Saturday morning, I started fishing for walleye from our dock and it wasn't long before my 2-year old daughter joined me. As usual, I will cast it out and let her bring it back in. We hadn't caught anything together yet, so when we felt the rod tug I was pretty excited. With my hand behind hers on the rod, we set the hook on, what I was expecting, a small pike. She began reeling it in, but after a few tough cycles, this supposedly small fish started pulling the line out. I took the rod and tried to set the hook deeper thinking maybe this is more than just a pencil neck. We went back to sharing the rod as she reeled some more until my drag started buzzing like I've never seen. It was then that I decided that it might be better if I took a little more control.
I fought with this fish for almost 10 minutes, hoping for at least a glimpse of what we had, and when it surfaced in front of the dock I realized this was going to be trophy caliber. I then called my Dad over, along with his brother, to witness the next few moments. My Dad got our net but only the head would fit in, we quickly realized that wasn't going to work. Before we could figure out what to do next, our neighbour put his coffee down and marched into the water to carry it in. As he gently cradled his hands around and safely into the gills, he gave us the nod that we had secured the biggest fish I had ever seen. We had all relaxed now that we landed it and started walking back to shore when suddenly the pike kicked, snapped my 10-pound test line, and got free of our neighbours hold! We looked at each other in crushing disbelief, thinking it was gone. A few quiet seconds passed as we all stood frozen before I caught a glimpse of its tail. It was swimming around our neighbours legs as a free fish! He reached into the water, wrestled a bit and came up bear hugging and water sprinting toward shore! Panic set in, kids were yelling and cheering, video and pictures being taken if this wild event, when the jack kicked itself free again. Another second or two of stillness, then again, his chest slaps the water as he grabs hold again with a little over five feet to go to the sand. I got into the water now as a backup, but this time it wasn't getting away.
Once on shore we realized this was by far the biggest fish my family has ever seen, and what a memory and story I'll get to share with my daughter and family for many, many years. All said and done, my 37-inch tall, 27-pound girl caught a 46.5-inch, 24-pound northern pike with her Dad in front of Grandma and Papas cabin. Many thanks to everyone involved, James as my net man, TC for fish wrestling and measurements, Charlene for pictures/video, Kevin for keeping everyone around out of the water, and of course, Annaleigh for fishing with me.