Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pikin' with the PikePicker

Ken's first bamboo pike! (photo courtesy of Ken Capsey)
I was pretty wasted when I got the text from Ken Capsey yesterday morning asking if I wanted to get out in the evening. I was getting ready to head to the gym for my chest workout (huge props to Jessy Amblo for everything he has done for me- more to come on that!!!). At that point I was at 14 days in a row fishing and was getting a bit worn out. I had planned on fishing closer to home on my feet rather than another night in the canoe. Ken convinced me though and I half dreaded it (especially after working out).

I was pretty beat when I headed out the door to meet Ken. As I got closer to the location I started perking up. I was a bit worried that it wasn't going to be as hot as it had been the previous couple of nights. Ken had a new 9 weight bamboo rod from Philip Butterfield to test out. It had never seen a fish and he was itching to get some slime on it. The pressure was on. It was good pressure, but it was pressure nonetheless. 

We talked leaders quite a bit and Ken asked me to show him how I rig up. I gladly complied and set him up with a DP leader. It is a very different way than he is used to but I think he was digging it. I plan on putting up a few videos of the knots I use regularly and how to tie them before too long here. 

The first double of the night!
Things started off slowly. The wind was up and in a different direction from earlier nights. I was a bit concerned. It was pretty bright and we had been casting for half an hour before the first follow. As the light went down things changed.

Dusk really got things started. I got a lil guy (well, not too little- 27-28") and then Ken got what he was hoping for. His first pike on bamboo! He was hootin' and hollerin'! That rod was doubled over on a nice fish. He had such a grin on his face with a snot rocket on the end of that piece of grass! It did a fine job of playing the fish too. A few pics and it was off. 

Not long after that I hooked up with a nice fish. I had to put it on the reel. As I was working it in I hear Ken say "There we go!" and he was tight on another pike. I landed my fish and kept it in the water as I waited for Ken to get his in. I set up the self timer and got a couple of shots of it. Of course while I was dealing with the fish it got me and got me good. Pike have some serious canines as my finger can attest to very well... That was our first double. 
The two pike tooth slices on my thumb 

Bloody cork in hand (my thumb was leaking all over the handle) and I was tossing the bunny bug back out there as fast as I could. Fish were crashing all over the place. We were both getting V wakes behind our flies on a regular basis. Lots of LDR's too or hook and gones... Just amazing fishing. 

I lost my fly and wire to a fish and had to re-rig things. No sooner did I get that done than the same thing happened to Ken. I handed him my rod (Orvis Helios 9wt) and worked on rigging him back up. Ken was pretty impressed with the cannon he had in his hands. It is very light and very responsive. I swear it adds 15-20 feet to the cast of anyone whose hands I put it in. I got the bamboo rigged up and Ken told me to give it a go. It cast really nicely. It took me a minute to get used to the slower, parabolic action, but it felt great and tossed the fly like nobody's business. I was looking forward to having a freshwater barracuda on that thing!
My first and only fish ever caught on bamboo! Awesome! (photo courtesy of Ken Capsey)

Ken put a nice fish in the boat with my rod. We got a couple of pics of that. I think he liked it. 

After that I had maybe a dozen casts in when there was one hell of a swirl and a v wake behind one of Ken's VFG (Vermont Fly Guy) special bunny bugs! The fish just hammered the fly about 20 feet from the boat. I don't think it was more than 10 seconds later that Ken had one on too. Our second double with switched rods this time. Freakin' amazing! A couple of pics of that (including a double dropped fish pic! this is starting to become an unintentional tradition) and we were back to our normal rods.
Double number 2- with switched rods!

Another double and a few more singles rounded out the evening. The place was on fire. It was like one of those nights you read about in magazines. Pike were everywhere and on the prowl. They were hitting hot and heavy. Smash and grab was the order of the day. I would hate to be a baitfish out there... Truly murder and mayhem was ensuing.

There is a sense of awe about being in a place where serious predation is happening. I have been experiencing this activity for about a week now. Knowing that these fish are ambushing other fish in such an aggressive and unrelenting display of predatory behavior is truly fascinating. To be standing there in a canoe in less than 3 feet of water seeing the swirls, the chases, the crashes of these hunters at work is something that I live for. In some ways this has to be like watching lions on the Serengeti, the great whites at Seal Island, big Nile crocodiles feeding during the mass migrations in East Africa. These are our big predators doing their job without remorse. They are living their lives and we are bearing witness to it.

I think Ken summed it up best when he said "DP, I have no words that can explain this".

Ken Capsey lovin' life!

The double drop in action!

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