There is a lot of discussion in the angling press and among keen winter pike anglers who are becom
ing worried about the greatly deteriorating level of sport on popular big-sized pike waters.
The opening of several big still waters that were once trout fisheries only, has seen a pattern where pike fishing is good and the fish sizeable when one of these trout reservoirs first starts allowing pike fishing. Then over the space of a few years it becomes much harder to find many pike catches.
I ought to be able to throw some light on this because several years ago I fished Hornsea Mere at least once a week, getting great results with plenty of pike on most trips.
I fished regularly from the beginning of October each year until the last day in February which in those days saw the start of the closed season on Yorkshire waters.
The sport tailed off after a few years and this deteriorating sport seems to be connected with the angling pressure on a water.
Many years of fishing on the mere by only a few well-known anglers was followed by an invasion of pike anglers once the water was thrown open to all instead of a privileged few.
Part of the reason for the decline is that pike, despite their fearsome appearance, are delicate fish that cannot stand a lot of mishandling and in those days few anglers appreciated this.
However, I and other members of one of the early specimen hunting clubs who started fishing regularly for Hornsea pike, began attatching tiny numbered tags to the fish we landed.
We learned that only a comparatively small proportion of tagged fish were subsequently recaptured but the remaining pike retreated to the top end of the mere where fishing was prohibited.
It suggested that the remaining pike had learned a lesson from all the anglers present and retreated into the sanctury area.
It is now up to present-day pike anglers to look into this in depth.