SANDPOINT — A youthful angler casting for bass in Bonner County caught a 14-pound, 6-ounce northern pike earlier this month.
Courtney Carris, a Seattle resident who summers here, caught the 31-inch lunker near Dover on Aug. 6.
Carris, who was 10 at the time she caught the fish but has since turned 11, said the fish took her drop-shot rig on 8-pound test line with vigor while lingering in the weeds.
“It nailed it,” she said. “It was screaming line.”
Carris eased back on the reel’s drag at the suggestion of her father and let the pike wear itself out for 3-4 minutes. The fish was brought to the surface, although they didn’t have a net.
“We were worried we were going to lose it,” Carris said.
Carris’ father, however, extracted the fish from the water by its eye sockets as though it were lingcod, which have pretty menacing teeth and gillrakers. They started back to shore, but the fish found renewed energy and began flapping as high as the gunwales of the boat.
“It could have gotten out,” Carris said.
Carris said she tackled the fish with a towel and sat on it to make sure it could not escape.
“It was kind of crazy,” she said.
Although the specimen was a far cry from the Idaho state record pike (a 40.13-pound behemoth caught on Lower Twin Lake in 2010), it did yield 4 1/2 pounds of fillet that fed five people over the course of two dinners.
“We fried it up that night,” she said, adding that it was the best-tasting freshwater fish she’s ever had.
Carris said that she’s been an angler for most of her life.
“My dad loves fishing and I love fishing,” who recently returned from a trip to Canada where she horsed in a 42-pound lingcod.
When asked if she would be willing to provide a closer a description of where she crossed paths with her Idaho pike, Carris was blunt but friendly about it.
“I can’t do that,” she said.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.