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Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

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Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby AMJohnston » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:07 pm

Emerson, Gary, Hugh and I were together for a week of fishing for northern pike with Midnight Sun Trophy Pike Adventures. We had a wonderful week of fine weather, great camaraderie, tasty food and (thankfully) uneventful travel. And, of yeah, the fishing was pretty spectacular too.
MSTPA runs a first class operation. This year, 6 guests were in each group of anglers (up from 4 in previous years). The additional 2 guests made for cozier but not uncomfortable accommodations on MSTPA’s 75 foot houseboat (although the additional 2 sleepers made the snoring on the boat quite sonorous at times!).
We fished 5 ½ days. In that time, the four of us caught 51 pike over the magical 40 inch mark on the fly including a 50.5” (Hugh), a 49.5” (Gary), a 48” (me), one 47” (Hugh again), and several 46's. Another guy on the boat had a 50 on the fly.
It was not all peaches and cream: on the second day (the first full day of fishing), two of us nearly drew a blank for the day and the other 2 of us caught only a few fish (although 3 of them were 46”, 45” and 45”). But other days were magical: One day, Gary and I fished a mud hump at the entrance to a lake for 2 hours and caught a 48”, a 46” and 4 @ 44”. Emerson and Hugh caught a 45”, a 45” and Hugh’s 50.5 within the space of an hour one day. On the last day, Hugh and I fished together and caught 23 fish over 40”, including a 47” (in 3 feet of water no less) and a 45” (both by Hugh). The rest were between 40” and 44” and caught in the last 4 hours of fishing on one lake. During that same period, we caught around 40 pike between 38” and 42”. Pike in that range are reputed to be the hardest fighting fish and our sore hands and arms proved the truth of that adage. All the fish were healthy and fat—so fat that it was often hard to estimate their length while they were in the water.
We had fine weather: some rain each day but never for more than an hour. Temperatures were comfortable (although one sunny afternoon, we all got too hot in our waders). And most importantly, we had winds that were moderate at most.
Gear and flies: Each of used the Sage Peacock Bass rod extensively—it is really well suited to this kind of fishing, much of which can take place in narrow sloughs or channels. The rod easily cast the big flies we were using. I had bought Sage’s new Pike rod for the trip and it too was a trooper—able to cast our big flies with one back cast. Most of us paired the Peacock rod with a Rio Outbound short floating line. Rio’s new pike line was perfectly matched with my Pike rod.
For flies, we had both big and small ones (and some in between) depending on the water conditions and color and what was working. A simple short white bunny strip with a red collar is a must have. Emerson turned us on last year to “Candy Gram/Mongo”, a huge fly tied with yak hair or long synthetic fibers that moved a lot of water and the fish found irresistible in some situations this year. I bought some big musky flies from Brad Bohen and they worked like a champ most of the time. And I tied some flies with deer hair and ostrich herl that worked in some situations. The predominate colors were red and white, orange, black (for muddy water) and white.
Gary, Emerson and Hugh will add their own two cents worth I know (and hopefully Hugh will post some of his fabulous photos) but I couldn't get through my first work day back from the trip without posting a report.

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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby Emerson » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:54 pm

Andy summed it up fairly well, without bloviating :lol: arms and hands are not back to 100% as of yet but it is a good pain. Like Andy said, the last day was just one after the other of those pesky 36-38" strong as can be fish. My pics are terrible but I do have one that Hue might not have.

This is a sheefish. They were eating small minnows in a seam and the fly of choice was a red and white flashtail whistler......about 3-4" long skidded across the surface. The fish have soft mouths but we managed a few before the pike frenzy begins. These guys are not common but definitely put a check on your life list.

Due to pike eating habits, our fishing day is 11 AM until 8 PM. The best bite for big fish was usually after 5 PM. The fishery in this remote portion of the Yukon watershed in just incredible.
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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby BlueHeron » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:42 pm

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Awesome report.

Great to read about it. Have already seen a few of Hughs's photos on facebook.
Look forward to stories when I see y'all soon.
Must have been a great time.

E - what's that on your hat?? No resemblance to Raggit.
the bus came by and I got on
that's when it all began

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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby Todd » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:56 pm

Thanks for the reports. Glad y'all had such a great trip.

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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby kendalloz » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:38 pm

:shock: :D

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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby KnotCase » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:25 am

It was a fantastic trip!

Highlights from my trip notes:

On day 1 (our short day on Saturday), I fished with Gary in the rain, He caught a 43 on one of his first casts, and I caught a 40 and a 41.

On Sunday, I fished with Emerson. We went to a place where I had one of my best fishing days ever last year, Alas, things were different - I got skunked and E caught only 1. But we saw lots of wildlife, including moose, porcupine, eagles, cranes, a black bear...

Andy and I fished together on Monday, and we did OK - finishing with a 42 and a 41 in the late evening.

Gary and I caught a ton of fish on Tuesday, but nothing big.

Things really got out of hand when I fished with Emerson on Hump Day (cue Geico commercial here). We fished the prettiest spot of all the places I have seen in this part of Alaska - rolling hills covered in evergreen trees and thick, green grass. The numbers were not that impressive but we had enough action to keep us focused. And we were really waiting for the big girls to wake up. It seemed that big fish bites all came after 5 or so in the afternoon. In the meantime, we worked a "pond" hard to sting all the smaller fish - the under 40s that would out-compete bigger fish. According to plan, Emerson caught a 43 around 5. 10 minutes later, I took a 42. Then E took a 40. And at 5:50 I caught a 45, and 10 or 15 minutes after that I was rewarded with a 49 on a white Candygram. :o At this point, Emerson switched to his own version of the white Candygram, and he caught a 45 at 6:40. Were we done? At 7 our guide said it was time to go, but that we should fish our way out of the pond. No problem. At the mouth, just inside the mud line, E and I dropped our flies 5 feet apart, and a big swirl with a giant tail rolled on my fly. Then Emerson came tight and I thought I was screwed, but I kept stripping and promptly came tight. E's fish came off, and mine stuck. She turned out to be 50.5" :shock: , and we released her at 7:15. What a day!!

It was hard to imagine how things could get any better for me, but they did. I had an extraordinary day fishing with Andy on Thursday. We did not have the drama, but we caught more than 80 fish, and more than half were over 36. By my count, we had 22 over 40! And this included a 47 that ate my fly in a shallow slough that was no more than 50 feet wide, and she ate right next to the boat in a heart-stopping strike.

Here are a few pics - I will try to post more as I get time.
Alaska 2013 (9 of 12).jpg

Alaska 2013 (10 of 12).jpg

Alaska 2013 (11 of 12).jpg
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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby KnotCase » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:40 pm

More pics...

Alaska 2013 (3 of 12).jpg

Here is Gary's 43 from day 1 in the rain:
Alaska 2013 (1 of 12).jpg

This 49 ate the white Candygram (I can't tell you its real name)
Alaska 2013 (8 of 12).jpg
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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby flyinby » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:11 pm

Nice guys!

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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby Timbo » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:45 pm

Great report guys!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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Re: Midnight Sun 2013 Pike Adventure

Postby Cutter » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:56 pm

Great stories and pics. Hugh, I am sorry you wont be in Baja to give the details. I bet E might have a story to tell.
The world is your oyster-
So show up with a knife and know how to shuck.


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