May 04, 2008

Beak Pike

Yesterday we fished for the wiley beak pike Belone belone and the beaks did not disappoint.

These fish were called 'gar' by the British, based on an Old English word for 'spear'. When they got to North America they used the same word for the North American freshwater gars, but those are different fish. In Swedish they are called beak pike, in Danish horn fish and in south Swedish, horn pike.

There was a handful of guys out on the breakwater fishing, some dads, some young guys drinking beer. One kid didn't seem attached to anyone and he started asking me how to cast. I gave him a quick lesson and then after a minute he was in the middle of a huge tangle of string. I cut him loose and retied his leader.

These fish live in the North Atlantic and swim up the coast and into the Baltic in the spring. They spear their prey with their beaks which makes for fun fishing. They are fast, they fight, and they jump out of the water and dance on their tails, flashing silver in the sun.

Here is F holding one of the fish, in front of a WWII bunker guarding the coast. We caught 4 of them in about an hour, 2 apiece.

They have beautiful skin.

Here you can see an amazing thing about these fish: they have green bones. Note the vertebrae. The meat is like pikes', white with a few black nerves, and tastes just a shade richer.

Heavens they're tasty.



At May 05, 2008 2:56 AM , Blogger Papa Twister said...

Are those large gar-like scales I see? My friend once caught a huge gar on the Wisconsin River. He couldn't cut into it with a knife, so he chopped its head off with an ax.

At May 05, 2008 7:12 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Their scales are paper thin and smallish. You would think they didn't have scales if everything wasn't soon covered in them.

My brother was telling me about alligator gars which can be 8 feet or more. Their big hard shiny scales were used by native americans as jewlery.

At May 09, 2008 8:20 PM , Blogger rigtenzin said...

Gar are scary looking. They would make perfect monsters in an underwater story.


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