During my 20-plus years as a writer and editor in the outdoor industry, I’ve certainly seen my share of fishing videos – from all seasons – but I can’t ever remember seeing a clip of spearing a northern pike. Check it out below.
Some of my earliest memories of fishing with my dad and grandpa in northern Minnesota involve peering through a 2×3-foot spearing hole. I was too young at the time (4 years old) to handle the heavy spear, but I remember being amazed at the underwater world. It was fun tugging on the spearing decoy line to make the wooden fake swim in a giant circle, hoping to lure in a hungry pike.
At times we used a live spearing decoy, too, an 8- to 10-inch sucker minnow attached to the line with aid of a massive safety pin. I’ll never forget the time a speedy pike raced into the hole and grabbed the minnow without stopping. As the line tore off the wooden rattle reel mounted to the ceiling of the dark house, I stared at my father in amazement. And when the reel stopped spinning, Dad placed the decoy line in my hands and said, “Slowly start pulling back the line; maybe the pike will keep his mouth closed on the minnow and I’ll get a shot.”
A shot. The language is similar for both spearing and bowhunting, another sport I love dearly. On that morning forever ago, the pike dropped the sucker before my dad could toss the spear, but my God was it exciting!
If you’ve never tried spearing northern pike through the ice, I encourage you to do so. The equipment (dark house, spear, decoy, etc.) is so specialized that it makes more sense for first-timers to rent than own. If you love bowhunting whitetails from a treestand, and fishing, you’ll love spearing.
One important note about selective harvest: Spearing often gets a bad rap because some people think it results in the loss of too many big pike. That topic is too complicated to cover here today. But in my opinion, if anglers who spear pike practice selective harvest, the fishery won’t suffer, and further restrictions on spearing won’t be inevitable. Think about it: When a small buck walks under your treestand, you don’t have to shoot it. Likewise, when a pike larger than 10 pounds slips into your spearing hole, you don’t have to spear it. Simply watch the big fish and smile. Target pike that are 5 pounds and smaller; they taste better anyway. There is no catch and release with spearing, so protection of big northern pike starts with knowing when NOT to toss the spear.