Does anyone out there have a tame pike? I am very happy to confirm that I indeed do!
Maybe I should qualify that statement in that it doesn’t actually belong to me (or anybody else for that matter). It lives in a one-and-a-half-acre lake in Staffordshire, which was dug out by my best friend, Ken Heath, about fifteen years ago. It is one of five pools situated in a wonderfully wild area and surrounded by some twenty five thousand trees of all types, which I have seen grow from 12 inches to heights of 80 feet or so. It is a totally private place, rarely fished at all, except by Ken, myself and one or two friends. When folk visit the place for the first time, the ambience of the scenery and the comfort of the two log cabins often leaves them speechless (or is that the whisky?)!
The particular pike I have referred to above first turned up about 18 months ago, when I had some 20 or so small roach in a keep-net just in front of one of the cabins. We heard a commotion in the pool margin and, on investigation, saw a pike of 5 or 6lbs with its nose to the net, glaring at the no-doubt petrified occupants! What we didn`t realize was that it had actually bitten two holes in the net and was picking off the escapees as they made a dash for it! When I eventually lifted the net out. what was left of it only contained six or seven fish – the greedy little beggar had mopped up most, if not all, of the rest!
The pike was recognisable by a small whitish mark on the tip of its lower jaw, (possibly caused by the repeated attacks on the keep-net?) and so was obviously the same one when it appeared again on my next visit about three weeks later. This time I had the roach in the plastic inner cage of a bait bucket, but that didn’t deter “pikey” from repeatedly battering it! In admiration of its cheek I killed three or four baitfish and threw them in one at a time. He was slightly reluctant perhaps because we were standing seven feet away, but he ate them all in the end, and when I gave him two more the next morning he had them in a flash! That really seemed to establish the pattern and on most occasions after that he would materialise within an hour of my arrival (and sometimes much quicker!), waiting to be fed. It became somewhat of a party piece for visitors who would watch in disbelief as he gobbled up as many fish as I cared to throw in for him, and he rarely disappointed.
Imagine my surprise, however, when I visited the fishery this spring, having not fished there since the autumn, set up three carp rods and cast them out, and guess what? There he was, pectoral fins twitching and gazing up at me expectantly! And they say that fish have no memory! Well this one certainly does. Naturally, seeing what has now become an old pal, I felt obliged to go and catch him a few roach, which he readily accepted, snapping them up with confidence. It is definitely the same fish, the only difference is that he has lost the white mark and he is also quite a bit bigger now, looking to be about ten pounds. Maybe I should start referring to him as “her” as if he gets any bigger he must surely be a she!
I’ll keep you posted on developments!