It’s throughout these quick bursts of pleasure that fishing additionally will be painful.

When it involves losing a big fish, whether or not it’s on ice or open water, there’s no higher phrase than pain to explain the feeling, no less than in my vocabulary.

I do know that pain.


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I used to be reminded of that once more final weekend, when a fishing buddy misplaced a large pike at the gap whereas we have been ice fishing close to Oak Island on Lake of the Woods.

We’d made the journey to take a look at the new Northwest Angle Guest Ice Road, which I’ve written about on a quantity of events since plans for the street first have been introduced again in November.

It’s been throughout the media in current weeks.

The street, which opened in late January, is a novel and artistic answer to a drawback created by the closure of the U.S.-Canada border as a result of of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reaching the Angle by street, of course, requires driving by about 40 miles of Manitoba. That hasn’t been an possibility for vacationers and different nonessential vacationers since March.

Fishing was gradual, and we had solely two fish in the bucket final Saturday morning when my fishing associate watched a large, purple blip race up on the display screen of his electronics to slam the Chubby Darter lure he was utilizing.

I noticed the hit unfold from my facet of the fish home, and the blip seemed like a 3-foot line of purple as the fish rocketed up from the backside.

This pike positively didn’t have to be coaxed.

The battle of man vs. fish went on for a couple of minutes, and it appeared man would win when he acquired the head of the pike steered up the gap.

Landing a big fish leaves little room for error, so when one of the treble hooks acquired caught on the ice a few inches down the gap, the thrashing pike was capable of shake the lure and slide again to depths.

All we may do is watch in surprised silence – and pain.

The fish was large; simply how large, we’ll by no means know.

One of the most painful lost-fish encounters in my expertise occurred greater than a decade in the past on the Manitoba facet of the Red River close to Selkirk whereas ice fishing for the “greenback” walleyes that swim into the river from Lake Winnipeg.

Ah, the recollections, eh?

Fishing was good, and I’d already landed a walleye giant sufficient to satisfy the 28-inch minimal required for entry into Manitoba’s widespread Master Angler program. That was a dandy walleye, to make certain, but it surely didn’t really feel practically as giant as the one I misplaced later that afternoon.

Of course, fish that get away are at all times greater; that’s an angler’s prerogative.

I had my second rod set in a holder outdoors the moveable shelter during which I used to be fishing. Jigging from the heated consolation of the moveable, I may simply keep watch over the outdoors rod, which was baited with a “saltie,” as Manitobans name the salted shiner minnows which can be bought in practically each C-store and bait store throughout the province, it appears.

I didn’t anticipate a lot from a lifeless shiner on a setline, but it surely was throughout one of these peeks out the window that I noticed the rod buckle over in the holder and the tip begin bouncing.

I ran outdoors, picked up the rod and began reeling, solely to search out the reel was both frozen or seized up.

The reel deal with was locked up stable.

That left me no different selection however to set down the rod and play the fish utilizing the hand-over-hand approach that was the order of the day earlier than ice fishing gear entered the fashionable period.

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That was a big fish, and similar to the pike final weekend, I’ll by no means understand how big. Without the leverage my ice rod would have supplied with a functioning reel, I didn’t have many choices for controlling the walleye, and it acquired off at the backside of the gap.

I’ve misplaced loads of big fish over the years, however for some motive, that one stands out.

No one likes losing a fish, however each angler on the market knows the pain that ensues when the “big one” will get away.

As the outdated saying goes, that’s fishing.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken