Lessons in Pike Psychology

The day started off promising.   I was boating up the outlet of a small river.   A warm summer day.  The water was like glass, and  I cast my line towards some weeds.

I was rewarded by a movement in the water’s surface.   This wasn’t just a splash, but a large menacing ripple.    (And when you see that, Oh, you just KNOW there’s gotta be a BIG FISH there!)

I reeled in my line, and I felt a modest tug.    Then a slightly larger tug.   (All right!).  I had gotten something!

I was expecting a medium-sized pike.  It was when the line was almost in, and I was getting the net ready, that I realized I had caught TWO fish.   A big one, with a smaller one in it’s mouth.

When I saw the size of the big one, my heart leaped in my throat, and I felt a surge of adrenaline.  HOLY CRAP!!!! This was a monster!!!

Miraculously, the 12-pound line held, and I managed to reel the fish in without losing them.

I still couldn’t figure out where the two had come from, until I got them in the boat.

You see, the smaller hammer-handle was the one I had actually hooked, shown below (albeit somewhat chewed up).  To give you an idea of the scale, the green stripe on the side of the boat is a ruler 14 inches long.  My glove is to the lower right.

The second pike must have been swimming by watching the small one get hooked.   And decided he needed a snack.  So he decided to go for it, and I ended up with a two-fer.

Unfortunately, no one was in the boat with me to take a good photo.  But I did get a snapshot of the Big Guy. Compare his size to the green ruler:  Good Lord, he barely fit in the net.

He was a 34-inch bruiser…with razor sharp teeth, and a mouth big enough to put a fist in.

I whooped and hollered for joy, before putting him back in the water.  (This is what I had come for!  This alone made the whole fishing trip worthwhile!)

But there’s also lesson in fish behavior here.

Lookit the Little Guy.   Look how big the lure is compared to his mouth and his stomach.

Doesn’t matter, though.

MINE.   He says.

Never mind that it’s more than I can possibly eat, he says.  It’s MINE.

And he gets caught.


Okay, that, you can almost excuse.

But what about the Big Guy?

He wasn’t even hooked.   He was merely grabbing onto the Little Guy.

Doesn’t matter, though.

MINE.  He says.

Never mind that he’s being dragged towards a boat, towards a net, towards possible death.

Never mind that he can let go at any time and escape.

MINE, he says.

And he also ends up getting caught in the process.

….Like, Double-DUH.

Case in point, pike can be so freaking STUPID and/or greedy.

But you gotta admire their tenacity.

That’s why I love catching them so much!  🙂

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38 Comments on “Lessons in Pike Psychology”

  1. Karen JL Says:

    Holy crap-o-la! That is one huge fish. So happy to hear you let him go though. 🙂

    I once heard a comedian say this about fish and I think it’s hilarious:

    Ever wonder what a caught fish that gets away/let go says to his fish buddies when he gets back? It would be like us getting abducted by aliens and being sent back. Like, “Dude!! You would not *believe* what just happened to me!”

    It’s so true when you think about it. They have no friggin’ clue what’s up here while they’re living their little fishy lives. Just like we don’t know what’s ‘out there’.

    …cue creepy X-Files music… 😉

  2. Mike Goad Says:

    Interesting story, nice pictures. I’ve not been fishing for years…, and I’ve never done catch and release, unless the fish wasn’t legal to keep.

    Nice catch!

  3. Hey, Friar –

    Them are some nice lookin’ fish! Can’t believe you caught two at once. Nice job!

    What lake is that? It looks beautiful.

  4. Sal Says:

    That is awesome. Let’s see, how can I be more like a Pike?,,,,

  5. Friar Says:

    Maybe that’s what happening to us, when people claim to get abducted by UFO’s. We’re being “fished” by aliens (Insert X-Files music here). 🙂

    Oh, I didnt’ mind letting this guy go…so I can catch him another time. (Besides, I had plenty of the smaller walleye to eat for shore lunch every day!)

