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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2011, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

I'm going to go with NOT smart.
I believe fish have amazing instincts. Instincts that we just don't have and can't understand. What we see as a twitch or a short strip an fish may see as something that doesn't look right.
I think young fish need every meal they can get because their only goal in live is to grow and reproduce. This leads them to take more chances at a prospective meal. A big fish is already at the top, or close to the top of his food chain. I don't think an older fish is using the same instincts that a young fish uses when it's feeding.
Do I think they can learn? No. I think they already know more about surviving in their environment than we will ever learn.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2011, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfly View Post
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.
This is exactly why I say fish are "NOT SMART." Because we have the ability to be smarter than them (which doesn't necessarily mean that fish aren't smart). Fish are smart in the sense that they can learn and adapt, but if we are smart fishermen then we too can adapt and land fish. It takes being one step ahead of the fish. For some anglers, there is something about calling fish NOT SMART that can diminish our favorite hobby, but I don't see it that way. I love fly fishing, especially for trout in rivers. I have the utmost love and respect for just about every aspect of this great thing called fly fishing! Can I get an amen?!
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

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Originally Posted by trout333 View Post
This is exactly why I say fish are "NOT SMART." Because we have the ability to be smarter than them (which doesn't necessarily mean that fish aren't smart). Fish are smart in the sense that they can learn and adapt, but if we are smart fishermen then we too can adapt and land fish. It takes being one step ahead of the fish. For some anglers, there is something about calling fish NOT SMART that can diminish our favorite hobby, but I don't see it that way. I love fly fishing, especially for trout in rivers. I have the utmost love and respect for just about every aspect of this great thing called fly fishing! Can I get an amen?!
Okay I'm in, Amen
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

I've met a couple of "selective" fish in my travels. But after twenty years on the T and watching smart people get worked, I believe now, fish are clearly able to learn.
I've really raised the bar just to say hello to the bigger guys consistently.
Honestly I'm shocked how much easier it seems when I fish somewhere else. (Hope to check that theory out on the Henry's fork this year.)
Do I think they are interested Machiavelli, or can find a square-root? No
Do I think they think there is a "bling/no bling season? yes!
And, not only Amen, but hallelujah!!!

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Last edited by Bigfly; 02-15-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

I am under the impression that brilliant and enjoy laughing at me, Mr. Bigmouth himself last year took my popper and spit it back at me several times. It mattered not the fly, popper or diver used... he would just laugh
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2011, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

I dont think the answer is either. They are like any animals, some are smarter than others and those dont get or are caught less. Those that are less capable dont live to breed. There is more to fish intelligence than being hooked, like avoiding more natural predators.

Ill use pike as an example. I know a few places that have very little fishing pressure.
There is a small lake chain in western Alaska I fish with some friends. Considering it is fly in only, I am going to guess my party is the only one there throughout the year. At least I have never seen a soul in the area.

I have seen smaller pike come off the hook after a fight. Only to turn around and bite the same exact fly 10 seconds later. I have also seen the same distinct fish which I think is a large female that has some scars on top of the head that is probably from spawning.

Either way we have tried to catch it for a few seasons. This fish is noticably larger than the others and clearly distinguished in the relatively clear water. This fish will follow a fly, but will never take anything. We have thrown EVERYTHING at it. It shows interest but I think can somehow dectect much better than the others the presentation is manmade.

Just some thoughts.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2011, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

Nerka, I'n certainly not a pike master (I've only caught 5, largest a mere 28".). But, that pike sounds like a good summer lab project.
Catching it would confer a masters in FFishing to the angler who lands her.
This is the kind of fishing I've grown to love, the "impossible" fish. (Another very good reason to C&R.)
In my experience, she is catch-able, you just need to figure out what is tipping her off. If, as humans, we really are "smarter" than a fish (Doubtful in many cases.).
Sounds like it's not the flies you've been using. Maybe not the leader either.
Have you tried a float tube? Often, stuff swimming directly to shore is the turn off. Learned this fishing for large mouth off the dam.
You have to ask yourself, would anything else swim that way?
Fly offering must act like food acts..I spend a lot of time watching food forms.
I've got my own lab projects this summer, otherwise.......
Please keep us posted.

Jim
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Last edited by Bigfly; 02-16-2011 at 12:49 PM.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2011, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

I'm going with smart in general. The biggest factor for catching brook trout to me is how far I'm willing to walk from the parking lot. The further I walk, the easier the fish are to catch. That seems to suggest they learn how to avoid anglers.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2011, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nerka View Post
I have seen smaller pike come off the hook after a fight. Only to turn around and bite the same exact fly 10 seconds later. I have also seen the same distinct fish which I think is a large female that has some scars on top of the head that is probably from spawning.
I had a smaller one once that after being fought a good 30' came off, did a U turn and nailed the fly as fast as it could turn around. I've had big ones follow flies and not hit them at all. I think that might have more to do with as they get larger, they don't grow as fast and don't need to eat as often. But Pike are one of those types of fish that are compelled to look, hungry or not. I've seen some big ones do some pretty stupid stuff. I kinda have the big pike thing wired. I have caught so many over 40" it's rediculous. I'll bet you can get that big one. Keep trying different things.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2011, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Fish - Smart / Notsmart?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diver Dan View Post
I had a smaller one once that after being fought a good 30' came off, did a U turn and nailed the fly as fast as it could turn around. I've had big ones follow flies and not hit them at all. I think that might have more to do with as they get larger, they don't grow as fast and don't need to eat as often. But Pike are one of those types of fish that are compelled to look, hungry or not. I've seen some big ones do some pretty stupid stuff. I kinda have the big pike thing wired. I have caught so many over 40" it's rediculous. I'll bet you can get that big one. Keep trying different things.
Yeah I have seen the same thing with some of them literally doing a u-turn and hitting the same fly again. The only other time I have seen that is with stocked juvenile rainbows. Not even grayling will turn around that quick. I have caught the same one within 5 minutes but on a different egg pattern.

---------- Post added at 12:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:24 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfly View Post
Nerka, I'n certainly not a pike master (I've only caught 5, largest a mere 28".). But, that pike sounds like a good summer lab project.
Catching it would confer a masters in FFishing to the angler who lands her.
This is the kind of fishing I've grown to love, the "impossible" fish. (Another very good reason to C&R.)
In my experience, she is catch-able, you just need to figure out what is tipping her off. If, as humans, we really are "smarter" than a fish (Doubtful in many cases.).
Sounds like it's not the flies you've been using. Maybe not the leader either.
Have you tried a float tube? Often, stuff swimming directly to shore is the turn off. Learned this fishing for large mouth off the dam.
You have to ask yourself, would anything else swim that way?
Fly offering must act like food acts..I spend a lot of time watching food forms.
I've got my own lab projects this summer, otherwise.......
Please keep us posted.

Jim
Especially in CA, I can understand the need and ultimately desire for catch and release for conservation. Thankfully we dont have those issues here and pike are rarely released by friends and I. This is two fold...they decimate juvenile salmon and they are good eating. If they werent so damn delicious I would throw them back. But pan fried or salted and lightly smoked, makes most of them doomed for the dinner table.

I venture a guess one of us will catch her eventually. Dan makes a good point of probably following the fly out of instinct even though it might not actually be hungry. We fly into the location and fish from pontoons and the shore. Although I have a picture somewhere where we are trolling off the back of a cessna 206 on floats.
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