My pet pike
That's right, a pike for a pet. From a very early age I have been
interested in fish, reptiles and amphibians. Like most children I
would visit my local river to try and catch what ever I could. But
from a very early age this was a genuine interest and not something
simply to while away an afternoon.
One day while inspecting the
small gaps where the large concrete blocks joined to make the bank of
my local canal looking for frogs with a friend we saw a small pike
around 4 or 5 inches long. We tried to catch it using just our hands
and stealth but we missed it by miles.
It wasn't the end though
because even as a 10/11 year old I knew that pike were territorial and
that it wouldn't have moved far and that it would be back. Sure enough
that's what happened and a further several near misses later it was
time to go home. But I was going to make some preparations and return.
Next day I took a wire coat hanger and stretched it to make a circle,
this was tied very firmly to a bamboo cane from the garden and finally
a pair of my mums tights with the legs chopped off and tied formed the
net. I then met up with my friend and we returned to the spot where we
last saw the pike. After just a few minutes we found it again and
since it was my net it was my right to have first go at catching it.
Once again the pike proved to be more than a match for me and I didn't
even get close to it before it disappeared. Next it was my friends
turn, so having left things to settle down for about thirty minutes we
quietly set off in search of it again. Once again we found it but
failed to catch it, but a pike was a real prize and worth what ever it
took in order to catch it so giving up was not an option.
of the day and my turn once again, but this time it was my friend who
spotted it and claimed to be in the perfect position to use the net. I
on the other hand still couldn't see it but I was still unwilling to
give up my turn so a compromise was reached. I would hold the net and
follow his instructions. This ploy seemed doomed to fail because even
with the net in the water supposedly very near to the pike I still
couldn't see it.
Forwards - s-l-o-w-l-y came the first instruction
as I looked hard all around the local vicinity but still I couldn't
see the pike. A few instructions later was followed by LIFT THE NET
NOW, so with a quick lunge I did just that and as the net cleared the
water I saw the pike for the first time during this attempt and it was
in my net, we had caught it.
The pike was quickly transferred to a
bucket where we could closely inspect it, I quickly noticed it had a
few Argulus on it as did most of the fish in the canal but these were
simple to remove and those apart the pike appeared in very good
health. I then set off for home with my prize as I neared my house our
entourage grew, all wanting to see the pike and argue about it " it is
a pike" "that's not a pike" " it's to small" and so on.
I had a
pond set up already which consisted of my sisters baby bath which she
had just outgrown and which I quickly claimed for myself, dug a hole
in the garden and sunk it in place, my first pond!!!
already had some stone loach and sticklebacks in it but I didn't see a
problem because they all lived together in the canal after all. Then
after a week or so I noticed that my sticklebacks were very much down
in numbers and I realised straight away why that was. So the rest were
put in a bucket and released back in the canal where they had come
from along with my stone loach and the pike would have to make do with
worms and other insects from now on.
I spent many hours watching my
pike, cleaning the pond and catching food items for it with no real
incidents, then one day I brought some friends home from school to see
it and a few days later the pike was missing!!!
I searched the
vicinity in case it had jumped out but there was no trace of it, next
I went to 'visit' my friends to see if they had somehow acquired a
pike of their own - but if they had it was well hidden.
I only had
it for a few months and even now I look back with fond memories about
it, to this day I don't know what became of it, no one ever admitted
taking it and no trace of it was ever found.