I really couldn't think of a clever opening line to this story, the kind that compels readers to share via text, tweet or otherwise convince their electronic friends that they must also share the following content with all their electronic friends, so let me put it this way - there is a monster of a northern pike in Lake Darling that has pushed this fisherman much too far, and I'm determined to even the score.
This fish and I have an adversarial relationship that began earlier this summer. I wrote about this fish briefly a few months ago but deteriorating circumstances have since occurred. I promise you in this election year, this was due to no fault of this writer. Let me explain.
One day earlier this summer I was sitting in my boat on a beautifully calm lake - simply soaking in the sunshine, enjoying the quiet and inhaling the serenity of my surroundings. The fishing was lousy but the outing was one to be cherished, the kind that returns to you in the most pleasant dreams during a well-deserved and lengthy sleep. Then this stupid fish suddenly surges from the water, thrashes violently above the surface and utterly explodes what was a perfect calm. It was only my well-developed fisherman instincts that saved me from tumbling overboard with my very fate hanging in the balance.
The author’s calendar, indicating the precise day and time that he intends to hook, land and photograph the famed “Moon Phase” northern pike.
Now, to put it bluntly, I've dealt with misbehaving fish before. However, I'll admit this one was a bit more bold than any earthly angler should ever encounter. Nevertheless, that cantankerous northern pike literally slapped me in the face with a glove.
Count to 10 and walk away? No way Mr. Pike! I accept your challenge!
After a brief check to make certain my "next of kin" forms were properly filled out, I began pursuit of that boisterous fish. It would be either me or the fish, and I had no intention of hooking myself - although I have somewhat of a history of doing that.
I quietly and stealthily moved my boat to within a long cast of where that fish had so rudely interrupted my pleasant morning. Aha! He struck my lure almost immediately, then let it go and hit it again. He continued swimming toward the boat. Just as I was checking to see how well he was hooked that fish came straight up and rather arrogantly tossed my lure about 20 feet into the air!
I had him and then I didn't! He was big, to be sure. How big I dare not guess, but more on that later in this increasingly riveting saga. Surmising that the brute was destined for an emerging weed bed a short distance away where he could cower in fear from this legendary angler, I reacted accordingly. I could see the wake of the fish as it followed my surface lure toward the boat. Surely I would hook him solid this time!
It didn't happen. That fish simply cruised under my boat and disappeared. It looked like three strikes and I'm out. I tried a variety of enticing techniques to hook get that fish to return, but all was in vain. I, however, have not forgotten the embarrassment that fish has caused me.
A few days later, in early July, I returned to the area where that fish had so boldly issued his insults and challenges. He must have known it was me because, after only a few casts, he showed himself again in a slow swim underneath the boat while my lure fluttered in futility above. From my angle it appeared he was grinning the whole time. Fish can do that - really.
A little more than one week ago I returned to the same spot for the first time in two months. Among the fish caught that evening was an 8 pound, 1 ounce pike that measured 34 inches. That fish also bore teeth marks on its body that were more than a handspan apart. That's when I realized the monster pike that ruthlessly embarrassed me on two earlier occasions must still be lurking nearby. Good grief! Game on again!
It should be noted that on both earlier occasions when that pike showed himself it was timed perfectly with moonset - and I mean to the minute. I'm guessing moonrise, full moon and dark moon all trigger the most nasty intentions of that fish. It's also when he may get a little too careless, throw caution aside and attack my lure. At least that's what I'm projecting will happen.
You see, everything is setting up perfectly for me to hook this moon phase pike. I know where he is. I've tracked him throughout the past few months. I'm smarter and far more clever than he is - perhaps. Anyway, there is a full moon on Sept. 29. On that day I'll be on Lake Darling in the very spot where that fish issued his initial challenge.
Clearly his days are numbered. Soon I'll publish a photograph of this courageous and crafty angler hoisting that magnificent moon phase pike. I'll be savoring the moment and grinning at him, too.
Forget humble. It was that stupid fish that started this.
There you have it. Win or lose - and quite obviously I have no intention of playing second fiddle to a fish-I will gladly share with you the finer details of the outcome. I've already alerted our editor to save space on these pages. Soon I'll be presenting my request for an exclusive "Special Edition" to commemorate the event. Please don't let your subscription lapse. Certainly an epic conclusion is ahead.