On a few occasions I have noticed that pike will follow the carp when you are playing the fish. Last year I had a pike mirroring the movements of the Carp that was on my hook. Right close to the carp, I had problems netting the carp trying to avoid the pike in the net. I managed to do so only for the pike to jump into the net with the draw cord above the water line by around 6 inches. Has anybody else noticed this with the pike at this time of the year? I know the pike are early spawning and wondered if this had any bearing as to why they do so.
With its rows of razor-sharp teeth and predatory instinct, the pike rarely meets its match in the water world.
They are adept at pouncing on fellow fish and have been known to eat voles and even ducklings.
But whether it was over-confidence, desperation or just sheer greed, this 12lb pike decided to gulp down a huge carp – and died trying.
I’m stuffed: Hermitage Fisheries owner David Walker with the pike which choked to death after trying to swallow a 3lb carp
More than it could chew: The 3lb carp got wedged in the pike’s throat as it tried to swallow the fish whole, choking it to death
The 3ft fish was found floating on the surface of a Suffolk fishery with the 3lb carp stuffed down its throat after choking to death trying to swallow its prey.
It is believed to have prowled the murky depths of a pond there for the last 10 years.
Dr Bruno Broughton, a scientific adviser to the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain, said the pike would have ‘choked’ to death because the carp had prevented oxygen flowing through its gills.
He said: ‘This fish wouldn’t have been able to breathe. It took a meal it just couldn’t swallow.
‘In most cases, a pike would just drop a fish if it was too big, but there must have been something in the interaction between these two that caused it to become lodged like that. It’s very rare.’
Agonising end: Pike normally eat fish, but rarely anything the size of this carp, which weighed around three times it’s usual prey
THE PREDATORY PIKE
The northern pike, more commonly known as pike, is a carnivorous, freshwater fish found across the northern hemisphere.
They are often found in murky areas in lakes and streams, which are advantageous environments for them to hunt.
They like to ambush their prey, lying in wait for lengthy periods before striking with lightning acceleration.
Pike usually feed on fish, although they do branch out to water voles, ducklings, frogs, insects and leeches.
The heaviest known pike caught is said to have weighed 68lbs and measured 58ins in length, while the longest ever recorded was 60ins.
David Walker, who owns Hermitage Fisheries in Clare, near Sudbury, was alerted after the fearsome fish was spotted on the water by one of his regular anglers.
Mr Walker, a farmer who has spent 15 years building the fisheries, said he was stunned by what he saw.
‘I went down and I had to get the boat out to row out and see what it was and, to my amazement, it was this 12-and-a-half-pound pike with this 3lb carp stuck down its throat,’ he said.
David Plampin, secretary of Bury St Edmunds Angling Association, said such an incident was almost unheard of.
He said: ‘Pike have been known to eat ducklings and perhaps fish of up to 1lbs, but not anything of that size.
‘Carp do get slow this time of year and it could have been unwell.
‘Pike will usually lay there, wait for their prey to come past and then snap it, but that’s a huge fish for a pike to tackle.’
Mr Walker said the pike could be ‘a bit of a menace’, but was was upset to see this one go.
He said: ‘I think it is very sad because I spoke to two fishermen today who had caught the pike and taken a picture of it because it was so big.
‘It has obviously been content to eat smaller fish, but as it has become braver it also appears to have got greedier.
‘I am really sorry that such a beautiful fish has now been lost.’
The powerful pike, which survived being hooked by at least two fishermen this summer, was close to be immortalised at the fisheries.
Mr Walker asked a taxidermist to stuff the fish so they could be put on display, but, at a £25 an inch, he decided against it.
‘So after a couple of days I had to bury it,’ said Mr Walker. Colin.