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Winning pike almost 19 pounds

January 26, 2011 - One less gargantuan, toothy predator is cruising the frigid waters of Addison Township's Lakeville Lake thanks to skilled outdoorsman Mike Pace.

During Saturday's ice fishing contest, sponsored by the Bear Paw Cafe, the Lake Orion resident speared a northern pike that measured 41 inches in length and weighed a whopping 18 pounds, 11 ounces (see photo on Page 1).

"This is the biggest fish I've ever caught," said Pace, who was sporting a huge grin that will probably require surgery to remove.

Using a live minnow as a decoy, he speared the pike at 9:30 a..m. in the middle of the lake, where he estimated the water was about 10-12 feet deep. He used a five-prong spear to land the Leviathan.

"It came in so fast, it was over before I had time to think about it," said Pace, who's been spear fishing for about seven years. "Once we got it out, the first thing I thought was I've got to put it on the wall."

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," he noted.

Pace was fishing with his buddy and teammate Jesse Walling, of North Branch.

This year's monster pike was big enough to win both categories in the contest – largest single fish and most weight per team.

Pace and his partner netted a cool $960 in prize money. With a value of $51 per pound, that's one expensive pike.

A total of 48 anglers participated in Saturday's contest, but none of them even came close to Pace's winning catch.

This was Pace and Walling's second time entering the local contest and boy, what a difference a year makes. "We caught one little one last year," Pace said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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