I first discovered this book when I was in short trousers, and it makes me feel that way even now. How can these fish be real? Of course, some may not be, but the accounts are there, and as a young boy I always returned to this book every time a pike stole a rudd from my rod.
It is a list of some 230 pike over 35lbs, and right up to the Marquis’s Pike, caught from the Shannon, Ireland, which was killed by two men using an oar. The biggest rod-caught pike was Naughton and Sheehy’s 90.5lb pike from Lough Derg. Whether you believe them all is up to you, but Buller gives as much information as possible to help you make up your mind.
But it’s the quote at the beginning that sets this book up so well:
“In ancient Greece they already knew what went on in an angler’s mind—or at least Theocritus did when he wrote:
…In sleep, dogs dream of [hunting] bears, and of [large sized] fish dream I.”
This is the kind of stuff that keeps a fisherman reading under the duvet cover, into the night, by torchlight. Lovely.