    This also happened later in the week (when I was reeling in a small fish, a big pike was following it right up to the boat and he chomped down on it!) Except that one DID get away.

    This was lake Kabinakagami. It’s a huge lake, 25 miles long, in the bush, northeast of Wawa. There are a few fishing lodges on it….but the lake is so big, I hardly saw more than a few boats on the water all day. It’s like I had the place to myself.

    Well, Pike do have some admirable qualities worth emulating. Just as long as it isn’t intelligence. 🙂

  6. Okay, thank you very much! Now I have those stupid seagulls from Finding Nemo chattering away in my head. Mine! Mine! Mine!

  7. Friar Says:

    @Urban Panther

    Oh, I had seagulls too.

    As soon as I pulled the motorboat ashore, and started a campfire, they CAME.

    Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

    Waiting for handouts and fish carcasses.

  8. Steph Says:

    That is the coolest thing ever, catching two fish at once!! Good thing I wasn’t with you: I wouldn’t have stopped exclaiming over that and you would have been like, Uh…yeah. Okay, it’s cool…but you can shut up now!!

    I’m so glad you had such a great time. And the fish’s tenacity? Reminds me of me sometimes. And Lucy. We wants what we wants, even if it means being stupid and suffering the consequences later. It’s the conquest.

  9. Steph Says:

    Geez, reading about your trip, I’m jealous.

  10. Friar Says:


    It’s funny, but the different species of fish have different personalities.

    Speckled trout, for instance, are quite skittish, and would have long since taken off if they came anywhere near a boat in 3 feet of water.

    Or walleye. They’re finicky. You have to often coax them to bite, by jigging your hook up and down. And they’re a bit smarter….they don’t clamp down right away. I’ve lost so many minnows, as they sucked them right off the hook, and got a free meal. Damned Walleyes.

    As for Pike…they might be slow, lazy, inquisitive…but once they decide they want to strike, it’s lightning quick…and WHAM!!! They attack like a cobra.

    You can see this sometimes, when they come up to the side of the boat, following your lure. It’s pretty cool to watch, actually.

    Aww…I wanna go back. (Only 362 more days…sigh).

  11. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar – and your intelligence theory works for the aliens too. You never hear of an investment banker or CEO getting abducted..,it’s always some yokel in a beat up pick-up truck! Only the dumb ones get caught. 🙂

  12. Friar Says:


    And it’s always someone from Alabama….never Rhode Island or Vermont. 🙂

  13. Steph Says:

    I LOVE that!! I love that they have different personalities! I think the pike are my favourite then, the exciting ones!

  14. Beautiful image! Looks so peaceful and lovely.

    Why did you let the big one go and not make a meal or freeze it for a big dinner party?

    I don’t understand the hunting / fishing thing if one is not going to eat it?

  15. Eva G. Says:

    Yes, Friar, tell us why you let dinner back in the water. Is Pike not yummy? Pardon my fishing ignorance…

  16. Friar Says:

    @Jaden and Eva

    To answer your question, yes, Pike is very yummy.

    There are smaller pike in the lake (~ 25 inches) that are just as tasty (in not more so), and they’re much more plentiful. A dime a dozen. Those are the ones you want to eat.

    On the other hand, Big Guys like this 34-inch bruiser are relatively rare. But they’re the most sucessful breeders. These are the ones you want to put back in the lake, to make lots more baby fish, to help sustain the fishing. It would be a crying shame to turn them into a fillet.

    This is why I let the big ones go (so I can come back an catch them again another day, which is 90% of the fun).

    Don’t worry. I had more than my share of fish to eat all week. Nothing like pan-fried pickerel over an open campfire.

  17. Sounds like a wonderfully peaceful vacation. Lake Kabinakagami? You’ve got to be making that up …

  18. Friar Says:

    No, it’s really the name. I couldn’t make that up if I tried…! (You can google it).

