Pike of a Lifetime: Ice Fishing Frustration and Glory

"The special thing about fishing is...that you never know when the fish of a lifetime takes your bait." Warning: big pike ahead.

The first time you glimpse a truly huge fish at the end of your line is an exciting moment. Maybe a scary moment too.

You instantly get a little scared that you might lose it. "Please don't get off. Please don't get off." That's the prayer you mutter in between repeated "Whoa!"s and "Oh man! Oh man! Oh man!".

That excitement and fear seems even more palpable when you're ice fishing. "She's bigger than the hole! How am I going to get her through the hole?!"

I know this to be true, because I've had this dream of catching a giant pike through the ice ever since I was a kid. A 26-pound-plus pike, to be exact, that's my dream. I haven't fulfilled that dream yet, but videos like this keep the fire burning.

I'm a fan of FreeWater Pictures. These guys put out some of the most watchable and scenic fishing films on the planet. And the fish they catch! Big pike and huge perch!

This mashup of some scenes from this year's ice fishing includes some really nice northern pike, some predictable bellyaching when the fish aren't cooperating, and a massive, sagging belly, monster pike caught with all of the excitement and giddy fear anglers feel when really a big fish is on the end of the line.

How can you help but live vicariously through the capture and release of this pike of a lifetime. The big northern apparently weighed a shade over 32 pounds. My 26+ pound dream pike seems more attainable now. Maybe this will be the year!