I nearly always manage to miss the pre-spawn pike fishing here in Connecticut, even when I’m trying to find them. It has been a combination of lack of experience, lack of time, and lack of luck. Despite the fact that I sometimes went to likely places, they simply did not produce. It ended up leading to lots of skunking since there’s very little else around to eat a 10 inch fly in the sort of water pike move into in March and April. March 9th, 2021 though finally broke the long lasting bad luck regime- and in spectacular fashion.
It was the first day of the first legitimate warm spell of the year. It was very comfortable out but also extremely bright. Noah and I headed north, but our target wasn’t pike. We did know that pike were a possibility and would be fishing a known pike spot. But I didn’t really think I’d be catching one. Big fish were my target though and I was rocking my new 12wt Heritage rod and Lamson Litespeed G5, far and away the nicest outfit in my possession at the moment. I’d fiddled with the rod a bit in late fall with the 11wt line I bought for it and struggled to cast as well as I knew I should have been. Rather than upsizing the line right away, I instead switched to my 10wt SA Mastery Titan, and damn if that thing didn’t suddenly become a cannon! Even with a 11 foot sink tip linked to the end and a heavy 9 inch Flashtail Clouser tied on I could get all of the fly line and 2 feet of backing out the tip of the rod… that’s a long fly cast- about 108 feet when my leader turned over completely. That’s the exact rigging I was using on this day.
The river was low and clear and this made our main target species (which will remain nameless, for now) less likely to move into the shallow water we were fishing. It seemed like a setup to skunk, but we went through the motions anyway. I was limited by trees for backcast space, but was able to shoot about 60 feet with a really strong haul. This gave me just enough of distance to effectively fish the contour. It was when the fly came up over the drop off that, to my shock, it got slammed by what was clearly a big fish. Despite having fished for very little other than trout and panfish for a few months, I strip set well. The fish made a short but hard run for deeper water and for a while I wasn’t sure what it was. As it got closer though I could tell it was a pike, and a pretty good one. Without too much hassle I was able to slide the fish up into shallow water and tail her. It was a very girthy fish, likely a gravid female, and probably the heaviest pike I’d ever caught.
I was absolutely elated. The adrenaline rush from catching a big fish is hard to describe, but if you’ve experienced it you know how addicting it is. I’d feel high for the rest of the day after catching that pike, and though we left that spot shortly thereafter, the excitement wasn’t over yet. But I need more. I'll always need more.
Until next time,