  19. Rita Says:


    Umm…yummy. Cool. I got something for you, that I just gave to Cath. Go get a Bible. Don’t Sh*t me, I know you have one that you took from Church one day “by accident.” Go to Genesis (that’s the “bearshit” one). Find Chapter 19, verses 30-38. I picked that out JUST FOR YOU, BUDDY. Sex, sex, sex! (Picture this whole scene all night: you wanna think “fish” but ALL you can think is Gen.19:30-38, Remember, just picture GENESIS 19:30-38. ALL NIGHT. And then try to think fish!

    Oh, and your blog is quite well-written. I’ll see if I can find the sotry of Jonah for you. Now THAT’S a whale of a tale! (Insert NOBODY’S laugh here – I KNOW it wasn’t funny.)



  20. Friar Says:


    Honest to God, I don’t own a bible. (There’s probably one at my Mom’s house….or I can steal one from Gideon next time I go to a motel).

    I’ll have to look up that rerefence. (Sex sex sex).

    I know about Jonah. (Once again, an example of God punishing someone for not toeing the line, eh!?) The old testament was HARSH….! 😦

  21. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Friar – interesting story – and huge fish. I guess people can be like that sometimes. They’ll suffer more themselves to stop someone else having something they want. It’s madness.

  22. Rita Says:

    Harsh indeed – but definitely cool – sex, war, murder, incest, talking asses, people complaining – a lot, destruction, lying, masturbation, rape (NOT COOL), I could go on and on.

    But I’m not religious, believe it or not. I love the way you open your comment “Honest to God…” Now THAT was cool.

    And if you think Jonah’s bad, how about Job? Gee God, take away everything I love, inflict me with every disease, just to TEST how much I love you. HARSH? ayep. Truly harsh.


  23. Friar Says:

    I think that Nature tends to be Right Wing (Forget the democratic sharing or helping other weaker animals). Survival of the fittest….The attitude is “MINE. I get to eat. MINE”.

    Heh. Silly Pike. They even eat their own kind. How’s that for controversy?

    You liked that “Honest to God”, eh? (Hahah. I did it deliberately). The irony was not lost on me.

    Don’t even get me started on the Old Testament. I’m not religious either, I won’t get into it here….but it amazes me how cruelly people were treated back then.

    There’s a great SouthPark episode, where they do their take on the story of Job. Kyle gets an impacted hemorrhoid, while Cartman inherits a million dollars. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know what I’m talking about. (Hilarious!) 🙂

  24. Karen Swim Says:

    Hi Friar! That is one huge fish! Congratulations! As I read about the Pike psychology it sounded suspiciously like human behavior. Every element you cited is so often played out in daily human life. There are great takeaway lessons in this fish tale. Thanks Friar!

  25. Friar Says:


    That fish made my whole vacation. Something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

    Heh heh. Maybe I should write an Inspirational Post: “Life is like Fishing, because…” 🙂

  26. Rita Says:


    Yes, I have seen the South Park episode…but I MUST tell you, I’ve been laughing for about an hour non-stop re: the last comment you left on yesterday’s blog.

    I am a TEACHER, not a PREACHER. I DO NOT “Practice what I Teach” – for God’s sake! Me? Religious? I had to call my husband and read him what you wrote – HE is now lhao as well.

    I am SO SO SO SICK OF THIS “As the Good Book says…” crap – out of the mouth of politicians, preachers, and yes, BLOGGERS. READ THE DANG BOOK! Get your quotes right, and put them in context!

    I believe in “To Kill a Mockingbird” – and “On the Origin of Species” FAR MORE than I believe “The Bible” – which I capitalize so as not to offend those who do. But I don’t go around quoting those books either – or, as the case is – “MISQUOTING.”

    I do, however, think that The Bible – particularly the first 5 books – is an incredibly cool read. AND, I can teach what the Bible says as easily as I can teach what the Koran does – and does not – say. Why? Because that’s what pays the bills, dear! I have to keep up on this stuff, and am CONSTANTLY looking things up. I looked up the citation for that particular passage I humbly request that you read – oh, and boy, do I want you to read THAT. If you think I know this stuff by heart, well…nope!

