A visit to the other side ...
From ancient times until now, fish, as a whole, have past on to their offspring many facts about those that prey on them! Yes, they keep records and update the information on a regular basis. Their guide book is appropriately named "Fin Facts" with the annotation of "A guide for keeping your scales intact". Credits include Big Billy Bass, Mark "The Lucky" Muskie, Walter Walleye and Peggy's Panfish Pack.
Recently, by dumb luck, I acquired a copy of this rare book. (Also see a past blog #24) It is a little wet but still readable. Seeing that it was a recent edition I figured that I would find some deep dark secrets that would improve my catch to cast ratio. Let us now take a look at some of the tips, facts and guide lines within it's pages.
Interestingly there are references not only to the possible perils of interacting with humans but also the dire results of accidental, if not careless, meetings with other wildlife. Since most fish have a rather short life span it is probably due to the fact that only a few of them (the fishes) have even glanced at, let alone studied, the manual.
The first part of the guide deals with "Your STRIKE REFLEX and how to control it". Due to the normal scarcity of food Mother Nature has given fish the ability to react and catch morsels that appear for only a split second. Especially useful in strong river currents or stained water. The advice here is to pretty much take a second look before you bite. This can be associated with our own reflex when we spot a hundred dollar bill on a busy street. BAM ! We are on it in a flash with total disregard to safety. The result being a visit to our favorite store or a ride in an ambulance.
Another interesting tip they share is "Shallow Waters, friend or foe?". Many species of fishes need shallow water to spawn but it also exposes them to the eyes of skillful hunters. The advice here is that if your moving up shallow stay near the cover of weeds, logs, rocks or other things that will help disguise you. The statue like pose of a Blue Heron can fool the weariest of fish. A King Fisher or Osprey will swoop in without a sound. The raccoon walking on shore will reach out and have you in his claws before you can turn. It advises them to also stay in company of others or the old adage of "Safety in numbers". Just as we humans know it is safer to travel with a group when in what could be not so friendly neighborhoods.
Then there is a section in bold print that covers "The Signs of Danger". Included here is a mention of any type of object that is on the surface. It warns that boats of any configuration can signal trouble. The presence of watercraft is associated with a sudden influx of available food. The big tip here is to leave the area or hunker down and wait for the boat to leave. When close to shore the manual tells to run for cover if a shadow passes or footsteps are detected. (Fish can feel the vibrations of predators footsteps)
Anyway, after reading the whole script I found one thing that was not mentioned. That being the fact that FISH EAT FISH ! Nowhere did it touch on the reality that big fish not only eat small fish but prefer them to any other morsel of food. Could it be that the authors of this seemingly helpful manuscript are hiding something? Is it possible there is some kind of fish mafia? Can it be an attempted diversion to cover up a real and present danger? Is that my alarm clock ringing?
Thanks for reading "Fishing Fever" !