The sudden scream of a reel and the arching of your rod as you reel in what you thought was a 1lb roach provides the first clue that your catch has been taken by one of the world’s first class freshwater predators, the pike.
The pike's design enables it to make lightning strike bursts of high-speed swimming to ambush unsuspecting prey.”
Where to fish for pike
The pike is an adaptable fish which can be found in canals, rivers, lakes and ponds across the UK.
Pike have large bony heads with prominent forward/upward looking eyes, a broad flattened snout and a large mouth. The mouth contains a fierce arsenal of teeth, with rows of backward pointing, razor sharp teeth in the top jaw and larger needle-like teeth in the lower jaw.
The head is mounted on a long, torpedo shaped body with distinctive olive-coloured upper flanks supporting cream camouflaged bars and spots. Individual marking patterns are unique to each pike, like fingerprints to humans.
A large, broad and powerful tail with rear-ward positioned dorsal and anal fins propels the fish. This provides great speed but limited manoeuvrability.
Pike feed on a wide range of food sources, predominantly smaller shoal fish. Pike are also cannibalistic, sometimes preying upon smaller members of their own species.
They will also prey on insects and amphibians such as newts or frogs in times when their usual food is scarce, and occasionally on small mammals like moles or mice when caught water-borne. Small birds such as ducklings, or even swimming snakes may become a target for hungry pike.
Did you know...?
- The pike's design enables it to make lightning strike bursts of high-speed swimming to ambush unsuspecting prey. Prey capture is quick and efficient. Once close to the prey the mouth is opened rapidly, creating suction that draws the prey into the arsenal of entrapping teeth.
- Occasionally the pike will attempt to catch fish that are the same size or even larger than itself. Unable to either swallow prey of this size or to release it from its mouth, the greedy pike is doomed to die, ironically, of starvation.
- Pike can live up to 30 years of age
- Larger pike are almost always females
- The UK record for the largest pike caught is 21 kilograms