Episode 276 : Bucktail Pike & Fraser Chum
Today, the Mercury Marine Destination starts us on the Fraser River in British Columbia, then up to Cree Lake Lodge in Northern Saskatchewan. First, Charlie joins up with long time friend and guide Len Ames from Lens Sportfishing Adventures. 1- 866-991-0287 or www.lenssportfishing-bc.com It is hard to take a break away from the incredible Sturgeon fishery that is the main draw, but when the hard pulling Chum Salmon are hitting, a few hours drifting floats is hard to pass up.
Charlie has been dying to try the new Okuma Komodo wide spool 364 and this is the perfect opportunity. This reel is built with the same high standards as the Komodo, only larger with a silky smooth drag due to the feature that the level wind moves as the drag goes out. So no line binding at all, and this reel has a wonderful drag range with up to 25 lbs of drag pressure should you need it. This was matched up to a Species specific Okuma SST rod that was the ideal length for floats, and it was only minutes before the first Chum Salmon. Taking advantage of the no stretch qualities of the Seaguar Kanzen Braided line, no matter how far back you would let the float go, it was still instant hook sets. 50 lb test Kanzen was perfect for this, not that 50 lb test is needed, but if thinner braided line was used, it could dig into itself under pressure if the line is not wound back on tightly, and with light weight floats, it is hard to wind the line back on tight each time, so the still thin, but thicker 50 lb test ( rather than 30 lb test ) is much better suited. Trust me, the 50 lb test Seaguar Kanzen is still thin and gives extra protection against debris and abrasion, so it is a win, win. The waters fished are usually stained, but not this year, so the invisible Seaguar Fluorocarbon 20 lb test leaders were a welcomed part of the successful set up.
Then, later in the show, up to Cree Lake Lodge for Monster Pike. Cree lake has without a doubt the best fishing Charlie has ever seen for larger than average Pike. Fishing with co-owner Brandon Schreiber, Charlie feels completely at home. Brandon and brother Adam have become good friends, and it is a treat each year to get back fishing with them both. Talk about being right at home for Charlie, even fishing from safe stable 18 foot Crestliner Kodiak boats. 60 hp Mercury motors take you from hot spot to hot spot quickly and gives even more quality time fishing, not eating up half the day in travel like some of the other lodges. www.creelakelodge.com or 306-344-4862.
Time again to put the Okuma Komodo 364 to work. Some days, there is no substitute for the action and pulsation of natural bucktail and the Northland Bionic Bucktail is the first in hand. This large spinner bait is designed for Muskie and large Pike and it quickly showed it works extremely well. With Brandon suggesting the orange and black before I could even ask, it was the chosen one and it was never taken off during the afternoon as one after another, giant Pike was taken on it.
Designed perfectly for shallow or weedy waters, the Northland Bionic Bucktail has two single hooks that keep it from snagging or picking up debris in the shallows. It also made for easier releases without a treble in the mix. The Okuma Komodo is the larger brother to the smaller Okuma series of baitcasting reels and designed for larger lures. The 6.4:1 gear ratio is still fast, but the larger reel takes all the torque out of lures with more water resistance making it a dream to pull and crank larger lures all day long. 50 lb test Seaguar Kanzen is the line of choice, thin, strong, abrasion resistant and absolutely no stretch makes this ideal. The Kanzen is truly a quality braided line that will win you over quickly. With so many braided lines on the market, it can be tough to chose, but this will quickly become your favorite.
Big Pike can be tough on any lure, but ferocious hits from the giants at Cree Lake means you need to go the extra mile. When you see the size of these monsters, you will know what I mean. 130 lb test Seaguar Fluorocarbon leader material is perfect for leaders that will last for days. The big plus with Seaguar Fluorocarbon leaders... they are invisible, no possibility of kinking, easy to tie leaders up as needed, and they are much less damaging to the fish when they roll in a leader. The thicker but invisible Seaguar 130 lb test will not cut in like a thinner more visible wire leader would, great on the fish, and even easy to grab by hand to control boat side releases without cutting your own hands.
When you are up on a trip of a lifetime like this, there is no time for a rain day off, and getting cold and wet can really spoil the fun. Charlie has been relying on Viking raincoats and bibs for years, tough and 100% waterproof. He even uses the Viking Evolution jacket as a base layer for cooler early morning runs under the Tri-Zone coat. The Tri-Zone coat also has a zip out fleece lining for adapting to climates. With the layers in place, no matter what the day brings, you are warm, dry and comfortable and can shed the layers as needed for all conditions. Don't let the stylish look of the Evolution jacket fool you, it is also 100% waterproof. Proper footwear is always forgotten on fly in trips, especially when you are trying to keep the weight of your luggage down. Those who think high end waterproof hikers will do the trick, are quickly reminded when the cool wind from a boat ride across open water sends a cool breeze up your pant leg, or during travel on wet days, the rain is dripping in your sock from the cuff of your rain pants. Charlie always makes room for the Bekina boots, these polyurethane boots are light in weight, cool in the summer and surprisingly warm on the cold days. It just makes sense to stay comfortable and enjoy the trip as much as you can, make room for good boots.
Proper handling of these magnificent trophy Pike is something serious anglers and the owners of Cree Lake Lodge take seriously. They want to protect these fish and use the EGO weigh slings for landing these giants. Much like a cradle, but with handles for weighing the fish without the need for further handling. It is ideal for those who want exact weights for bragging rights. For the times when a few photos are wanted, protect your hands with the Viking cut resistant NBR palm coated gloves, this will protect your hands and allow you a much better grip on your fish to be photographed.