First-ice Pike

Set tip-ups as soon as the ice is safe for some fast pike action

“That didn’t take long,” my friend Tony said as he pointed out a flag up on one of our tip-ups. We were still setting the last one in our spread of eight Frabill Thermal round tip-ups when we had to stop to head to a flag. My son, Parker, hopped on the ATV with my friend Tony Happ and I to head about a hundred yards down the weedline to the triggered tip-up. My dad, Nate, stayed behind to finish setting the last Frabill. The spool was still spinning as we got to the tip-up. When it slowed, Tony lifted the Frabill Thermal out of the hole and set the hook. The pike on the small farm lake we were fishing are fat, strong, and active early in the ice season. It took Tony a while to land the 32-inch northern. After a couple pictures, Tony slid the fish back into the hole and then lamented that the bucket with our sucker minnows was back where we had come from.

A whistle and a point from my Dad got us back on the ATV to head to another flag up. “We’ll get the bucket and bait up both rigs after we catch this fish,” I mused, and we were off to the flag that was up. Parker, age six, was experiencing his first early ice pike tip-up bite. The smile on his face as we pulled up to our second flag up of the day said it all. It was going to be a great day.

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