Saturday afternoon from about 3 to dark with a dozen medium sucker minnows, mostly fishing the south side where I had all my action over the 15-foot depth that extends almost from shore to shore.
I started out using a small red hook with no leader under a slip bobber because the lake has bass and I like to see if the fish are biting before I use a rig that could spook 'em. the first hit took the sucker into the weeds and by the time I got the line tight enough to set the hook, it rolled on the surface and bit me off. Looked to be about a 10 lb pike, which still gives me a sick feeling when I think about it.
So I went with a black 9-inch leader and new long-shanked black hook from a package I found in my tackle box. I didn't get a solid hookset on the next one but it fought it up to the boat and then my hook came out with a small half-inch piece of flesh on it. I don't remember that ever happening to me before, although one time on the English River in Canada I was speed trolling a rat-l-trap back to the landing at night and when a small pike hit I jerked its jaw right off.
On the next bite I set the hook and didn't get any resistance, just a dead tooth-marked sucker, so I switched hooks to a new curved-shank bronze model. I missed two more with that, setting the hook and getting nothing but my dead chewed-up suckers back.
By that time I was rehearsing my speech for the World's Worst Fisherman Award. I dug into the bowels of my tackle box and found a medium shank red hook that I sharpened to a razor point and finally, on the last hit of the day, I finally got a good hookset and caught a 5-lb pike. If I don't get out again, it was a good fish to end the year on.
If you've got short, stubby fingers and wear reading glasses, any relaxation you would normally derive from fly fishing is completely eliminated when you try to tie on a fly. ~ Jack Ohman, Fear of Fly Fishing, 1988