T333, so Shamu feels more comfortable in the air?
I know what you mean about a safe place.
But what I'm seeing is a learned series of behaviors.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the last trick that got them off the hook, is the first trick they go to. If that doesn't work, trick #2, and so on.
The biggy brown was fun because he clearly kept trying different tricks until something worked. Across-stream to bank on far side looking for roots, or a hole.
Then up stream at warp speed, turn and comeback at warp speed. Burrow, jump, burrow.
Run across current and around boulder. After some more variety show tricks, he came over by us. I thought it was over. As he came in close, he swam by and looked us over with a very stinky eye. That's when he headed to the dam. I'm pretty sure he hadn't done that trick before (didn't look practiced, just desperate).
It worked like a charm. This guy was in the 6-7lb range, and I was using 6x.
I hope he's there again this year. I want another try. Not only will he be bigger, he'll have more game. And so will I.
He tries that dam(n) trick again, and I'll be ready.
My opinion some are smart some are not so smart. But just like us humans they are also predictable. Sometimes they can predict us and vice versa. On any given day we will face both and who wins is a matter of luck, determination and using all your skill and knowledge. That's what makes it fun!!!
Trout - Smart they certianly learn fast I fished a very low presure streach of water with a nymph and later in the season and all the next they wont touch that pattern again, but if left for long enough they will also forget what they have learned by having no capture they become more adventureous and will try more even when they havnt seen it before.
on the lower selwyn, where there is very high pressure even bait fishermen have trouble, the fish will sometimes come over to inspect the offering, see it and bolt, if one goes they all go, most will return but not the smart ones.
I rember reading a book with some habits of trout (brook, rainbow, and brown), it stated that if a dominant fish is caught and released it looses its status (a confidence issue) and will allow lesser fish feed ahead of it. I suspect that this is the issue on the selwyn where the bigger fish have learnt that by having small fish ahead it is less likely to get caught so wont charge at smaller fish unless edible
I think in some Schwiebert book I was reading, he did some scientific experimentation on trout in a local pond. He named or numbered all of the fish, recorded how often and on what flies/lures he caught them on. I think his conclusion was that he found a steady progression of shyness in feeding. He found that the flies that worked frequently in the beginning worked very infrequently after the fish had been caught several times.
I'm inclined to say "not smart", but this conditioned response impels me to enter a different answer. That is quite a remarkable achievement to avoid the foods that have hooks. There has got to be some answer between Smart and Not Smart.
I'd call them "stream smart".
---------- Post added at 10:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:38 PM ----------
Not too sure about your theory on Largemouth...In my experience they are wrecklessly guided only by their big mouths. I have caught the same bass twice in 4 casts. I don't think that ever happens with a brown trout.
---------- Post added at 10:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 PM ----------
Some of the issue with not catching the larger fish in the pool may have to do with the feeding habits of larger trout. I rarely see the large trout feeding wrecklessly on surface flies and emergers. They don't seem as zealous to feed as the 5-10 inch trout to. Could be because they are are tired from staying up all night chasing 5" trout, or because they are wary of feeding in general. Though I'm inclined to think that they're feeding patterns just change with maturity. They don't feed like farm pond bluegill at that age; and it probably doesn't have anything to do with being caught or pressured. It is just a fish who has been calmed by age. Much like kids, and Labs. Rambunctious in youth, giving way to a more subdued demeanor in adulthood.
Now were getting somewhere.
1. Big fish feeding below/behind little guys.
More than once I've swung a big ugly streamer, underneath fish eating those cute little dry flies. Bingo! A fish a whole size class up. Personally, I too would prefer a steak, to eating chicken nuggets.
2. One reason to get that first drift in there, is that for big guys, it may be your only chance. Without any clues that it's game on, they're often quite amenable. Till hooked.
3. I too have fished water with one style fly until nobody in the pond would touch it. Switched to a different color, they wouldn't eat. I believe it was because it was presented in the same style. Gotta change it up.
4. One summer I found a biggy brown's lye.
I eventually caught him three times (he had a heron scar on his flank). Not on the same fly. He wouldn't eat anything that had stuck him before.
5. I think, on our waters, sometimes the older fish realizes that anything big may sting a bit.
So, little nymphs/emergers, all day/night long. To them small is safe.
6. There is a stretch of water I know that holds a big brown. I have managed to land him.
But it took 3 tries. First two tries he got away, but I saw his game plan. Third try he went to his normal trick routine (heavy current run-then to snag). But I can learn too.
One way to amuse yourself, is to take a friend to a fish like this, and watch the act from the safety of the balcony.
Most anglers are fond of a particular style of fishing, or fly. Our comfort routine.
This may be the biggest impediment to talking with a fish of dreams.
As a guide, we often have to fish behind other anglers. If this should happen to you too.
Watch how they're fishing, rest the hole, then either fish better than they did (more weight, better fly selection), or even better, a totally different approach.
A difficult fish is a pleasure to find. It will test you, instead of the other way around.
Last year, the fish that I remember most, weren't the ones I landed.
It was the ones that took my fly, and me to the cleaners.
A "smart" unstoppable brute makes me smile.
I just remembered an interesting catch from a couple of years back...
I caught a small brookie on a dry; maybe 5 inches. As I was pulling him in, flopping about on top of the water a HUGE brown came up and made a swipe at him! I'm not sure if he was big enough to eat that little brookie, but he sure wasn't shy about trying. This has actually happend to me twice with trout, and countless times with a bluegill/Largemouth combo.
So it seems like, as you were saying, sometimes you throw the big ugly streamer in the pool where there are alot of little fish moving around.
Big old fish don't get big and old by being dumb. I remember a guy telling me trout on the Truckee will hit flashy bugs and bead heads early in the season, but after seeing 1,000 bhpt's they are done with bling til the next spring, when they get reminded again.