I would first like to say that the fish that I caught 1/20/10 was immediately returned to the water fully revived and unharmed upon retrieval of my lucky lure and a few photos. The gaff in the pictures was used for size reference only.
Went out on Saginaw bay early this morning to target some walleye. Sat down over 16ft of clear water and picked up my first eye at 9:30am. Fished till noon and didnâ€™t see anything on the graph, through the hole, or on the fish TV. Slooooow morning! Shortly after 12oâ€™clock the walleye began to move in. Picked up my second eye and missed 3 more. One looked to be a good 6-7 pounder. At 1pm the graph lit-up as I watched my lure flutter to the bottom. As I glanced to the TV(1ft beneath ice, pointed down) I could not believe what I was seeing. I had to lean forward and look down the hole to confirm. Yep! Monster pike!!! I watched as the fish slid overtop of my lure and all at once sucked it off the bottom. GAME ON!!!! I lifted darn near to the roof of my shanty while watching the fish slowly lumber off, pulling line. Not fast, ,but steady, maybe 2ft per second. As the fish swam out of view I came to the realization that this is probably not a pike, but rather a musky. Although I have not heard of many musky in the bay, I guess itâ€™s possible. It sure is big though! At this point I figured it would be a good time to pull my second line, transducer and camera from the water. If you could imagine, fighting a fish with my left hand and reeling my second line using the right hand and my teeth. All clear! Now to the next problem. Iâ€™m running out of line, so itâ€™s do or die. I tighten the drag and the fish begins to come back ,but only very slowly. At this point the fish is doing circles around the hole(1 every 10 minutes) with about 50yds of line out. As Iâ€™m reeling, I often have to put the rod tip below the ice to keep the line from breaking. I managed to get him almost close enough to get another look and then he makes another run. Multiply that by a dozen times and you can see that it was impossible to â€œhorseâ€ this thing and it was no quick battle. By now over an hour has passed and Iâ€™ve shed two coats, a hat, unzipped my bibs, opened the shanty door, kicked all my gear to one side of the shanty and lost 10lbs from sweating. Finally I think I have him worn out. The beast is still doing circles and hugging the bottom and now I can see it at 45degrees through the hole. Itâ€™s! Itâ€™s a! Itâ€™s a Sturgeon?????? And itâ€™s friggin huuuuge!!!!. For a fish in these parts anyway. Then it dawned on me.? Itâ€™s lying on the bottom, how will I hoist it 16ft up? Answer; SLOOOOOOOWLY. With some steady pressure, I was able to stand the sturgeon on itâ€™s tail, which caused the fish to swim upward or at the very least become neutral buoyant. I pulled him up for 5 minutes while putting on my gloves and considering that this log might not fit through a 10" hole. Heâ€™ll fit but my hand will not fit in the hole with him. I had to pull his head through the hole with only the line and now the fish is getting heavier. One hand under the gill plate gave me enough leverage to lift a little more till at last I could get two hands under the fins. I then proceeded to slide the â€œRealityâ€ out of the hole, out the door and onto the ice. Removed my lure, took some pics, then held the dinosaur half way down the hole he came from to revive him. After 5 seconds the fish swatted me in the groin and swam to the bottom of the bay no worse for wear.
Length- 61" or 5ft 1"
Tackle- (walleye) pink/white Do-Jigger, 20lbSpiderWire, ice fishing rod & reel
Time fought- 1:00pm to 2:45pm
Catch and release