GIANT PA Northern Pike Caught from Kayak
Every year I head to the Allegheny National Forest for a few days of camping and fishing. This year my trip was at the end of September, as opposed to the normal timing of July. The water in the Allegheny Reservoir was still up and the weather was perfect, so I was feeling good about the fishing conditions. I headed out in my Bonafide SS127 with the mindset of targeting Smallmouth Bass. Early into the trip, I heard a very large splash behind me, so I quickly launched a 412 Bait Co spinnerbait (3/8 oz. Chartreuse Shad) with a 2.75” SmallJaw Craw trailer into the wake of the splash and it was bitten as soon as it hit the water! I could tell right away that this was not a Bass and the fear of losing this fish crossed my mind multiple times knowing that I didn't have a wire leader. I felt a huge rush of adrenaline when the Pike made its first jump and I saw the size of it for the first time. After fighting for several minutes, I was able to net the fish and get it into the kayak. I quickly noticed that my spinnerbait was destroyed! On top of that, I somehow managed to catch my hand on its gills so I was bleeding badly, but the fish was landed!
I took some pictures and quickly released the big girl back into the water and watched her swim off strong. This was a new personal best Northern Pike for me by a long shot. I don't target Pike often, so I was unaware that this was a rare size to catch in Pennsylvania. I measured it with my hawg trough which is only 31 inches long, but it is estimated to be around 40+ inches. For comparison, the Pennsylvania state record Pike measured in at 48 inches and 35 pounds!
This was an unbelievable way to start my camping trip and I am still in shock today! I'm glad to have been in the right place at the right time and to have had the opportunity to fight a fish like this and see it swim back where it came from.
I had a GoPro recording the whole time so here is the whole fight from cast to catch!
- John Harley