Pike (Esox Lucius)
The pike is a relatively large carnivorous fish found in fresh waters all over the World in the northern hemisphere. Itlives in fresh water, but can also be found in brackish water of the Baltic Sea.
Photo:WikipediaPike are olive green or brownish in colour, with a white belly. The flank is marked with yellow spots contrasted by dark spots on the fins. The pike can grow to well over twenty kilograms in weight and 150 centimetres in length. They can live for more then twenty years. The largest and oldest pikes are always female.
The pike’s bodyshape is much like a barracuda’s, and like the barracuda, the pike is an extremely effective killer. Its long, narrow body makes it incredibly fast at short spurts. And, like the barracuda, the pike has a large mouth full of strong, sharp teeth. The little pike I caught and IThe pike typically spends most of its time hiding among the weeds in shallow water, where it waits for its pray. The pike senses its pray with its lateral line, but the actual attack it guided by eyesight. It aims to strike its prey in the middle of the unsuspecting fish’s flank. Having caught its prey, the pike usually swallows it head first. It has a tongue like sandpaper, and it uses it to turn larger prey around in its mouth, so that it can be swallowed head first.
The pike eats smaller fish, frogs and even aquatic birds and mammals, but it can also cannibalize on smaller pikes.
"The Head of Tuonela’s Pike" inspired by Kalevala, by Pekka Kainulainen and Veikko Tolvanen
The pike also plays an important part in Finnish folklore. In Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, the great wizard Väinämöinen catches a giant pike and makes a magnificent pikebone harp from the beast’s jawbone.
Stories of such giant pikes have endured through the centuries, and still, from time to time new stories come up of giant pikes caught (or more often not caught, just sighted). Officially the World record for the biggest pike caught is 25 kilograms. Here is a link to some more gigantic pikes that definitely have been caught.
The latest story of a giant pike comes from Britain. There they found a foot-long skull of a giant pike. You could definately make a harp out of that jaw-bone!