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The pike (Esox lucius) is one of the world’s finest freshwater predators. Find out more about this impressive fish, including hints and tips on how to catch one.

Pike, courtesy of Jack Perks
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While fierce looking, the pike is a very fragile fish and the utmost care must be taken when handling them.
Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager

Appearance: They 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 fins being primarily rear-positioned for fast acceleration. Individual marking patterns are unique to each pike, like fingerprints to humans. This olive and cream colouration helps the pike to camouflage itself, while it lies in wait for its prey.

British record: 46lb 13oz (British record committee 2015)

Lateral line scale count: 110-130

Lifespan: Up to 25 years but 10 to 15 years is more typical.

We like pike because: of their distinct and fierce appearance

How to catch a pike

Pike prefer to hunt by sight and so thrive in the less heavily boated canals. Waters that are clear and weedy suit the hunting style of the pike. A very popular method of fishing for pike is to use a spinner, plug or lure. It's very simple, requires minimal tackle and suits the angler that likes to roam rather than sit in one place.

Pike can grow large so your tackle needs to be strong. Due to the pike's sharp teeth, a wire trace is required between the lure and your main line and a large pair of forceps to remove the hook. As you become more experienced fishing for pike, you can start fishing with live or dead baits. Large pike are nearly always caught using dead bait.

While fierce looking, the pike is a very fragile fish and the utmost care must be taken when handling these fish on the bank and when returning them back to the water.

Where to catch a pike

Pike are common in our waters. All canals, reservoirs and rivers will contain some pike. A 37lb pike was caught from the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal in 2004 and a 42lb pike was caught from Boddington Reservoir in 2010.


Find a place to fish

Enter a town or postcode into our fishery search tool to find good local fishing spots

Last Edited: 22 February 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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