“Oh my God, dude, there’s a northern right under your feet,” I gasped.
The big pike lurked up under the large rectangular spearing hole we’d been staring down for an hour, transfixed on our big live sucker minnow decoy. At first only visible to me on the far side, it quickly squirted through the opening, feinting at the bait and spooking it out under the ice. Bill gently slid the business end of his brand-new ice spear into the water.
The pike tracked the sucker, angling for a clean broadside. With the rod tip I slowly guided our swimming sacrificial lamb back under our darkhouse hole, trying to clear that line and the other line to the wood decoy and provide a shot. The long, wide esocid hunted behind.
“Smack him, Bill. Smack him,” Jamie can be heard almost chanting in the background.
And smack him he did. With a firm push, Bill guided the heavy harpoon clean through the top of the fish’s head. Jamie quickly unzipped the door to allow Bill to throw the pike clear of the water, heater, and carefully arranged hut. But that’s when things got even more Western. Bill aimed a tad high with his heave and punched three tines of the spear tip through the doorframe of our buddy Eric’s insulated Eskimo pop-up. Sorry, Eric.
The extraction was not simple with large barbs and an angry, 10-pound tooth tank squirming on the tip of the spear, but Bill managed to rip free and get the pike out into the -20-degree frozen wasteland outside our cozy shelter. Battle cries and victorious high-fives ensued.
Usually when we publish this type of clip, we’ve received it from a reader or listener or just glided past while surfing the polluted waves of the world-wide web. This time it's me laughing hysterically in the background of the video. That’s my good buddy Bill Siebrasse with the expert spear throw and suboptimal egress from the tent. That’s my other good buddy Jamie White with the amazing capture and fortuitous drop of his phone such that it landed pointing perfectly at the mayhem occurring at the door.
None of us, save Bill, had ever tried ice spearing before. In fact, Bill and I had driven over to the nearby marina to purchase the spear, wooden glider decoy, and live decoy that very morning. It was just the thing we needed to reinvigorate a brutal ice expedition that had been partially foiled by yawning pressure cracks, high winds, and deep cold. Though I stared down that hole for the better part of the next eight daylight hours without seeing so much as a perch, I’m already looking forward to the lakes thawing then freezing up again so I can spear my first darkhouse pike.