Kip’s Comments 11-21-20

Northern Pike - Image 661545 (© Kip Ladage)

 

I am Sick About This

During this entire year I have struggled to catch fish. Whether fishing with artificial bait or nightcrawlers and bobbers with our grandkids, I have had an absolutely terrible year of fishing. In fact, for much of the time I have given up even trying to pull a fish from any water.       

Today was different. This afternoon I thought I would give fishing another try. After all, my luck can’t get any worse. I can only improve…right?

On my very first cast my bait was chased, grabbed and a nice northern pike was hooked. After such a long dry spell it was great to hear the drag on my fishing reel zinging as the pike pulled away in the opposite direction from me. Eventually I reeled the northern in and had it secured. After a few pictures and running the stringer through its jaw, I put the fish in the water to keep it alive until I could fillet it. 

Northern Pike - Image 661545 (© Kip Ladage)

Northern Pike – Image 661545 (© Kip Ladage) 

           

Not more than 15-casts later I had a second northern pike on my line. This fish wasn’t quite as large as the first, but it was close. Again my drag sang a song as the fish did its best to get away. Like the first fish, I eventually had this one pulled in, photographed, and on my stringer. 

Northern Pike - Image 661550 (© Kip Ladage)

Northern Pike – Image 661550 (© Kip Ladage)

       

Since I was one fish away from my limit, I thought I would cast a few more times before heading home to clean fish. My two pike were laying in shallow water, safe from turtles since it is late in the season, and almost making me salivate thinking of several meals of fish.     

Then it happened. Both fish, as if they had orchestrated their actions, splashed and pulled in the same direction. Somehow they managed to pull my stringer out from under two heavy rocks and the steel end out from where it was wedged. Sadly the pair succeeded in pulling the stringer free and they quickly began to swim away. I jumped down to grab the end of the stringer but the fish were faster. They were gone…my meals…my first decent catches of the year.     

What really makes me sick is the two fish were secured to the stringer through the lower jaw. Unless they are lucky, the two are still bound close together. I am certain such a predicament will make survival almost certainly unlikely.

I feel guilty that I wasted two very nice fish. The only redeeming thought is that when death occurs, the fish will likely become meals for eagles or other predators. Knowing that does not make me feel much better.           

According to Iowa fishing regulations, I could catch three northern pike today. Instead of starting my count over, or even finishing with one more catch, I packed my gear away and went home. I was too sick to my stomach to fish. 

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