Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Markings show there are less pike than you think

Going back through last season's pictures reveals that these two pike are one and the same.

The giveaway clue is just behind its pelvic fin - the mark like a reversed letter C, with a dot just to the left of it. If you look, you can see it in both pictures.

Pikes' markings are unique, just like our fingerprints. Go back through your pictures carefully - looking at pike you've caught at different ends of the season, or over longer periods of time - and you'll sometimes find a repeat capture or two.

This fish grew from scraping 20lbs in early October, to 23lbs by late February. When I first caught her, she was long and lean with a big head and not much behind it.

She packed some weight on in the meantime, when I think at least one other person I know had her out. Those five months weren't without the odd mishap.

The second time I caught her, she had some obvious damage to her scissors and someone else's trace in her. Neither proved to be fatal.

And if she mades it through the last few weeks of the season and spawned successfully, she might even re-appear this time around - hopefully a little larger.

Here's a close-up of the mark that gives the game away - the reversed letter C and dot.

Look carefully and you can see that they're quite clearly one and the same fish.
One thing we can learn from repeat captures is they sometimes show there are fewer specimen pike in a water than you might think if you just take catches on face value.

At least three of the twenties caught from this bit of water were actually the same fish.

What this illustrates is just how important it is to conserve them. Because there are a lot less of them out there than a lot of people would sometimes have you believe.

If you care about tomorrow's fishing in the Fens, look after the pike you catch today.

1 comment:

  1. How true is that, we really do need to take care of our fish. My son had a river 17 and then 2 months later I caught her at 19lb. I'd love to catch her again one day to see how she's doing, but often there are less caring anglers on the far bank and I sometimes fear their ill care may be the last of her. Plus I've a 22.5lb fish I need to recapture from there too to see how she is. Scary times.