Wednesday, 9th September, 2015 10:07am
The catch of a very large pike on Lough Derg by an angler in Killaloe has sparked an animated discussion among local fishing folk about the growth rates of such fish.
Kevin Grimes (pictured with his catch), a member of Saint Flannan’s Fishing Club, Killaloe, caught a massive pike weighing just over 22lbs (10 kilograms) while fishing in the Lower Shannon in a spot close to the Ardclooney River, downstream of the bridge at Ballina-Killaloe.
When he brought the fish on board his boat he noticed that it had an identification tag attached to it.
Before releasing the fish he took the details from the tag and subsequently contacted the Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) staff in Limerick to ascertain when the tag was put on the fish.
On checking their records the IFI was able to confirm that the pike had been tagged six years and two months previously. At the time it weighed just 3½lbs (1.65 kilograms).
The fact that it increased massively in weight – by almost 19lbs – in the space of six years has left anglers all around the lake speculating on the growth rate of pike in Lough Derg, a water body believed to be rich in food that pike eat, such as roach, perch and trout.
“There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know about the pike in the lake because we have yet to have proper surveys carried out,” said Kevin, who would like to see more research done.
“We have a good number of anglers fishing on a regular basis who would gladly take part in a survey which is badly needed, but is seems you need a degree is zoology now, which is crazy,” he added.
Kevin said there were anglers and gillies on the lake who were catching very big pike on a regular basis. “It would be nice to know if these are repeat catches of the same big fish or different fish being caught all the time.”
Current laws on the tagging of fish are strict and any survey in this area would have to be carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland.
Another interesting statistic about Kevin’s catch is that it was landed around 7km downstream of where it had been tagged six years before, at Ballyvalley, Killaloe. This seems to contradict local angling lore that pike are territorial and stay in the same area of water all their lives.
Commenting on his catch, Kevin said: “At least this pike has provided us with the first bit of solid information about the growth rates of pike in Lough Derg. Up to now it has been all speculation.”
In times past Lough Derg has yielded even much larger pike. Kevin’s grandfater, Willie Joe Lucas from Derrycastle, a gillie and angler all his life, was credited with a pike of 50lbs.
Indeed, Derg is said to have produced the world record for the heaviest pike. On May 9th 1882 two local anglers, Patrick Sheehy and John Naughton, caught a fish of 90½ lbs while trolling at Derrycastle. The fish measured 5ft 8 inches long – more than the average height for a human male at the time.
The catch is recorded in the book, ‘Doomsday Book of Mammoth Pike’, by Fred Buller, who claims it is a world record that stands to this day.
Buller, following his worldwide travels recording catches of monster pike, is convinced that the catch of the Lough Derg monster is authentic. “The measurements given are in accord with the measurements that one would expect to find of pike weighing 90½lbs. They impress the stamp of truth on a report about a fish caught in an age when nobody had a notion (even had they wanted to fabircate a story about a big pike) of how to relate a pike’s weight with its length,” Buller claims.
The claim that such a massive pike could have existed in Derg was further strengthened when an officer of the English Army in a letter to the Field wrote that he and his brother had come across a monster pike in shallow water in Portumna, in the upper reaches of the lake. “The fish was dead, possibly killed in a great storm the night before. We brought it to the public weighing scales on Portumna Bridge and it weighted in at 84lbs.”
IFI has no plans for a pike tagging programme at present, much to the disappointment of local anglers like Kevin who dearly wish to see more research carried out.
– See more at: http://www.nenaghguardian.ie/news/roundup/articles/2015/09/09/4079715-lough-derg-pikes-weight-rose-by-19lbs-in-six-years/#sthash.mhD8FsiZ.dpuf