Times have changed

Anglers Mail - - Front Page -

In the old days, and I’m talk­ing pre-1950s, a big pike in­vari­ably ended up in a glass case, or it was pre­sented at the door of the needy, though I dread to think what the needy had done to have to eat a three-day-old dead pike!

These days you would get lynched if you killed a big pike, and be­cause of this, we are get­ting re­peat cap­tures of them. It used to be thought that trout wa­ter pike were very frail and did not sur­vive cap­ture. With the im­prove­ment in han­dling (per­haps the big­gest step for­ward was the heav­ily padded un­hook­ing mat), it is clear that it was poor han­dling that was caus­ing low sur­vival. We now have seen a num­ber of big trout wa­ter pike that have sur­vived sev­eral cap­tures. Un­for­tu­nately, this some­what skews a top 10 of UK pike, and the Wyke­ham fish ap­pears four times in that list. The fact that I can­not catch it is some­thing I’m not go­ing to talk about!

I’d like to make one other point. Fish sci­en­tists sug­gest that pike at around 47 lb are more or less at the limit of their nat­u­ral max­i­mum size. This does not take into ac­count that a 40-pounder could be car­ry­ing as much as 7 lb of spawn and have a 7 lb salmon down its throat. Like any other fish species, spawn and the state of the stom­ach can make a big dif­fer­ence, with 50 lb-plus pike hav­ing been caught from sev­eral con­ti­nen­tal venues.

So let’s look at those top ten UK rod and line-caught pike…

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