When I first came to this forest lake in Karelia, it made a depressing impression on me, since it was a kilometer-long oval stretched from west to east with three capes protruding far into it. The rocky shores and the coastal part of the water were littered with fallen trees. And only at the very end of each of the five bays was a three-meter wall of cattails, reeds and reeds.
The weather was not happy either. It was cloudy and very cool. Low, leaden-gray ragged clouds drifted slowly over the lake, occasionally belching a fine, nasty rain. The waves, running on the rocks, noisily beat against the shore and rolled back with a hiss.
But I came here not to admire nature, but to fish. And since there was no boat on the lake (and fishing in circles without a boat is an empty number), I decided to build a raft. Fortunately, there were enough suitable logs around. He fastened together five two-meter logs, attached a seat, made an oar. Needless to say, my craft was unsightly and rather unstable, but it was quite suitable for fishing with circles. On it every day I caught from 6 to 10 pikes weighing from one to three kilograms. I salted some of them, and dried the rest.
On that memorable morning for me, fishing went on as usual. I arranged mugs in a chain on the surface of the water and slowly drifted after them. Half an hour, an hour - not a single bite. I was about to move to the shore when one of the circles turned over and immediately plunged into the water. Since the foam circle is not so easy to drown, it was clear that a large prey had been caught.
I swim slowly, hook the line with the oar and take the circle in my hands. But as soon as I picked up the slack, the fish jerked with such force that the raft banked very dangerously and only miraculously did not turn over. And the fish, meanwhile, in tow was dragging the raft across the lake, so much so that it now and then buried its head in the water. And I could hardly keep my balance.
In the middle of the lake, the fish slowed down a little, and I carefully began to pull it to the raft. And when she made a candle a few meters away from him - she literally jumped a meter out of the water, I was even taken aback, looking at this monster. Not only have I never caught such a pike, but I have never even seen it.
Meanwhile, the fish dragged the raft with even greater force, but now to the left bank. The situation, it must be admitted, has become critical. Because of this frantic race, I could be in the water at any moment. I confess, I even had a cowardly thought: to give up the fight - to quit the circle. However, I hesitated only for a moment, the fishing excitement overcame my fear, and I continued the battle.
I decided to tire the pike. To do this, he pulled the line, made a light jerk, as if pulling the fish towards him. In response, she made a swift throw, and the line could have burst, but I gave up the slack in time, and this did not happen. In the end, I managed to pull the pike to the raft, but what should I do with it next? Strike with an oar? However, for such a giant, it's just a click. True, I had a cover with a tourist hatchet on my belt, but how can I use it?
After another, albeit not so energetic jerk of fish, I decided to try to tow it to the shallow waters of the nearest bay. Having secured the circle by turning the line around the log of the raft, he slowly began to row to the shore. From time to time he stopped and, not giving the fish a break, pulled the line, provoking it to jerks. With such tiny movements, we gradually approached the reed thickets.
A few meters away from them, I securely tied the line to the raft and quietly slipped into the water. The depth was just over a meter. Taking the hatchet out of the case, he thrust it into his bosom and carefully began to pull the pike towards him. Seeing me so close, she shied away and pulled the raft again. But she quickly stopped. I tried again, and as soon as the fish's head was at arm's length, I grabbed the hatchet with lightning speed and thrust it into the pike's head, just above the eyes. The water boiling around her turned red. And I beat and beat ... And only when I was completely exhausted, not paying attention to the trophy, with great difficulty I got to the shore. My head was turbid, my hands and feet were shaking and seemed to be filled with lead. I didn't want to think or move.
I don’t know how long I lay, but when I woke up, it was already getting dark. The first thing I did was look at the lake. The white belly of the pike swayed rhythmically on the waves next to the raft. And although I did not feel well, I nevertheless gathered my strength, pulled the raft into shallow water, somehow perched on it and, with difficulty turning the oar, directed it to the shore, where the tent was. The pike was dragged in tow.
I weighed my catch in parts. The total weight turned out to be a little over 16 kilograms. Every time I look at the hefty head of a pike with a huge open toothy mouth that is now on my desk, I relive the events of the day when I caught this fish.