    As to “The New Testament,” I can baely teach THAT to my students with a straight face! The Gospels contradict eachother, and Paul of Tarsus, who was so full of love and enlightenment was a…I think I’ll stop now. You can read it yourself – after you rip-off the Gideons, that is…

    I need to go pray for my soul now. 🙂 I’ll throw in a note for yours, too.


    P.S. – I am particulary fond of the Christmas poo, myself – as well as Stan’s “Lonely Jew” song, but, to each, hisor her own!

  27. Friar Says:


    In Catholic Mass…they mostly focus on the New Testament stuff. I’m not as familiar with the older stuff.

    Glad you like Christmas! (How about that SouthPark Christmas Special episode, where they all sing musical numbers?) 🙂

  28. Ellen Wilson Says:

    So you let both fish go? Or did you keep the big one?

    Pike are ambush predators. The big one saw the little one thrashing and keyed in on it. But you know that.

    I like to think of fish as intelligent beings. I wish I could eat them.

    Damn! I forgot to take the pork loin out of the garage freezer. I better go do that now.

    Glad you had a good trip.

  29. I love to eat fish. I have lots of good recipes. I am just learning how to eat sushi…not quite warmed up to much raw fish, I’ll eat in is a good resteraunt but I don’t have a placce to get good sushi grade fish around here…

    How do you make your fish Friar?

  30. Friar Says:


    Yep, I let both fish go. I would feel too bad keeping a very big one. It was mostly the 16-inch walleye I ate all week.

    Pike are the best Apex predators, though I think they run mostly on instinct. Fish arent’ the highest on the intellgence scale. Plus lots of fish are smarter than pike (like smallmouth or trout).

    I reckon pigs are way more sentient. (Though I eat both)! 🙂

    On the lake, we cooked the shore lunch over a campfire. Fish fillets lightly coated with a dry batter, and plopped into hot oil, deep fried. Comes out delicious, like crispy fish and chips. (Combine that with pan-fried potatoes and onions, and baked beans and coffee. MMMmmm! Everything tastes good when it’s cooked outside! 🙂

    When I’m feeling less decadent, I’ll pan-fry the fillet by itself with some oil, with simple salt and pepper. Or I might broil it in the oven with a bit of spice on top. Depends on what mood I’m in.

    We ACTUALLY have sushi in Splat Creek. This video store, run by some Asians. They have sushi on the side and it’s actually reasonably decent. (Though typical in Splat Creek fashion, you have to order it before 4:00 PM)

    Which is just GREAT for everyone who workds at the Widget Factory until 4:30. 🙂

  31. Hi Friar, I’m glad you’re back and even gladder you had a good fishing trip!

  32. Friar Says:


    Thanks! Yeah…fishing trip was great..:-)

    Not terribly glad to be back at work. But I’m glad to be back and talking to all you guys again!

  33. Rita Says:


    I don’t like Christmas! I can’t even get up the street to get a bagel around Christmas time because of the traffic. I said I like the CHRISTMAS POO.


  34. Friar Says:

    Mr. Hanky. His wire. And his kids (One of them is called Cornwallis).

    And what about the retarded Hanky kid (with a peanut stuck in his head?) 🙂

  35. Friar Says:


    ..His WIFE.

  36. Ohh Friar,
    So beautiful. Welcome back I am smiling at the breathtaking fish catching wonderfulness. ..

  37. Friar Says:

    @Hi Janice

    I got so many photos…(including some fantastic shots of Lake Superior). I got a years’ worth of watercolor subjects from this one trip!

  38. hehehehe… Rubbing my hands together in happy anticipation…Friar Outside. Canada with a Bear ….stories and pictures to come….yay 😉 I am going to look on the map for this spot.

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