Scientists claim that the average lifespan of pikes does not exceed 25 years. Very rarely come across specimens that are 30 years old or more. But history has preserved information about pikes that have lived for more than two centuries. Is this reality or fiction?
In 1497, a giant pike was caught in Lake Bjökkingen in Germany. Its length was 5 meters 70 centimeters and a weight of about 140 kilograms. According to legend, this pike was caught in 1230 by the German emperor Frederick II, ringed it with a gold ring and released it back into the lake.
Thus, the pike was caught for the second time after 267 years. Eyewitnesses assured that the fish became almost white from old age. The skeleton of this long-lived pike has survived to this day in the German city of Mannheim.
In the 19th century, this amazing fact attracted the interest of the German naturalist Lorenz Oken. He carefully studied the biography of Frederick II and came to the conclusion that in 1230 he could not catch this pike, as he lived in Italy all year. The meticulous naturalist did not stop there and went to Mannheim in order to examine the skeleton of the legendary fish.
As a result, Oken stated that a pike that has lived for more than 200 years is a myth, since its spine was assembled from the vertebrae of several pikes. Alas, the beautiful legend has collapsed, although today many people believe in it.
An equally curious case occurred in Moscow at the end of the 18th century. In 1794, during the cleaning of the Tsaritsyn ponds, a pike three arshins in length was caught. If we translate the size of this giant into more familiar measures, then this is 2 meters 13 centimeters. A ring with the inscription “Tsar Boris Fedorovich planted” was inserted into the cheekbone of the fish. Since Boris Godunov ruled from 1598 to 1605, it turned out that our domestic pike was not so much inferior in age to the foreign one - it was also about two hundred years old.
But the problem is that no reliable facts about the existence of the Moscow pike have survived. Unfortunately, our ancestors did not think to leave at least bones for posterity, so many people doubt the veracity of this story. In the absence of solid evidence, we can only believe or not believe.
By the way, these two stories were described in his book "Notes on the Eating of Fish" by ST Aksakov. He did not refute or confirm these facts, making the conclusion: "I present to the readers to believe, as much as they please, the justice of such stories."
But LP Sabaneev, another connoisseur of hunting and fishing, trusted the existence of the German pike and called it “the largest ever caught”.