In the pecking order of British wildlife it is debatable who owns the crown of top predator.
Foxes, Stoats and Weasels are perhaps the top mammals while Birds of prey all have their own special skills that would make them contenders.
Underwater in the freshwater fish kingdom there is only one winner though...The Pike!
Since childhood, I've always had a curious fascination with these supreme hunters and as a child I always enjoyed hearing the many myths and legends surrounding these fish.
I find it strange but not altogether surprising that some people seem to have a naive fear of the Pike.
Firstly, as fish go the Pike with it's pre-historic looks is quite a scary looking creature compared to other fish in our waters.
Secondly, some of the legends are actually true! Yes the Pike does sometimes eat Ducklings, as well as Water Voles and just about any other fish that crosses it's path...Including other Pike!
The Pike has always been a persecuted species in the UK...
In the past I've seen anglers cut them off their lines for fear of handling these large tooth 'monsters'.
The owner of a large fishing lake close to my home used to blast basking Pike with his shotgun fearing they would destroy too much of his stocks.
Thankfully this man eventually realized that there is a place for Pike and the lake has now become a well respected Pike fishing venue.
So why do I hold the Pike in such high esteem?
Well I guess for some of the same reasons that some people fear them, with the exception that I believe for these are the exact reasons they should be respected...
The Pike is a true wonder of British wildlife.