Pike Spotting Along The Grand Canal

The last item I saw a baby pike was below the high bridge at Charlemont St. Luas stop on the Dublin’s
Grand Canal waterway just in front of the Hilton hotel, on the edge of Ranelagh. It must have been early
summer 2016. Just a canal-lock up from where a pair of swans have had their nest by the footpath, close
to Lesson St. Bridge.
This little pike stayed ever so still, never moving save a tiny swish of its side fin but remaining poised and
watching the other fish out across the underwater canal vista. Its green-yellow stripes were clear and
impressive. It didn’t mind me watching, mind you, he never moved. His stillness was entrancing.
So to find one of similar size and age I reckon, on a walk in mid March this year (2020) by not believing it
was a stick, near the water’s edge resting on the underwater vegetation and I climbing down the steps
at Dolphin’s Barn Bridge at the end of Parnell Road near Keeper Road, just up from ‘the Big Fish’
roundabout, to get a view of it. I’m so glad I did for I had just seen an impressively large black Tench zig-
zag amongst the underwater vegetation on this ramble not a 100m back, up the waterway, so felt my
fish spotting would pay off and just like its Charlemont cousin of four years back, the young pike stayed
ever so still.
A jogger of eastern European accent asked me what I was seeing, I said, “Its a pike”, she replied
incredulously, “Baby one?!” I said “yes, but ‘The Hunter'”, as we both stooped and took a photo in turns
with our mobile phones.
This curiosity with the pike has had me reading about whether there are any to be found in the Island
pond of Phoenix Park, near Castleknock and Ashtown Gates, as a man who fishes the Glen pond up near
there had told me there must be one, a big one.
“It might be a myth”, he said “but with all those ducks up there, he’d do well”.
So I looked online and found a whole research project had been carried out on all the Phoenix Parks’
ponds by a third level institution but with no pike to be found. Still it might be their sampling methods
that have not worked or the intelligence of the pike to observe and know when to move or not and not
be caught in an ecological fish survey net! The myth and wonder lives on for this fish spotter and the
Grand Canal is the place to see one.