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It's the grand daddy of all pike 1966

Discussion in 'Sound Off' started by steve ypsi mi, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. I had gotten out of the Air force in oct of 1965 and in the spring of 1966 I think around June I talked my brother in-law into a trip to the Ausable River to Perch and Pike fishing.
    I had been there when I was 18 years old in may of 1958 with a Indian friend named Richard, Richard was raised in the area and knew the Ausable and surrounding area.
    This was below the 5 Channel Dam, Richard rented one of those old steel 14 foot boats and this was really the north country back then.
    The first day out on the river I got in the front of the boat hanging over looking for fish as Richard motored down the river with a 3 1/2 HP evinrude, the water was glass clear and about 5 foot deep in the channel.
    I could see very small fish, about 3 to 5 inches long because the water was so clear I could have seen minnows. as the boat traveled about 1/8 mile I saw a fish swim off the right side of the boat and kept up for a minute or less, I hollered at Richard, there's a giant fish, the fish looked to be a little less than half the length of the boat or 6 feet long, I said that thing was huge. Not a few minutes later another fish did the same thing only this one was at least half as long as the boat, then a third swam along side the boat about 10 foot off the side and it was over half as long as the boat, I said Richard that last one was over 7 feet long, He said they are probably carp or suckers, I said no way would a carp or sucker get that big, Richard said the water was magnifying the size of them.
    Well we were about 1 1/2 miles down the river when Richard pulled off the right side into a bunch of stumps and tied off to one of them, this area was about 1/2 mile square full of these stumps that stuck out of the water about 2 feet, they were spread out every 20 to 50 feet apart. The water was about 5 to 6 feet deep,
    We had bought Perch Minnows at the Dam Store and bait shop just across the Ausable River about 500 Feet where we also rented the 14 foot steal boat..
    We Baited up with 2 hooks and the bobbers set about 3 feet deep, It was just minutes and the 3 of us were getting single and double Perch, I had never been perch fishing until this day, I thought that the perch were run of the Mill size , I measured the bigger ones and they were 15 and Half inches and bigger , the smaller ones were about 10 to 11 inches. , People now would kill to have this kind of perch fishing but at the time I thought this was average. we had caught a bunch of them, over 50 for sure, then The bite stopped, after a few minutes Richard said The pike have moved in and spooked the Perch, sure enough I got a bite and hooked a pike, we caught 8 or 10 in a 30 minute time, none were big, about 26 to 30 inches long, we didn't keep any because Richard said we want only perch.
    We ended up catching around 90 to a 100 but Richard only kept the 13 to 16 inch ones which was about 30 to 35 of them. Richard said we have enough Perch so lets get some Morel Mushrooms, I had never eaten a Mushroom of any kind, We pulled to the bank on the north side of the river just below where it spread out to the flood waters.
    Richard handed me and my friend a Brown paper bag and showed us what they looked like, just took him a minute to find them, he said just spread out about 50 feet so you don't get lost and we started out, we filled those bags about half full in less than 45 minutes and Richard said we got enough. as we motored up the river very slow because that old 3 1/2 evinrude barely made head way against the current I was hanging off the front looking for those Giant fish but I didn't see them again.
    We took our perch and mushrooms and went back to the Dam store where we also rented a cabin, the owner came out to see if we caught anything and I was telling him about those Giant fish, He said they were probably red horse suckers, I said how big do they get because these had the shape of a sucker but were huge, he said about 20 Pounds, I said no way, these had to weigh at least 80 to 150 pounds by the size of them, he said the same as Richard, the water magnifies the size, I didn't believe that.
    Around the cabins there were small pines about 8 to 10 inch's in diameter, on these were Pike Heads nailed up, must have been 15 to 20, some looked like alligator heads they were so big, I asked the owner how much did the bigger ones weigh and he said around 15 to 25 pounds.
    Man I thought that would be the best thing in the world to catch one of those monsters.
    Richard cooked up the perch and the ugly looking Mushrooms, I ate a bunch of the perch but was reluctant to try the fried mushrooms, finally I did, wow were they good.
