|An absolute masterpiece of angling research and writing.|
That I am owner of both volumes puts me in a very elite group of pike anglers.
It was whilst on a holiday, in Ireland, that Dennis was to show his true colours when boating a pike and saying that's a 20! It was weighed, without Dennis knowing, at 14 lbs and so began the era of guestimation by celebrity anglers. I watch many Youtube offerings and remain amazed at the regularity with which decent fish are returned to the water without ever having been weighed. Glib (generally carp, but not always) anglers commenting "it's just a low twenty - a scaper thirty!" Unbelievable - these fish are returned to the fisheries, nowhere near the weight that is claimed and, yet, accepted as such by the angling public who, in turn, do the same. No scales and no cameras - yeah I had a twenty yesterday - where will it end?
Away from the commercial trout fisheries, a twenty pound pike remains a very rare animal. For a wild fish to attain such weight requires a very special set of circumstances. Since 1981 - I have captured just eight fish in excess of this weight and witnessed another dozen, or so. They are truly magnificent creatures which deserve the greatest respect. If 19 lbs were the bench mark? I'd be a champion, (I've had a darn sight more 19's than I have 20's) - I must be one of the greatest exponents of the art, or is it because I weigh all of my fish and have no room for guess work? Jim Gibbinson made similar comment in his 1983 "Modern Specimen Hunting" - he alluding to the fact that guestimation was playing an ever increasing role in fish recording. Quite how many folk would be prepared to guess at a 19lbs 12oz pike is open for debate! You got it - nobody would because 20 is that magic figure to which the vast majority of pike anglers aspire.
|Benno with the first Scottish 20 I'd ever seen.|
Already seeing the modern trend to push the fish away from the angler, thus towards
the camera, in order to make the fish appear larger than reality?
|My very great mate, Tom B, showing all the tricks of the trade - a Loch Awe pike 21 lbs 2 oz|
He couldn't get it any closer to the lens because his arms wouldn't stretch any further
|A lot more years ago; than I care to recall - a small (5 lbs-ish) pike from the Grand Union Canal at Bourne End, HERTS.|
Angling and liars = birding and stringers; I'm confident that there are many other interest groups in which this dubious info can cause a major problem - fortunately I'm out of that loop!