We continued around the shoreline and caught more of both species of fish. Some were caught from blind casts that found the right spot. Others were caught sight fishing to a fish and being able to watch as it took the fly.
All of the fish were healthy and strong, with a fight that proved it many times over. The fights were the sort that leave bruises on my chest and sternum. Of course, every bruise was worth it.
Roughly halfway through the trip, I realized we’d already caught enough fish to call the trip a success. But there was still more water to cover!
The bites never slowed or died. The only change was the distance between each fish. Each one of these fish had a unique individuality and beauty to it.
In a deep part of the pond, we spotted a large pike moving slowly through some underwater brush. The fish was neither afraid nor aware of us. A skillful cast dropped the fly in the perfect spot.
Strip, strip, pause. Strip, strip, pause.
The pike’s mouth opened and its head turned in one smooth motion. A hard strip set drove the hook in, and the fight was on!
Andy is an artist on the oars—he kept the boat in position, giving me every chance to land the behemoth.
The fish moved in and out of the branches below. Each branch provided a possible tangle and a chance to lose the fish. My heart was in my throat. The line screamed off the reel and the drag sang.
The fish refused to be brought in easily, but I worked her back up to us. Over and over, she appeared by the edge of the boat to give a glimmer of victory. Each time she darted away again. This was an epic fish—she gave everything she could not be landed.
In time, she could no longer turn down her head to dive. Her valiant fight came to an end, and she slid into the net.
The fish was a solid, thick 32” pike. She is by far the biggest pike I have ever caught. Hollering, cheering and congratulations pierced the thin mountain air.