Notable Pike!

Andy Black Pike_01

I think it would be fair to say that I have had my zander fishing head on lately. Now don’t get me wrong, I love fishing for zander, but, for me, the best kind of fishing is stand- up lure fishing for pike. It wins hands down over all other aspects for me, I simply love casting lures for big pike – you can keep the jacks and the doubles – yes, they break up a hard day, but they also break up your lures, and, really, how many of these little guys does anyone need to catch in their lifetime? The good news is that when you are fishing for “big pike”, (when I say big pike I am talking fish over 20lb in weight) then you don’t really get that many small ones anyway – unless you are unlucky like me who’s had 10 fish between 18 and 19-12 so far this year!

But why is the arbitrary number of 20 lbs such a target point for pike anglers? Is a 19-12 less of a fish? Of course not, but it may feel like it at the time – which is a shame and a shows some disturbing psychological traits to think like this – Guilty!

A few years ago Neville Fickling stopped producing his “Notable Pike Anglers” list, in 2017, I understand, which I think was a bit of a shame – as it was an interesting bit of data which is now lost to time. There were various reasons for its demise, but I thought it was fascinating seeing the effort that some anglers put in to catch fish. What was also interesting was the number of 25+ fish in relation to 20’s, and the number of 30’s in total.

Paul Garner 30_01

There was some argument about what was more notable to the anglers in question – was it better to catch a number of 20lbers, or target a lower number of 30lbers. i.e. say angler A caught 100 twenties and 2 thirties and angler B has had 50 twenties and 5 thirties, Angler C has gone to Chew and caught 1 forty, which one should be ranked higher.

Personally I think forties top trump anything, however this doesn’t factor in the angler that has caught a single outsized fish. I think the old saying is true, if you want to know the quality or skill set of the angler you don’t go on their biggest fish, as even I can fluke a 30 every now and again! Ask them what the 10th biggest pike is! Certainly the top tier pikers have a frightening big number of big fish to their collective names. Some like Dave Horton are nearly on 40 Thirties! Wow! I get scared every time I am on a water with Kev Shore because he pulls 30’s out of anywhere. Carl Garrett has got two different 40lb fish to his name, and god knows how many 30’s – that’s some going.

Carl Garrett 40_01

But do these stats make better anglers? That is the question? Someone could simply catch more big pike because they are on the bank more. However, from experience this isn’t the case, anyone that has an impressive number of 20’s and 30’s has put a lot of time and effort into catching these fish, and, without exception, every one of these top tier anglers is a driven and dedicated individual – you simply have to be to put fish like these on the bank. Some are absolutely ruthless in their exploits, and would do anything for the next big fish. Most travel vast distances each year – only fishing waters with a calibre of big fish. Some are specialists in certain methods, some are more diverse in the way they approach pike fishing. But honestly it’s the same faces you see all the time on the big pike waters, which says a lot really.

Maybe now the “Notable list” is MIA, maybe there is room for someone to set up a Pike or Predator Anglers “Hall of Fame”? It has been done for other species, but who would go on it? I can certainly think of several good “Tier one” Pike anglers that should be in it – but what would be the criteria? Number of big pike? Number of waters fished? Number of 30′s from Chew? Contribution to angling? Sex appeal? It becomes vague and confusing and such hall of fame type lists, in all their forms become nepotistic in the end, with Bob from the “committee” nominating Fred who is the “treasurer” for “services to angling” when Fred has never caught a anything above 20lbs, which devalues the whole thing.

Additionally pike angling in particular has a disproportionate number of (for want of a better word) scallywags in its ranks, should these people be included? Are they really undesirable, or just more motivated the rest off us? Who makes that decision? It’s a bumpy old road that one.

In the end there are only a few people who really catch big pike constantly, and only they can tell you why they do it? Fame and fortune are probably quite low down on their list.

But realistically does catching big pike make you happy?

Well, I can honestly say I was just as happy with my first 30lber as I was when I slipped my net under my eightieth!

My mediocre stats for what it’s worth – as of Oct 1st 2020

notable pike_01