One of my goals for 2023 was to finally catch a pike over the one meter mark again. Here in Switzerland we actually have some very good lakes to do that but you need to know where, when and how. In my opinion the chances are also way higher with a boat which I dont have so I rely on friends who take me out. For a long time I've been asking Sam to take me out again and finally we found a day that worked for the both of us. I'm always very happy to go out with him, he usually catches the bigger ones than I do but I always learn something new with him and I would say that quite a bit of my catches in the last years were somehow based on knowledge I learned from him.
The day is finally here and we head out on the local lake in the morning, the weather seems kinda promising and soon we throw around our big softlures on the first spots.
The morning passes without much action but tell ourselves that the pike will turn on sooner or later...
For once its me who gets the first decent fish into the boat. For Sam its just another ok pike, for me with way less pike experience its a pretty good fish already. We start to get more bites and it seems that the pikes have started to feed. I make another cast when Sam tells me to be careful as I'm getting my lure close to the nets of the industry fishermen. As he ends his advice I feel something on my lure, set the hook and just feel a heavy weight... I fear that to have hooked a net even if it there feels to be movement at the other end - probably just the movement of the boat. Sam shouts from the other side of the boat that he just seemed something huge on the sonar so I start reeling in, it feels strange but then I definitely feel something alive on my hook. I'm hoping for a monster pike but we soon realize that it has to be a Wels catfish the way it "fights" or better said just casually swims around. I want to get that fish out and off my hook as quick as possible to not miss out on the pike bite but the Wels on the other side seems to have other plans and just keeps swimming. From time to time I manage to get some line back just to lose it again to the next short run, for the rest its mostly just keeping tension and trying to pump it up. After some time we come to the conclusion that the fish is probably bigger than expected. Half an hour in I'm determined to get this fish out or at least to bring it up that far that we can see what it is.
It takes me almost an hour until we first get it close enough to see it and holy moly it's huge! There's no way we will get that into the boat without damaging it heavily as the fish is probably heavier than me and definitely way longer. Luckily we are pretty close to shallow water so our plan is to get it to where I can stand in the water and handle it from there. Sam's first attempt of grabbing it by the massive mouth fails and back down it goes. The pumping is not just heavy on my arms but also pretty boring and I feel bad that Sam misses out on pike fishing because of this action, even though I know that nobody is to blame than this massive fish who had to snack on my lure.
Another landing attempt later Sam is finally able to grab it and I'm getting ready to go into the water. The sonar shows a depth of one meter when I jump in but the water ends up to my chest, I'm not that tall but thats definitely more than a meter of water there.
I'm finally able to grab this monstrous fish by its mouth and I'm between itimidated and impressed. I'm not a big Wels fan but to catch one this big on lure definitely was a cool experience! A few pictures later i let it swim back into the lake, the fish seems tired but not too impressed as it goes straight to taking a nap in the shallows...
I only realize afterwards that it probably was a bit risky to have that massive fish so close to me with the lure plus free hooks still in its mouth but luckily it didnt hook me and swim off...
To not stress it more than necessary we don't take any measurements as our scales stop at 130cm anyways. Comparing pictures of the fish next to the boat and later on measuring that part of the boat results in an approximate length of somewhere between 220 and 240cm. Who would have thought that the biggest fish in my life so far would come only half an hour from home while I mostly travel big distances to go fishing.
Not the big pike we were after but definitely something to remember!
Thanks for reading!