Observe First

Observe First

Having been thinking quite a bit about how fish eat flies. And more specifically, how different fish eat different flies, I was stoked to find the following videos on a recent Gink and Gasoline post. Not only is it amusing to watch the bonefish behave in an almost dog-like fashion as dinner time approached but it also highlighted how differently different species of fish behave while feeding.

I’ve always found observing fish eating an interesting and rewarding endeavour both in terms of entertainment and knowledge. Whether it be in a tank, from bank or with a mask on your face there is so much to be learnt from this type of observation. The best is obviously in a natural environment where the fish remains unaware of your presence.

Fly fishing for Spotted Grunter
Watching this grunter feed was enjoyable (although a lot of self discipline was enjoyed to not lift my rod) but more importantly, left me a far greater an understanding of how ‘gently’ a grunter can nose around in the mud and his willingness to investigate possible food items.

Possessing a knowledge about how a fish eats different types of food allows the fisherman to be more aware of what his seeing or feeling while fishing. It is amazing how softly and quickly a grunter, yellowfish and Permit can inhale and exhale a fly.

Even the simple understanding of how a fish behaves while feeding, in contrast to not feeding, can save you endless frustration on the water.

Fishing a gin clear stream in Argentina, I was presented with a river that held hundreds of fish; some were spawning, some post spawners, others pre spawners – none of them were interested in eating. There were, however, fish in between that were feeding. Knowing how to identify these feeding by their ‘body language’ saved me the frustration I saw on the local fishermen’s faces.

After many frustrating ignores, some forced observation led us to realising that the Golden Trevally’s feeding pattern was erratic, almost ADD in nature, and catching them required split second reactionary casts when a tail was spotted.

And observation goes even further. Observe what you trying to imitate. How does a prawn after been blown from a hole, a hopper when landing on the water for the first time, a mayfly glides across the surface in the breeze or a crab face up to its threat? This crucial becomes crucial to to the fly fisherman while sits behind his vice and ties new patterns and once he has cast that pattern and needs to retrieve it in a manner that imitates the natural.

There are hundreds of stories that can be told of fish ignoring well-presented flies. I often wonder whether the fishermen telling their tale took the time to learn how that fish moved and how it appeared. Spending some time watching fish, at any time, will increase your understanding of how fish behave and this, I bet, will lead to catching more fish.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfFX337lU_M?feature=player_embedded]

I love this guy. Makes me think of naughty puppy too eager for a snack!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY-YitjjK_s?feature=player_embedded]

Watch carefully and you’ll soon see how, even in captivity, the different species behave differently at feeding time.

Videos from www.ginkandgasoline.com

And here are few moments frozen in time from when I’ve been observing fish…

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