This weekend brought a new adventure to me. Being a guy that loves the chase of pike and Muskie, I figured it was time I took the opportunity to experience the art of spearing. While most may think that it's a couple of old Swedes sitting in a fish house putting a few beers down and waiting, that may be the case, however, most spearer’s take the sport rather seriously.
I joined my brother in law, his friend and nephew. I arrived and was treated like a guest... or a rookie. The spear house was already set up with a 24 inch by 36-inch rectangle sawed from the ice, providing a high definition look of the water and structure. A nice weed bed caught my eye to contrast the 8-9-foot depth.
With the heat on in the dark house, I quickly settled in observing my surroundings and asking lots of questions, as this was a foreign sport to me. The shelter of course, pitch black on the inside, with no windows. A heater, and some lines hanging in strategic places for decoys and other attractants. The spears sat off to the side with a return rope tied to the wall.
The object: Decoy a Northern Pike into the area with either a live sucker minnow, a fake painted decoy, made from wood or plastic, or jig spoons. The fake decoys are a form of art I would compare to collecting duck decoys. They can be simple, or fancy. Some of them can reach hundreds of dollars.
So, if a Pike were to swim in, the spear gets placed into the water quietly and a shot is placed on the fish. Preferably behind the head or gills. The spears are a valuable tool as well. According to the experts, there are highly sought-after spears that are designed to travel perfectly through the water with very little refraction, and some spears that are cheaper they don't move so well.
After a few hours of staring down at the bottom of the lake, some action fired up. A small pike cruised through but didn't present a good shot. A few more pike wandering near, but no shots taken.
Hungry for the chance to get one, I ventured out again the next day. This time sitting by myself while my nephew was out catching panfish in nearby holes. I was jigging one of the flashing trout spoons and out of nowhere a pike came from underneath me and smoked the spoon.
He swam off just out of sight and slowly swam back to the targeted area. With my spear in hand, I slowly lowered the point into the water holding it just like a pool cue. I lowered as the fish moved closer and gently gave a shove. Stuck it! Right to the bottom. I pulled it up and removed it from the spear. My first speared Pike. Perfect size for pickling.
It was an awesome experience trying this sport out. There has been a lot of rave over it the last few years. A growing sport. Also, very niche as well. Some of the spear makers and decoy makers are years out on ordering. Don't let that discourage you. There is plenty of options for the beginners out there.
I encourage people to get outside of their box or routine. Try something different. I have been an avid ice angler for several years and spend a lot of time teaching lots of people new things. It was such a treat to be taught and educated by someone else.
Good luck out there. Remember, no ice is safe ice. Please be safe.