Have wrote this blog for about four years now but fished long before I started with it.And there has been a lot of changes in both fishing methods and in my fishing conduct and scheme of things.
Even if this season has been fantastic in many ways,not least because all imo big fishes landed they have also made me think more and more about pikes welfare after releasing which mean some proper handling of it.
I live in Finland,I fish in Finland and I fish for pike so I'm gonna talk mostly of how I see our fishing culture of pike here but everyone can and should take a break and think about their own fishing and is there something that could be done better.I would be very surprised if the answer would be no.
I have gone through times when every catch was killed and eat while I was fishing with my dad,not because we were forced to,just because it had always been so.My grandpa learned my dad who learned me,the cycle has stopped now when I have tried to learn my kids,especially my youngest daughter who fished a lot with me some years ago,for proper fish handle,And have to say she is very good in for example pike handling,she has never used lip-grips or jaw spreaders,not even when she was ten years old,she's study now so she don't fish much these days but hopefully she will continue with it some day and spreading her knowledge of pikes welfare to her kids.
Pike protection,two words our ministry of fisheries who decide of all fishing probably never heard about even if there has been big debates of salmon protection.
Nothing wrong with protecting salmon,I just feel it's a bit annoying that a land with over 180.000 lakes,a land with 4600 km shoreline has been able to drive our salmon population to the brink of extinction.
Now because of the ongoing discussion something is on way to be done for lake-trouts and for salmon,but what about pike ?? Right,nothing...
So far we have a strong population of pikes but an increasing fishing pressure on many places has made me think that it would be good that some kind of protection should be done already before pike population is in same condition as salmon,sea-trout for example.
Lake-trout is protected for it's spawning time,I think pikes should also be protected for the spawning time,concerned about to see 4-7 boats with 4 anglers in each boat in a small bay where pikes have come for spawning,throwing lures and flies all over disturbing them.
Another thing that concerns me a bit is in how many photos on Finnish sites including posing with bogas,slaughtered pikes and in overall lack of respect for their catch,I can't say that's wrong because it's not illegal,still hoping for some common sense here.Only on couple of sites from eastern Europe including more these kind of photos.
Sweden and UK sites is a example of how I would like to see our sites in future.IMO much better photos when fish has been treated properly.
Anyway,I can't change laws so only thing I can do is to influence my own behavior.
These days you can find a lot of knowledge and information from internet,Youtube is a place you can find information with short film clips included.Nobody are professional from beginning but with right attitude and will everybody can learn proper handling,and because pikes has no laws or rights to protect them it's all up to us anglers and our common sense.
For me treating a pike properly with respect is a lifelong training because I don't think there's just one way to do it.There are some basics which I have refined with pikes welfare in sight,and many things that helps me to.
Lip-grips and jaw spreaders remind me more of some medieval torture device than some helpful tools for any responsible angler.
Unhooking mat,weighing bag,a scale and some good quality pliers belong to basic gear,but I'm using only pliers of those basic gear anymore.
Mostly fishing from kayak or a boat with low sides I have found out that Savagear XL landing net has been an outstanding help for me,when getting the pike near me I just take it into that net,it's so big I don't need to lift the pike from the water,the fish is in a "cage" and usually calm down when I ease the line pressure and it's much easier to handle the fish now.
MY new things for pikes welfare starting from next season is that I'm not gonna measure it anymore,gonna go with three basics,Small,average and big.No more cm or inches for me but gonna give a serious thought for using a glow when landing a fish.
For those who wanna be a part of spreading the word of pike welfare or learn proper handling for pike please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/352288061560645/ and find out what it's all about.
The direction of pike handling is on the way to right direction which is good even if there's still along way to go.
Most of my foreign friends says all the same,we got a wonderful nature,huge potential for fishing tourism,why the hell aren't you making most of it ? Good question…