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The sun was shining to the degree that we were almost sweating under our survival suits. A moderate breeze would sometimes caress us, telling us that it indeed is still cold in the air. I had been longing for this day for a few months now; the first spring-day, the premiere of pre-spawn pike fishing. We had deployed our kayaks into a lagoon-type area in southern Sweden, where a large amount of sea water had become partially separated from the sea, creating a lake-like waterbody. This particular area had been scouted by us just a few weeks earlier, and we had spooked a lot of pikes hiding on mosaic-like clay bottoms with seaweed in large gatherings. The depth here was never more than 2 meters, and offered perfect escape for pre-spawn pikes from the still cold and relentless sea.

The water we were floating on was still not above 4 degrees celcius, which was ominous. Was this going to be another day of watching pikes follow, just to shun the lure/fly because of the cold conditions? 

To not spook all the potential pikes, we placed ourselves far up the lagoon and threw in drift anchors. It didn’t take more than a few casts before we both had followers, eyeing the fly/lure all the way up to the kayaks before they spotted us in the crystal-clear waters and fled without a strike. Some pikes were small, but fish up to the five-kilo mark kept on coming up close. Soon enough, my brother managed to lure one into a strike, and following a small fight, he screamed at me with a smile on his lips and showed me the first leech-infested pike of the day. 

The pikes were still very picky with my flies, and I changed multiple times without any major success. A few bites, lost some, but they were all small despite the fact that I had seen bigger fish slowly following whatever fly I put on. Following landing a pike with three, big bitemarks all over its back, I changed my brown and orange fly intended to look like a burbout, and went straight for the firetiger colors. Maybe this fly could force them to bite, if not for feed, then maybe out of pure rival aggressiveness. Fast strips, followed by a drop and rinse and repeat was the general retrieve of the day. But the bites were still poor. So much action, yet so much lack of action. They followed, they bit, they chewed, you managed to hook a few, but they were all smaller male-pikes. What were we missing out on? What was the magical trick that could save this day? 

We took a break; some soup and coffee was more inhaled than eaten. Eager to get back out there, to finally be able to trick one of those bigger individual mamas to take the fly/lure. Sun was still somewhat shining, some clouds covered it now and then. The wind sometimes picked up, but the sheltered lagoon offered good protection. My hands were still suffering from the cold waters from the line between my fingers despite having gloves on now and then to heat them up. 

We went for another drift, and landed some jacks, had some bites and spooked some clay-loving pikes. Suddenly my brother cursed out loud, and I yelled: “What happened?”. I didn’t get an answer then.
In the car back home later, he told me about the big, monster pike that had followed his lure. He had seen it a few meters out, like a log simply drifting behind. 

The size of it had left him confused at what it really was, until it was so close to him that he could see the entire figure. A long, fat pike mom with a neck as thick as his own thigh. As far I as know, that moment haunts him still. 

Another hour passed of this incredible frustrating, yet fantastic pike fishing. Another scream from my brother, this time with a happier message. He had a decent fish at the end of his line. “Do you need my help?” I shouted, and he replied: “Nah, not sure. I think I’m good.”.
I had heard that before. This was most likely not a jack, or he would have been sure. I pulled up my drift anchor, grabbed the paddle and started working. I was soon close enough to the fish to see that, even though it was short, this was an incredible fish. I had never in my entire life seen such a fat pike. I grabbed my net, and failed a few nettings. Anyone who has tried staying in one place with a kayak in any type of wind probably understands the struggle I had trying to net this short beast. I finally managed, and we could grab some photos, and release the future of this lagoons pike population.

 Following this we went for a last drift. I remembered that I had a fly I had been testing for the last year, that would actually fit these conditions. A fly that jumps, darts and skitters around 30cm sideways, upwards and downwards when you jerkstrip it. Maybe this was the key. 

It didn’t take long before I saw the first strike towards one of these. These strikes were nothing like I had seen for the entire day. They went all out to hammer this wounded-fish imitation. Once again, I landed a few jacks during the initial stages of the drift. The sun was about to set, so we didn’t have a lot of time left for fishing. But I felt that I had found the one thing able to incite the pikes to chew down hard. If I could just place this in the face of a bigger one… The hopes were there again.

 Two jerkstrips, drop, three jerkstrips, drop, one jerkstrip – boom! I saw the strike happen, and my heart raced like that of a moose in heat.
A long battle followed. My brother was already stressing his way towards me. “I’M COMING!”, he screamed, but there was no way he would make it in time. As soon as it came close enough I grabbed it by the gill-plates. We took a few photos, smiled, high fived and then headed homewards knowing that this lagoon had so much more to offer, and we would definitely return.