Monday, 20 February 2012

Repeat captures

It's a well known fact in fishing that when specimen hunting you can often catch the same fish time and time again. They're often  named and their weights catalogued by fanatical fans. Some fish even become nationally famous and make it to the newspapers as well as every fishing magazine. Pike in particular have been known to be caught again by the same person in the same day. Do they have a memory like a goldfish, are they just ferocious eaters or maybe they're just the Chuck Norris of the fish world and a treble hook or two doesn't bother them one bit?

I've been fishing one particular area of river just below a weir with great success over the last six or seven months, but I've just been happily fishing away and not taking note of which fish I catch. Sometimes you can't help but take note, such as when you catch a fish with an upturned lip or one I caught which had a huge growth on it's side. I've not yet caught these fish again because I would have recognised them straight away. A few days ago though I caught a 17lb pike and today it got me wondering if it was one I'd caught before. I quickly checked the photo and couldn't see anything too distinguishing other than laboriously checking individual spots on the fish and comparing them to my other photos. The only problem being that of all the fish I've caught i've not bothered to take a photo of each one and the ones I have I might have photographed only one side of the fish and then on another fish I've photographed the other side. So not too easy to trawl through my photos and spot recaptures. Many of the fish I have photographed have been  in excellent condition with perfect fins, mouths and the rest. It seemed as though it would be a waste of time even attempting to catalogue the fish and spot recaptures. The thought crossed my mind that possibly from now on, since I seem to fish the same spot, maybe I should quickly take a photo of both flanks of the fish I catch so that it would help me in the future identify and give each a cuddly name.

I've caught stacks of fish around the 5-8lb mark from my swims but not bothered taking pictures of the majority. I've not done bad for low doubles either but most of these remained free from the fishing paparazzi. However of the three largest fish I've had from this river I do have at least a few decent photos of them. I quickly looked back to last year and found the 17lb pike our Jack caught and the 19lb pike I caught. They were not the same fish as the one I caught a few days ago but looking closer I noticed that the 17lb pike my lad caught had a notch out of her tail fin. Perfect, that's something I could look out for in the future that would distinguish it from the rest. So I next flicked to the 19lb fish to see if there was anything on this fish to help identify it. To my amazement It was the same fish as Jack had caught. There it was, a little noggin' missing from it's tail and slight deformity. I shouted Jack to come see and we continued to check the photos more closely. We also noted that some of it's more distinctive spots near it's gill were also the same on each fish. We'd definitely both caught the same fish.

Of course this fish was bigger the second time when I caught it. So next task was to try and find out the dates of capture. Most digital cameras these days store all the details in the picture file, so even if you haven't made a note you can easily find out the exact date and time the photo was taken. By simply hovering over the image on your computer all the details will pop up in a little floating box. When Jack caught her it was on the 8th August 2011 and when I caught her 30 yards up stream it was the 2nd October 2011. A full two pound weight gain in just short of two months. That's pretty impressive to me and shows there's a good stock of food for the fish because I also know there's a lot of pike in the area too, plus of course the herons, cormorants grebes and kingfisher. The thought running through my mind now is that if she's continued to increase in size at even half that pace she's past the twenty pound barrier by now. I also now know there's another fish that this time next year could well be past that barrier too. From now on I'll be keeping an eye out on the fish I catch a little more carefully. I'm not sure if I'll be cataloguing every fish or not but at least when I catch a double I'll try and take some photos to help see how the fish grow should I catch them again.

2012 pike tally
Total 9
Largest 17lb


  1. Earlier in the summer i had a repeat capture, a few weeks apart, from the same stretch of river. 10lb exactly the first time, 10lb 1 oz the second time round. I imagine it happens a lot more than we realise...

  2. Personally I've never stuck to the same waters long enough or fished enough for repeat captures. It's only been this past 6 months i've stayed on one spot. I would bet i've caught a few more of the jacks a few times but never take photos of those.