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.
Even eminent chartered accountants are known, in their capacity as fishermen, blissfully to ignore differences between seven and ten inches, half a pound and two pounds, three fish and a dozen fish. ~ William Sherwood Fox, Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, 1954