Pike, ambush attack masters

The pike is one of our top fresh-water predators, sleek and powerful, perfectly designed for the ambush attack.

A creature that myths and legends have been based on – although there are some tall tales that even anglers wouldn’t give credence to.

The pike’s fins are set well back on a long muscular body, giving instant acceleration, combined with binocular vision down a ‘rifle sight’ snout to jaws filled with sharp teeth, the pike gives its quarry little chance of escape once engulfed.

Beautifully camouflaged it blends in with its environment – weedbeds, sunken logs – any underwater obstruction that gives shelter to a passing fish could hold a pike.

As match anglers are well aware, pike are very much opportunists and will follow a hooked fish to the landing net in the hope of getting an easy meal. They tend to eat whatever they can easily catch – a struggling roach on the end of a matchman’s line is hard to resist when you are a hungry pike!

Love them or hate them, they have a well-deserved place in the underwater ecosystem, disposing of diseased, weak or injured fish. They don’t empty lakes of fish, but achieve a sustainable balance. They have a purpose and a presence that everyone should try to remember.

They are fragile and need to be treated with care and respect. They aren’t the savage, tough as old boots, ‘bite ya finger off’ fish as their reputation makes believe.

There are many different techniques that will tempt a pike, spinning, lures, jigs, crankbaits, dead-baiting and even fly-fishing.

I prefer the more mobile pursuit with a box of lures, a few spare traces, a net and unhooking mat. The long-nosed pliers and forceps for unhooking fit nicely into a fly jacket’s pockets.

If you are a newcomer and feel unsure about removing trebles - I recommend you fish with an experienced piker for a few sessions, until you gain confidence – it’s safer for you and the fish!