Pike Conservation and Legislation
Conservation is vital to protect the quality of Ireland's pike fishing. Ireland now has the best conservation measures for the protection of pike in Europe.
The pike bye law no. 809 (2006) provides for the following conservation measures:
- a bag limit of 1 pike in any one day,
- prohibits the killing of any pike greater than 50 cm in length,
- prohibits the possession by any person of more than 1 whole pike less than 50 cm or more than 0.75 kg of pike flesh, this provision does not apply to a person storing pike or pike parts subject to conditions,
- prohibits the possession by any person of more than 12 coarse fish for use as bait subject to conditions.
One aspect of the new bye law is that a pike over the specimen weight of 20 lbs. (9.072 Kg.) for a river fish and 30 lbs. (13.608 Kg.) for a lake fish are now protected and cannot be killed as in the previous bye law. There is no prohibition on the number of frozen sea baits a pike angler can have for the day’s sport.
Other legislation for the pike angler to be aware of are:
CONSERVATION OF AND PROHIBITION ON SALE OF COARSE FISH BYE-LAW NO. 806, 2006
The coarse fish bye law provides for the following conservation measures:
- a bag limit of 4 coarse fish in any one day,
- prohibits the killing of any coarse fish greater than 25 cm in length,
- prohibits the sale of any coarse fish in Ireland (excluding NI), this provision will not apply to fishing tackle dealers and fish bait suppliers who have been granted an exemption from their respective Regional Fisheries Board.
The only legal method to catch freshwater fish is by rod and line (Bye-law No.595).
A person may fish with not more than two rods at any time (Bye-law No.595).
It is illegal to have or to use live fish as bait (Bye-law No.592).
It is illegal to transfer live roach from one water to any other waters (Bye-law No.561).
Playing and Handling
When deadbait fishing, a take should be struck sooner rather than later to avoid deep hooking the fish. The pike should then be played firmly and brought as quickly as possible to the landing net to avoid over tiring the fish. A suitable large landing net should be used particularly from a boat.
When landed, the fish should be laid flat preferably on a protective mat and the hooks removed with a suitable tool such as long handled artery forceps or a long nosed pliers. Anglers may find it useful to wear protective gloves. Sometimes it can be easier to release the hooks by working very carefully through the gill covers.
The use of pike sacks can be used for the short time retention of fish enabling them to recover prior to weighing or photography. When weighing and photographing fish, the pike should be cradled and supported properly to avoid injuring the fish. A pike sized weigh sling should always be used if the fish is be weighed.
When being released, the pike should be held carefully in the water to promote recovery until it is ready to swim away. At all times, the pike should be returned to the water in the shortest possible time.