It's a spike in pike.
The rise of fishing for northern pike in the harbors on the Illinois lakefront is one notable change on Lake Michigan in recent years.
A prime example came Saturday when Jeff Novak and his 15-year-old son Ryan of West Dundee caught and released many pike, including two imposing ones.
The biggest, a 45-incher landed by Ryan, was caught with a golden roach on a circle hook on an ice-fishing rod with 6-pound line.
``I saw the sonofabitch fly past the hole and I thought, `It's [bleeping] 60 inches,' '' Jeff said.
At that point, he calmed his son with advice from their time steelhead fishing on the St. Joseph River.
``I said, `Play it like you are playing a steelhead, just relax,' '' Jeff said.
His nephew and brother-in-law came in to watch.
``My nephew said it is an alligator,'' Jeff said. ``It was a truly awesome experience.''
The experience came with twists.
Jeff missed the first time he attempted to land his son's fish. On the second chance, he landed her, but she gave the strapping man all he could handle.
``These are big females,'' Jeff said. ``I am putting this back. We practice catch and release. They didn't get big for no reason.''
A bit later, Jeff caught a 41-inch pike on a tip-up.
``While it is no secret, there are plenty of northern pike in the harbor, two trophies of this size on the same day is amazing,'' emailed Jeff's cousin Donald Piorek, who sent photos.