Rethink myth of killer pike
WHEN I was a kid, my schoolmates often told stories about a pike in the Bridgewater Canal.
This huge beast had dragged an Alsatian into the water and taken little Gary White’s finger off.
I finally saw Gary and he had all his fingers and, as I grew older, I began to realise that it would be pretty impossible for even the biggest pike to drag a dog three times its size into the murky depths of the canal.
If you ask the experts they will also tell you that pikes’ teeth are just not big enough to take a finger off. Of course a lot of the fables have been spread by the Angry Angler’s Club, cursing these superb predators for stealing their fish.
Pikes can be monsters of the deep, but mainly for other fish, and can grow to more than a metre in length and weigh more than 40lbs.
Generally they are a bit smaller, hitting two feet long and 20lbs on a good day. They are found in lakes, slow-flowing rivers and canals, which have plenty of weeds for them to hide in. Famously predatory, pike hide among the vegetation before bursting out with remarkable speed to catch their prey – fish, frogs, small mammals or ducklings.
Young pike are called ‘jack’ and will eat small fish and small insects and animals. Returning to the same stretch of water every year, pike spawn between March and May.
A large female can produce up to 500,000 eggs.
The pike is a long, slender fish with a narrow, tapered head, large eyes and a large mouth with hundreds of teeth.
It is greenish in colour with darker blotches and stripes.
I like the fishermen who run www.pikeangler.co.uk – they state: “The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain has spent 35 years trying to turn the tide of public opinion towards pike.
“Evidence shows that pike culls are detrimental to the overall population of other fish species in a fishery. When pike are culled, fewer pike big enough to feed on their smaller siblings remain.”
So let’s celebrate the pike and the good work it does. Let’s start a ‘Pike Appreciation Society’ and tell the world what a great service this superb hunter is providing.
To support the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, text WILD09 – with the amount you want to donate – to 70070. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust. org.uk.
●● A pike glides through the murky depths