Hughes reveals his admiration for the pike in the poem "Pike" through vivid imagery and figurative language. He contrasts their powerful form and lethal hunting skill with their graceful ability to move through the water. The poem's beginning line showcases his utter respect for the fish, "three inches long, perfect" (1). The stripes of the fish are characterized by his word choice "tigering" which likens the fish's subtle camouflage to that of a tiger. Both the tiger and the pike are powerful predators in their own environment, and Hughes' diction reflects the pike's command of the water.
As the poem continues, Hughes writes of the fish as if they were ancient monsters; the pike in the pond were "Pike too immense to stir, so immense and old" (35). He speaks of them reverently, tinged with a healthy amount of fear for their powerful jaws and teeth. Hughes sees the pike as a worthy adversary, one deserving of his respect.