big pike - reindeer lake - saskatchewan
Photo: Steve Zakur

Pike thumb

An honest trade

On a early spring evening, just as the tide goes slack low, you can see bobbing headlamps on the sandbar at the mouth of a certain New England river. Packed into tight groups the anglers will be sharing stories of the outgoing. If all went well, headlamps will be focused on the roughened pads of thumbs. Lipping stripers during a good evening eventually scours the thumb to the texture of well used sand paper. The same happens on a good day of largemouth or smallmouth fishing. Bass thumb isn’t a problem, it’s a badge of honor.

view from the turboprop over sub-arctic canada
Photo: Chris Hunt

Anticipation

Seeking pike in the remote, Canadian sub-Arctic

The charter terminal at the Winnipeg Airport is manic this morning. We’re part of a group of anglers awaiting the conclusion of a long journey—one more flight on a tough little turboprop, and we’re there.

Reindeer Lake.

The guys mill around the terminal, watching as the crew weighs and organizes a cargo hold burgeoning with fishing gear. One rod case is a good 12 feet long, spurring me to remark to my buddy Mike, “Who’s fishing with the pole vault?”

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