Pike have long been the subject of folklore and myths, and are subject to more misconceptions than any other species. The stories told about pike which slaughter ducks or that attack dogs and bathers are endless. Most of these tales are simply superstitious nonsense. I well remember netting a lake which the locals claimed was full of monster pike that supposedly attacked flocks of Canada geese on the water. The final score after netting the whole lake 3 times was 17 pike, the largest of which weighed only 3 lb (1.35 kg).
A large predatory fish, the pike feeds by charging into a shoal of fish, then seizing the one that is slowest in dashing out of its way. The large flattened mouth and sharp teeth of the pike are perfect for seizing hold of smaller fish. The pike is beautifully streamlined, with a large tail and the dorsal fin placed far back along its body. Pike have a tremendous burst of speed from being stationary, but seldom chase their prey over long distances.
The teeth of a pike are hinged to fold back towards its throat, so it is a one-way journey for any fish seized by a pike. Pike usually grab their prey across the middle and turn them to swallow them head first. As soon as the head of the fish enters the pike’s throat, very strong digestive juices begin to work.
When pike tackle large prey, the head of the victim will be partly digested whilst the tail will still be dangling from the corner of the pike’s mouth. Pike will drag down and eat small ducklings paddling across the surface of the water, but it is not a regular occurrence. I have done a lot of pike :v weight and in many waters a pike weighing more than 15 lb (6-75 kg) is a splendid fish. Pike spawn very early in the year, well before most other species of coarse fish. By the time the fry of the other species have hatched and are shoaled in vast numbers, the tiny pike will have grown large enough to feed on them. Pike are solitary fishes and are widely distributed in river and lake systems, but concentrations of them will occur in favoured areas. It is no coincidence that where large numbers of pike are to be found, there are vast numbers of other species on which the pike feed.
Fishing and never once seen this happen. It has been said that pike will not attack tench but this is not true either. The eyes on a pike are positioned near the top of its head so it can observe the water above more easily than the water below. Being bottom feeders, tench are probably not so easily noticed by pike as are midwater feeders.
The distribution of pike is widespread both in Britain and Europe. Often pike are the only species of coarse fish to inhabit fast-flowing, cold, game rivers. Where the pike’s prey is limited to salmon and trout the predators can grow very large. In suitable waters pike can grow to a weight of 50 lb (22-5 kg). The average size of pike is well below this
Pike will frequently patrol the edges of weedbeds or the vicinity of submerged branches or debris in rivers. Occasionally pike will feed madly and locating them is no problem. A pike charging into a shoal of roach feeding near the surface will cause the small fish to scatter in panic