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Headed to the Arsenal on Sat. morning. I had never caught a pike in my life, so that was my mission...(I was so pumped up I could barely sleep the night before). Got there a little before 8am and headed down to the larger of the two lakes. There were a few folks on the damn, but as I had waders, I chose to get in the water. In my research leading up to this outing, it seemed that a swim bait was a safe bet for getting a pike. I wanted to go bigger, but all I could find at the local stores was a 4" suspending swim bait made by Storm. They do suspend pretty well. Fished for an hour, without much luck (had one short strike a spinner bait), while the people next to me hooked three and lost two. The water on the side you can wade is relatively shallow and with 1-2' of weed growth, so after that first hour, I had a good idea of where the deeper pockets of water were. Finally on a long cast to the deeper water, with a steady retrieve I felt a a mild thud and some heaviness on the line -- not the explosive, mind blowing strike I anticipated, but hey, it's still early in the season. The fish was pretty compliant -- until he was about 20' from me. At that point I got all I could handle and then some, and he even gave a bit of a jump. After about 3 minutes of this get close/erupt game, he allowed me to gently "tow" him near the shore where I could unhook him. Even though he hit the bait on a steady retrieve, he inhaled that bait. I was prepared for the teeth and had the appropriate tools, but this guy did not want to open his mouth. Finally a passer by helped me get the mouth open so we could release him -- but not before my fingers got razored up pretty well. He was about 29" and weighed just under 8lbs -- seemed pretty healthy.

Here's the pic of happy me and my first pike:


Here's the pic of my 2nd pike (slightly larger than the first)-- notice how deep they were taking these swim baits:


Decided I wasn't up to losing a finger and threw on my bread and butter pumpkin seed colored tube jig (4") to try and get a nice bass. 5 casts in, mission accomplished -- 21", very fat, and just over 5lbs:


And if you, like me, were wondering if pike like tube jigs, the answer is a resounding yes:
[img]http://tinypic.com/5kegwh

All in all, a great day. Got all of my fish (4 pike and 1 bass) between 8 and 11am. They weren't horribly "active" as evidenced by the "light" bite, but I'm sure that'll change. It's pretty cool to be 30 years old and be so giddy about catching your "first" of a species... Those suspending swim baits are great for the pike but I recommend removing the bottom treble as it's a bit more weedless in the grass and makes release much easier. (On a side note, these things are lethal on fall bass). You also can't go wrong with a 4 or 5" Krocodile spoon (as I found out).

My apologies for the marathon post, but I finally got some photos to back up my stories ;)
 

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Wait a go Scott...you went after your first one in ever and in Colorado...and managed to get four...not many can say that...

Decided I wasn't up to losing a finger
...reminds me of a story...when we were kids in Minnesota (somewhere around stone wheels being invented) we used to fish for Pike when this feeder creek came into main river...the creek was cooler and was a Pike magnet in August...well the area was also an overnight public campground that didnt charge a fee so it was also a magnet for people traveling through the area...some of them would fish as evidenced by this guy we noticed fishing for bass (he had Florida plates and talked funny)...well he mananged to hook and land about a 5 pound Northern Pike...we were all kind of surprised how he landed it...must of fished for too many bass...yep he lipped it...well we were just dumb 12 year olds but we knew better...that Northern clamped down on his thumb and did that full body side to side shake that Northerns do when they dont want to give something up...which prompted a very southern Suuumb***tch...oh man his thumb was ribbons once he got it out...we all had the horrified gigles that obnoxious children do...
 

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NICE!!
Congrats on the 1st pike!!!

For everytime I see a post on the Rocky Mt. Arsenal, I tell myself, "Myself.... What's wrong with you? Why don't you just get off your arse and give it a try? You know you'll have a blast.... You know those days when you feel the wiper skunk and go for em anyways..... Yep, shoulda done the arsenal."


GRRREEAT PICS MAN!
 

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zman said:
Decided I wasn't up to losing a finger
which prompted a very southern Suuumb***tch...
AAAHHHHHH HAHHAHAAA!!!!!! That was the funniest thing I've read so far today! LOL!! I heard that in my head as I read it... "Suuumb***tch!!" Ahhh hahaha!!

Heard it with the accent and everything.
 

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1eyered...there are just too many places...maybe I can get fired tomorrow and rehired in September...he said hopefully...go check out the Wiper pictures in the Wiper thread in Colorado fishing...and you will have one more added to your list...
 

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1eye -- you owe it to yourself to take one trip out to the Arsenal. There appear to be good numbers of bigger than average (for Colorado) fish, and they're a lot easier to cacth than in many places I've fished in Colorado.

I've been there 2x this year. The first was overcast and about 41 degrees so I didn't stay but about 40 minutes (had to go there to do the orientation), but even then, by pitching a jig-n-pig into the reeds along the boardwalk, I caught a couple of really nice bass (2.5 and 3.5 lbs). The bigger of the two hit while the jig was stuck about 3" above the water on a reeed -- came right out of the water and knocked it free. It's a cool area, because unless you have a boat, you don't get to use that presentation for bass very often.

If you go, I'd use some sturdier gear as the fish are big. I had 20lb. test on my heavy baticasting rods -- worked wonders for yanking the bass out of the cover. Also, the 20lb. mono holds up well to the pike's teeth, though I think a 20lb. fluorocarbon leader would be even better.
 

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zman said:
1eyered...there are just too many places...maybe I can get fired tomorrow and rehired in September...he said hopefully...go check out the Wiper pictures in the Wiper thread in Colorado fishing...and you will have one more added to your list...
I just saw that... I'm shaking as we speak.
 

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Scottdog, don't appologize. That report could have been twice as long, and still interesting! Thanks for including what you caught them on. I was going to ask if you used a leader till I read your 2nd post. :) Great report and Pics !!!
 

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awesome report----i really enjoy the pics, especially when im stuck here at work and am itchin to fish....
 
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beautiful, damnit, i still need to get out there. is the class at 9? i work at 11 saturday so that would be a close one.
 

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I agree with 1eyered that was one of the funniest stories i have heard in along time. im glad i read it I didnt know they did that I just learned a valuable lessen. thanks you may have just saved my fingers one day ;D
 
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