    We Fished the next day and I didn't see any of the Giant fish going down the river and was beginning to think maybe I didn't see them but no I did see them and they weren't suckers either.
    The second day was copy of the first, ton of perch and those smaller pike, none over 30 inch's long.
    Now back to 1966 8 years later.
    Me and my brother-in-law rented the same old 14 foot steel boat's and motored down the river, I was in the bow and never saw any fish going down river, we arrived at the same area of stumps I had been to with Richard and tied up, we set out our perch minnows and this time I had bought some 8 and 10 inch sucker minnows to try and catch a big pike and set one of the big minnows out with one of those 3 inch red and white bobbers, when we were with Richard we only had perch minnows.
    We weren't catching much, a few small perch, we moved around in the stumps and tried moving again and again, just small perch and a couple of tiny Pike about 16 to 18 inch's long,
    we didn't have but about 3 or 4 perch around 10 inches long and a ton of 5 to 6 inch one's we thru back.
    we had been setting in one spot about a hour or so and every once in a while I would watch the bobber with the big sucker minnow on it , it would stay still then very slowly move off with the minnow pulling the Bobber around. I had not looked at it for about 10 or 15 minutes when My brother-in-law said I think some thing is after it, I looked around and the Bobber was acting erratic, It would tip up then move a little faster than normal, then it stopped, I got tired of craning my neck to watch the bobber, so I turned back to watch the perch Bobber, all of a sudden My Brother-in-law, yelled, its gone under , I turned in time to see the bobber about 10 to 12 inch's under the surface and the Baitcasting rod and reel bent over almost touching the water, I grabbed it and the rod was bent all the way down to the handle like a L shape not the usual c shape, My brother-in-law shouted you must have the granddaddy of all pike, I used my thumb as a drag as the line was steady going out , not blazing speed but steady and we could see that bobber until it got about 50 yards from the boat where we lost sight of it but the line was steadily getting lower on the spool, I said crap I am down to the last of my line, I clamped down with my thumb and said at the same time this is no pike, well I couldn't stop it, I watched as the line got to the last wrap and then a lot of pressure was put on the Rod and the Rod broke at the handle and shot out into the river and shortly after a loud snap the line went, I was shaking, we quickly pulled the line off the stump and went the direction of the last sighting we had of the bobber but couldn't find it or the line
    The brother-in-law said man that had to be a big pike, I said that was no Pike, brand new 25 Pound braided line and I couldn't slow it, it had to be some thing else.
    I couldn't think of another fish that would have that power and would eat a pike minnow about 10 inch's long.
    Off and on over the next years I could still see that Bobber moving a steady pace and the rod breaking and then the line when it got to the end and I knew it couldn't have been a pike unless it was 7 feet long.
    well the years passed and in 1980 I bought a cabin just down from the Five Channel Dam on Pine road, did a lot of fishing and never caught perch or pike again the size I saw in 1958, still thought about that fish when I was on the river then one day the X wanted to take a ride on the Ferry boat that ran the river, as we were riding along the Captain was telling of the area and the logging and tourist stuff , as we rounded a big island he said the fishing is good here, I knew that, we caught walleye around the Island, then he said every once in a while people fishing for pan fish with worms hook fish that they fight for 20 to 40 minutes before they break the line, he said they are sturgeon, I knew back in 58 these were monster's, he went on to say they were trapped in the 1910's 0r 1920's when the dam's were built and they can live for 150 to 200 years old. all I knew about sturgeon at the time was they would eat worms and crawlers, it was about 1995 I saw a show on T.V about Sturgeon in the west and they used big Minnows to catch them, I knew the day I saw that show what I had hooked and drove me crazy for years wondering what I hooked that day in 1966, there was no doubt, A Sturgeon
    All the years I went to the Ausable I never saw the perch fishing and the Morels plentiful, its like scourge hit the area after 1958. Never saw the giants again either in the river section
    The one thing I really regret is not owning a camera in 1958 to have photos of those huge perch and pike heads nailed on the pine tree's