In an earlier edition of this vaunted column I detailed my quest to cleverly outduel a monster of a fish known as the "Moon Phase" pike. I can freely report to you, my dear reader, that, in the following lines, I am keeping my solemn vow to share with you the details of my most recent efforts to entice, catch and photograph this legendary fish.
Where's the photographic proof, you say? Well, I caution you about jumping to conclusions. Sometimes certain circumstances develop rather suddenly. The result can be a sort of derailment of the intended with possible dangerous consequences. Some would even say life-threatening.
Oh boy, you're thinking, here he goes again with another whopper of a fish tale!
Although not the infamous “Moon Phase” pike, this pike was caught during the full moon.?
No. I ask you, do you know of even a single fisherman who would stretch the truth for the sole purpose of inflating his or her own self worth? Now, back to my thrilling revelation.
As I'm sure my loyal readers recall, I had encountered the Moon Phase pike four times previously during the month of July past. One of these occasions included a rousing meeting between my lure and the gigantic fish of legend just a few yards from my boat. Hooked he was - at least until an exceptionally powerful leap from the deep sent my lure flying in one direction, my splintered fishing rod in another and left me grasping at what appeared to be a dislocated elbow.
The angry presence of this monstrous fish caused a fellow angler who witnessed the extraordinary event to cower in fear on the floor of my boat. It was only upon my repeated assurances that I, and I alone, was up to the task of tangling with this formidable fish, that his blood began to flow once again. Nevertheless, I acquiesced to his rigid demand that he be returned to shore immediately. To my knowledge, he has not set foot in a boat since experiencing firsthand a few terrifying moments caused by the incredible Moon Phase pike.
I, on the other hand, immediately accepted what I viewed as a personal challenge from the toothy predator who, from all appearances, was well on his way to outgrowing his residence of Lake Darling. Netting such a fish would be an impossibility. Getting him in the boat only a maybe. I judged it would be a tight fit. (Perhaps this would be a fitting place to ask you once again if you have ever known of an incident where a truly remarkable angler would even be remotely capable of making even the slightest of alterations to the truth?)
The pike was bestowed the Moon Phase moniker because his fearsome appearances coincided precisely with moonrise or moonset. You could set your clock by it. Armed with that knowledge - and prompted by several nights of perfect sleep interrupted by horrifying visions of a humongous fish attacking with jaws spread wide and moonlight glinting off razor sharp and lengthy teeth - I began to formulate my clever plan to reduce predator to prey.
After consulting numerous other renowned and similarly courageous fishermen, I concluded that the Moon Phase pike would be most vulnerable during the precise moment of moonrise - 6:57 p.m. on Sept. 29. It was also the night of the full moon. In fishing terms that is the equivalent of a high noon confrontation on a dusty street in front of a dingy saloon in a lawless town in the Old West. By all calculations that pike was about to meet his match.
Now I ask you, dear reader, what could possibly go wrong? Kindly allow me to offer some assistance.
As certain events unfolded it became more and more clear that this particular fishing excursion would become shrouded in the inexplicable. However, I will attempt to untangle what might be best compared to a hopelessly tangled backlash.
The famed Moon Phase pike apparently selected my chosen day and time to change his habits. Moonrise came and went without any obvious or otherwise notable appearance from the fish who had previously been maintaining a schedule more reliable than Yellowstone's Old Faithful. My entire staff is feverishly working the problem as I write. It is my suspicion that Old Faithful sputtered far below expectations on that date too.
Quite naturally, it is greatly appreciated that you not share my story with anyone else, lest they erroneously conclude that I'm some sort of sorry angling goofball who has inhaled too many vapors from an aging outboard motor.
For the record, it should be noted that I caught numerous pike before, during and after the appearance of the recent full moon. One fish even snapped my 30-pound test line after a lengthy and fearless battle that brought the immense brute to boatside. Big that fish was, but, admittedly, he was not the Moon Phase pike. Also, the line was frayed and therefore not nearly up to full test strength. My biggest problem was keeping lesser pike away from lures so that the Moon Phase pike would have the opportunity to dine on them.
My angling wisdom now leads me to the conclusion that the next rise of the full moon, at 2:51 p.m. Oct. 29, will actually be the optimum time possible to fool the cantankerous Moon Phase pike. Unfortunately, Lake Darling closed for boat fishing Sept. 30, making the Moon Phase pike unreachable. So, as you can clearly deduce, hooking that fish in the near future is impossible.
However, undeterred and with time on my side, I'll resume my quest of the Moon Phase pike as soon as possible next spring. I have not the slightest worry about whether or not that pike will survive the upcoming spearfishing season. Some poor soul may toss a trident at him but the only possible outcomes are the return of mangled metal or the tragic report of a spearfisherman who disappeared quickly under the ice.
Next spring, perhaps summer, that fish will be mine. Honest.
It is going to be a long winter.