I was about 11 years old and had just trekked up the hard and frosty track in the (very) early winter sun, side by side with my Dad. It was hard work carrying our heavy tackle over the frozen ground, and we struggled on through the tall grass and stinging weeds towards the stony promontory of flat land that eased itself out into the waters of the glassy smooth lake.
|Fred Buller's superb book on all things Pike|
I think we were after Bream or Roach or some other innocuous, placid shoaling fish. In those days I fished with my Dad on a Sunday for the sport alone. The spot we had chosen was next to a large Willow tree whose delicate gold green fronds trailed into the slack water to our left, and where aquatic debris and algae formed a pretty layered frill between lake water and bank.
As we emerged though the tangled jungle there it was. A huge Pike lurking in the green black slick. Seemingly dead, it's pale white belly was peeking out of the water as it floated upside down in the still water under the boughs of the tree. To me back then, a gangly youth of 11 years, the fish was a monster. Even now it would be classed as a specimen fish by most anglers at over 3 feet long. We guessed that it must of weighed close to 20lbs. A tiddler really though in Pike terms.
|Esox lucius (Northern Pike) grow even bigger than this...|
I have had a fascination with Pike ever since and have devoured numerous books on these freshwater monsters over the interceding years but have never actively sought them out since.
Now I've mentioned before that I don't hunt fish that I can't eat as a rule. But Pike are actually quite good eating. In days gone by thier white flesh would fetch a high price, above that of Salmon and Cod in thier day. And a 6lb Pike is a very worthy meal indeed.
I'm awaiting a much sought after magical gate key this week. One that will gain me entrance to some predator filled waters here...