An Aikens Legend: Two of the Biggest Pike in Recent Years Caught on the Same Day During Opening Week
Jun. 02, 2017
Guess you could say the 2017 season started with a bang. How so? Well, let’s put it this way: On opening day, first-time guest Steve Maas caught a 41-inch, Master Angler pike that didn’t even make the top three for him and his brother, Dave, during their three-day debut at Aikens.
The Minnesota duo specifically wanted to target trophy pike, so after catching a few shore lunch walleyes each day, they turned to spinnerbaits, ciscos and shallow bays in search of giant predators.
A 40-inch bruiser attacked Steve’s spinnerbait within hours of being on the water, but after a heart-thumping explosion mere feet from the boat, the fish swam free without quite connecting with the hook. Not to worry, a few hours later a 41-incher obliged and the Maas boys had their first trophy pike in the books.
Day Two brought more pike, eater-walleyes and even a post-dinner moose sighting on what was a beautiful bluebird day, but no trophies were landed. Then, came Day Three, an outing that Dave and Steve will never forget.
It was another cloudless day and after pounding the north side of the lake for the past two days, the group decided to try the south side of the lake in search of more trophy pike.
Sight-fishing was the name of the game, so Dave stood tall in the front of the boat while his brother casted spinnerbaits to shore and guide Austin slowly trolled along Secret Bay with a cisco under a bobber off the back of the boat. In water just five feet deep, Dave spotted a humongous pike and pitched a soft plastic in its direction. Uninterested, the big female swam off and the crew continued to work along the shoreline until Austin made an ominous declaration, “The bobber’s down.”
Dave took the pole and carefully wound slack while Austin scooted the boat toward the bobber. Then, it happened.
“I set the hook and all hell breaks loose,” Dave said. “It’s so shallow, the fish is almost immediately on the surface going ballistic. We see its size and say, ‘Oh my God.’”
After an intense battle, Dave landed the giant.
“Austin was on his knees to net it, and he says, ‘Look at my hands, I’m shaking,’” recalled Dave, who was also shaking. “Austin then said, ‘This is the biggest fish I’ve ever seen in this lake.’ That’s when I knew how fortunate I was.”
The beast measured 47 inches long, with a solid girth. The group celebrated the fish, the biggest pike of Dave’s life, over a long lunch, then continued chasing trophies with one modification based on the incredible catch: Steve switched from casting a spinnerbait to pulling a cisco as well, this one rigged up on a planer board to space it away from their original cisco line.
Some 15 minutes into fishing again, Dave saw a low 40-incher cruise past his lure and swim under the boat in the direction of the planer.
“All of a sudden, the planer board disappears,” Dave said. “We’re literally going around looking for it, then finally we see it under the water a ways from the boat. You think how buoyant those planer boards are, it’s remarkable for a fish to drag it under like that.”
Steve set the hook, battled the fish, and landed a 41.5-inch trophy, his second trophy of the trip and the second trophy between the brothers in 20 minutes of fishing action on their third and final day at Aikens.
Now, you might think that’s the “too-good-to-be-true” ending to this story, but it’s not. They kept fishing and less than 20 minutes later, Dave set the hook on another giant fish. An epic battle ensued and Dave landed an insanely fat 45-inch pike!
“While the 47-incher was solid, the thickness of the 45-inch pike makes me wonder which fish weighed more,” Dave said. “My best guess is they both tipped the scale at 25 pounds.”
And there you have it. A new Aikens legend, some three days into the 2017 season.
The significance of what the brothers experienced was not lost on Dave.
“Steve has been one of my favorite fishing and hunting companions throughout my life, so it only seemed right that we check out Aikens together,” Dave said. “It was the trip of a lifetime, for sure.”
Editor’s Note: Come back in a couple weeks for another blog about Dave’s remarkable trip, and look for his own articles about his Aikens adventure on OutdoorHub.com.