Friday, November 15, 2013

An unforgettable moment

I just needed to get away. A major problem for me at camp is that I am "on the job" 24 hours a day. If I'm physically on the premises, day or night, then I'm fixing things or solving problems, answering questions or planning schedules, etc. I just needed a break.
So, right after supper one evening I grabbed Sam and headed to a far-off bay where I suspected we would be alone. We were.
I went right up to the mouth of a marshy creek and cut the motor. There wasn't a breath of wind and the evening sun was just high enough to shine over the trees into this secluded spot.
I was far inside the weedline. I had driven slowly right through an expanse of aquatic vegetation to get to a "hole" in the weeds at the mouth of the creek. There was a slight current from the little creek and this had kept the spot free from weeds.
I sat there for a few minutes just soaking up the beauty of the scene. All around us were high hills of jackpine and spruce. I scanned the marsh and shoreline for a moose. Surely at least one was watching us. But if it was, it was well-hidden.
Sam had already picked up the motion of a beaver swimming to check us out. A loon was diving on the outside of the main weedbed, which is where a serious fisherman should also be fishing.
Except for a "bowl" at the mouth of the creek, the whole area looked really shallow. I opened up my tacklebox and selected one of my smallest Mepps spinners, a little #3. It was small enough that I guessed it would readily catch perch which is what I expected were pretty abundant in this spot, that and probably tiny pike.
I flicked it into the "hole" and slowly brought the little spinner back to the boat. As I watched it come in I noticed for the first time that the sunlight was exactly at the right angle to penetrate completely to the bottom. The water was so crystal clear and the light so perfect that it seemed there was no boundary between air and lake. Each aquatic plant reached upwards like a tree. It was like I was hovering above a cathedral forest.
The spinner which I had let run near the forest floor was starting its ascent to the boat. Its golden blade was buzzing along; its little bucktail hook rotating.
It was then I saw the pike. It came from left to right, silently sliding through the forest and heading right toward the spinner. It wasn't the fish I was expecting, not a brightly coloured perch or a slender little pike. It was as big as a log. I estimate it was 46 inches in length and would have weighed 22-26 pounds.
In the polarized light I could see each of its spots, its nostrils, its red-tinted fins.
The pike didn't come zipping to the spinner like it really wanted it. Rather it glided nearer out of curiosity. I instinctively jerked the lure out of the water.
"I don't want you, buddy," I said out loud. "You are WAY too big."
I meant it too. There is no way I could have boated this magnificent fish on the light tackle I was using while surrounded by weeds in all directions. It would certainly have broken my line and swam away with my spinner in its mouth, or worse, in its gills. I would never keep a fish this large anyway. Better not to risk injuring it.
The pike lay suspended for a moment at the spot where the spinner had been, then with a wave of its massive tail carried through to the weed forest on the other side of the hole. The scene, however, of the beautiful creature, the polarized light penetrating the weeds  and my little spinner shall forever stay with me.

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