What kind of person would do this? That’s the question being asked after the gruesome discovery of a big, freshly-killed pike hanging from a sign at a North West venue.
The carcass was found at Southport and District Angling Association’s Three Pools Waterway by a club member, and the incident has left the association in despair, especially as it has no clues regarding the identity of the culprit.
“The fish was definitely killed on purpose,” the club’s head bailiff, Steve Johnson, told AT. “The back of its head was indented and there was blood around its gills. It was found at about 4.30pm on Tuesday, July 13 and was fairly fresh, so it must have been caught, killed and hung up that day. We have no idea who could have done it or why, but we need to find out so it doesn’t happen again.” The provocative act of hanging the fish for all to see raises the question of whether it was motivated by anti-pike sentiment.
Although outdated and misguided, the anti-pike mindset is still prevalent within certain areas of angling, particularly the matchfishing fraternity, with a number of high-profile matchmen having been linked to anti-pike sentiment or activity in the recent past, including Bob Nudd and Dave Harrell.
“Hanging the pike on the sign was obviously a message of some kind,” said Gord Burton, pike-fishing expert and SDAA club member, “It could have been someone who believes pike are to blame for their inability to catch other species ¬ unfortunately they are still around in certain circles.
“People might try to blame it on the Eastern Europeans who work the fields around there, but if they’d have caught the pike, why would they then hang it up?” he added.
A spokesman for the Pike Anglers’ Club of Great Britain said: “This kind of thing belongs in the Dark Ages. Most anglers now realise that to have a well-balanced and healthy fishery you need pike, and those who don’t think that need educating. That fish could have given anglers a lot of enjoyment, and for anyone to do this kind of thing is simply disgusting”.