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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After recent walleye struggles I decided to head out for a pike quest on the 19th of October. The plan was to fish five days at three different lakes, and that is how things initially started. Some days were definitely tough but I was able to catch at least one pike every day.

First good fish of the trip. Kinda skinny but an 11 pounder none the less.

On what was supposed to be my last day I picked up what was easily the fattest pike I have ever seen. She didn't quite reach 37" and unfortunately she swam out of the net while I was getting my scale out of my backpack. I believe she had to have gone 15 lbs.

Since I was already pretty far from home I decided I might as well go even further in search of some tiger muskies. Day one consisted of 11 hours of fishing for one bite. A little over 35".

Came back the next morning and was able to get my first 40" class tiger, weighing in at 18.21 pounds.

I thought everything went fairly smooth on this fish. I had my big game net with me so I kept her in the water in between getting measurements, weight, and a pic. I couldn't believe it when she initially went belly up on the release. I revived her for a bit before she swam out and again turned up too far from shore for me to get. It was a nightmare and the most awful feeling in the world. As I sat in disbelief some five minutes later something miraculous happened. She suddenly turned right side up and swam right toward me and sat on a flat in a foot of water and started ventilating heavily. I didn't want to stress her out anymore so I just sat and watched, hoping eventually she would take off. I decided I was not going to fish until I see this fish swim off. But she continued to sit, right side up, breathing, for what seemed like an eternity. She had a portion of her back out of the water and the process was taking so long that I didn't want part of her body to dry out. I would occasionally splash some water on her and she would swim for a few feet and then come back up. She began working herself further out from shore but was remaining right on the surface. At this point I was throwing rocks ten to twenty feet away from her so the ripples would spook her to get to swim down for a bit before coming back up. Finally at one point she went down without me instigating. I stood scanning the glass smooth water for an additional 20 minutes waiting for the resurface but it didn't happen. Easily the most stressful fishing situation of my life!! The whole ordeal from when I hooked the fish until she finally stayed down was 2.5 hours! I was emotionally exhausted and decided to call it a trip. I learned a great lesson that day, never give up on releasing a trophy specimen. What a warrior this fish was, overcoming stress trauma that put it on the verge of death.

In addition to the pike and tigers I was able to find a couple other species such as this 17" smallie.

One day while working the shores I noticed occasional schools of splake spawning in their fall colors. There were some nice fish in the 5-6 pound range and I spotted one that had to be 8-10 pounds!! Wasn't able to catch any of the big ones but managed a handful of 17-18 inch fish. Very pretty.

It was certainly an entertaining week of memories and now all I can do is look forward to how the rest of the season goes. Happy fall fishing everyone!
 

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Very cool!
 

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Way to go man!! Sucks when fish don't release well. I had a 36" pike go belly up on me this summer. Tbh, had I gotten out of the boat and hung out with it at shore for a while it might have made it, but at the time I was on a good bite and only had an hour or so left to fish. I put the fish in the livewell and it stayed alive, but belly up. I gave it to a family at the dock that was super appreciative so that was cool I guess. It's definitely disappointing when the goal is to catch and release big fish
 

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I love that you made the effort! It makes me so sad when catch and release means catch and chuck it back. A little effort goes a long way. Glad your lot of effort worked. Great fish too!
 

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Best post in a long time! That's some dedication right there.
 

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Absolutely fantastic report, trip and of course, the fish! Great read. I have had a couple difficult fish to revive. I use a lipper which helps pull the fish from the front, promoting breathing. It's much easier in a boat, but even on shore, if you have waders on, you can move them forward without ever pulling them in reverse which I understand is bad (would love to hear whether or not this is true).

Anyways, great stuff man.
 

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Sweet report and nice fish!
 
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