.  I have a suspicion that a pike is in the area and the perch have scattered.  Whatever the reason, the silence is short lived and perhaps 10 minutes later the perch are back, aggressively hammering my little jig.  “This is a lot of fun!” I say aloud, happy that we made the trip and took a chance.

A set JawJacker ready for pike.

The JawJackers do not sit idly by, and they start going off like fireworks on Canada Day.  Fraser and Cedar are totally into catching the pike and thump one after another.  The same can be said for everyone that has a smelt on the end of their line.  We catch dozens upon dozens of perch, and probably a dozen or two fat, healthy pike.  The action does not let up and this has everyone happy.  I can’t say how many perch we catch, but it is a lot.   We let most of them go, but keep enough for a good meal for our family, and they are nice, chunky 8 to 11 inchers. 

Pike make great chowder when filleted and deboned, so we keep four pike between 5 and 7 pounds, which is enough to do up a few tasty chowders.  As daylight starts to fade, I know this incredible day, and the red hot fishing we are experiencing, is coming to a close.  It is a truly fantastic trip, fueled by the adventure of taking a shot, going to a new lake in search of the hot bite, which we end up hitting bang on.

A healthy pike for keeping.

I am grateful to share such an amazing outing with my friends and family.  Looking around the ice, it is wonderful to see everyone having a great time, each with their own pile of fish on the ice to bring home.  Even though it is cloudy, the light is starting to fade from the day and I can hardly believe our time is coming to a close.  It feels like we just arrived, and here we are, nearing the end.  “It’s time to pack up,” I tell Cedar and Fraser, and they happily get to the task of packing gear.

There is a pride as they put their fish into a garbage bag for the trip home.  This makes me smile.  I, however, didn’t get enough.  The day went too fast.  Everything was really clicking, so it is me that asks, “Do you guys want to come back again?” A chorus of “Yeses!” fills my ears and I am happy.  I want to come back too!  I tell you, the perch and pike thing bug is real, and has got us good!


 

3 months ago
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