Pike Spearing

PIKE SPEARING Mike Holmes kick starts his propane heater in preparation for a day of pike spearing from his ice shanty on a northern Lake Michigan harbor.Richard P. Smith
Holmes spends a minute getting organized before getting "on stand" in his shanty.Richard P. Smith
A seven-tined spear is prepped for battle.Richard P. Smith
The spear's steel tines are ground to gleaming points.Richard P. Smith
Realistic-looking fish decoys are tied to a length of fishing line and dangled into the ice hole to lure predatory pike. Created to swim as if injured, decoys are typically carved from cedar and have become popular collectibles.Richard P. Smith
Holmes with a hand-carved splake decoy.Richard P. Smith
A sucker and a herring decoy.Richard P. Smith
Once a decoy is lowered into the rectangular-shaped hole, the fisherman tugs occasionally on the attached fishing line to impart action. In late-winter, pike often move toward shallow water to spawn. White beans scattered on the bottom helps improve visual confirmation.Richard P. Smith
Pike respond to different decoys at different times. If there's no action with one 'species,' it's time to switch to another.Richard P. Smith
Herring are a northern pike favorite.Richard P. Smith
From inside the darkened ice shanty, decoys seem to glow. It's strangely similar to looking into a huge fish tank.Richard P. Smith
Northerns sometimes slash and turn on decoys and at other times simply glide in for a look--a prime time to loose the spear.Richard P. Smith
Holmes watches and waits for a pike to glide into view.Richard P. Smith
Movement must be kept to a minimum once the pike appears.Richard P. Smith
Holmes tries to plant the spear directly behind the pike's head.Mike Holmes
Success! This northern lingered just a bit too long under Holmes' ice hole.Richard P. Smith
Holmes carefully records the measurements of all speared pike.Richard P. Smith
The one (of three) that didn't get away. Holmes missed one keeper fishing about 30 inches.Richard P. Smith
Time to give a perch decoy a try.Richard P. Smith
Pike spearing can be sheer drama--anything can happen at any time.Richard P. Smith
At the end of the day--hours of drama and one pike on ice.Richard P. Smith
Richard P. Smith
Mike Holmes calls it a day--and a season as the Michigan spearing season came to an end.

Part icefishing, part hunting, pike spearing provides thrilling winter action for Michigan sportsmen.