How fish eat

fascinating stuff here from Smarter Every Day via The Ozark Fly Fisher Journal showing us just how cool and more importantly, how our slimy friends have adapted and evolved their eating methods through time.

i’d found the image above years ago on the net (sorry, no source) where the explanation behind it was that in many cases, trout will suck in a bug from quite a distance through a vortex created by opening the mouth and thrusting the water out through the gills effectively sucking the prey in instead of munching down on the meal with its teeth as most of us mammals do.
the videos below show and explain this action in high-quality slomo video confirming the ‘vortex’ method of feeding.
note that this method is mostly used by toothless or smaller-toothed fish. in the case of trout, a lot of bugs and smaller stuff will get sucked in and use their teeth when they go for forage fish.
an example of a (very) toothed fish that clamps its prey are pike. they’ll typically chomp, grab and hold their prey for a while until its stunned and later turn it so its facing them and then swallow it whole. yum !

but then, some fish aren’t all that smart and sometimes they get a little confused on which technique to use…
fish eat fish

Pike may not be invader species

quite interesting read on Irish pike and their not-so-well-known diadromous capabilities. (referring to all fishes which migrate between the sea and fresh water)

Scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland, led by Debbi Pedreschi of UCD, have studied the history of pike in Ireland.
” The pike, up to now, was regarded as an introduced alien species. The Irish name ‘gailliasc’, the ‘foreign fish’, seemed to attest to that. No illustrations of this large lake-dweller appear in medieval manuscripts, although the salmon and the eel feature prominently. The first written references to pike appeared in the 16th century, suggesting that this sport fish arrived here around then.
irish pike
That pike were introduced seemed a plausible theory. So-called ‘diadromous’ species, such as eels salmonids and lampreys, can move between fresh and salt water. When the ice covering this part of the world melted, 8,000 years ago, they were able to cross the sea and enter Irish rivers. Pike, and the other ‘coarse’ fish, would die if they ventured into the ocean. They couldn’t reach Ireland, or so it was thought. “

click the pic for the complete article on the Irish Examiner. enjoy !

Ideas, drawing boards and live testing

By Ulf Hagström

once in a while something comes up out of the ordinary in fly design and this is another one of those special moments.
inspired by scientific fish studies, good friend Ulf Hagström has done it again and come up with a design that stimulates feeding behavior in pike.
although these studies where focused on pike, in my mind it would be very unlikely that this stimulation wouldn’t be just effective with any other predator species, so this is something to think about and try out next time you’re working on a streamer patter for you favorite species.

“When you read up on pike feeding behavior and talk with guides and other people that fishes a whole lot more than I do it is evident that pike feeding behavior is not as simple as many people will think. My own conclusion this season has also come to the conclusion that pike are way more complicated than most people will give it credit for.

Anyway, what has been proven several times is that pike have a feeding behavior that often are triggered by competition, and clepto parasitic behavior. Other fish that are feeding, or other pike that are feeding, will get even the most stubborn of pike to act on instinct and start feeding aggressively. There have also been some new spinner lures introduced lately (I’ve been told) that mimics large baitfish hunting smaller fish. With this in mind I thought that I needed to design something similar but as a fly.”

click the pic for the rest of this very inspiring article. thanks Ulf !

ten-weight tuesday

was out for a first serious tryout yesterday evening on the lake with a 9′ 10wt MSX Sapphire 1090 i have for review that should do the trick quite nicely for some nasty local pike !
first impressions are really good even if my way-out-of-shape shoulder isn’t too happy with swinging it and it’s 10 wt Versatile line and 25cm practice streamer for something like three hours… as noted in my Imago IPT review, any kind of serious conclusion needs time in hand and thought so the review will be out when the time is right and specially after a few of those nasty pike !
while goofing around trying to get some flying fly line images with one hand while casting with the other, this lucky shot of an unrolling leader managed to come out pretty much ok. getting leaders to show up on photos isn’t the easiest thing to do.
like a lot of things, it happens when you’re trying the least…

the BIG and the NERVOUS Cobra-Contest ! Finale

eleven great entries, eleven hard choices but between the big and humorous, the glutinous  and the ‘out of focus… this one goes straight to the heart and the Nervous Water dvd prize goes to Simon Graham.
after all, a first trout on the fly is a BIG moment even from the NERVOUS pike fly fishing expert that he is !
good on ya Simon we all wish you many more !

my mojo tube

insomnia has at least two benefits.
first, i’m doing something instead of just laying there stupidly inactive.
second, it leads to funny unfocused thoughts which in turn lead to funny unfocussed flies and here’s one of them.
a 22 centimeters tube fly with slinky bunny fluff carefully tied while having thoughts of slinky sex with the goal of filling it (the fly) with irresistible super-exciting slinky ‘do me’ hormones !
pike are just getting over their spawning period so i’m guessing the hormonal discharge thing is still fresh in their mind/glands.
i’ll soon find out if this theory correct, the ice is seriously melting and there’s a few open spots on the local lake already. cool !
some might say the color scheme is inverted, that the fly should be dark on top and light on the bottom. they’re wrong.


Mémé in french is an affectionate name for grandma. her real name was Catherine but that name was for others. outside of always telling goofy jokes and stories and being a fervent and fantastic cookie baker, one of the things i remember most about Mémé was she used to like to come fishing with me.
although the photo shows her with a fishing rod, she rarely actually fished, i remember taking the image to record the occurrence. what she mostly did was sit there and knit and point out what a pretty cloud that one was, how to hold the fish without poking it’s eyes out and look up with her quirky smile and announce, “Oh darn, we forgot the cookies” ! but i knew they where safely hidden in the yarn bag.
i remember bringing this photo to school as part of the ‘What did you do during your summer vacation ?’ report we always had to do each year.

that year my family had rented a cabin on some lake in Wisconsin. the highlight of the trip, my mom being bit on the butt by a pike my dad had caught and thrown in the boat while she was sun bathing. as most fish do in this situation, it started flip-flopping unhappily about and i can only guess that the bite impulse came alive when it saw this soft pink thing in front of it’s mouth. i can’t blame it as i probably would have done the same.

Simon’s Pike Stats

Simon Graham, pike guru, friend and funny guy and pike fly tier extraordinaire does it again with this absolutely awesome stats recap of this year’s season on his favorite playground and backyard, Replot Island – Finland where he lives and guides.

“They’ve taken me a while to compile but here are some of the more interesting stats from my season this year around the island. 

2011 stats

Fished exactly 240 consecutive days this season on the island
Approx 720hrs
1838 (pike) before 12h00
1059 (pike) after 12h00
First (120 days) – 1670 pike caught & released + 2 pike for the table
Second (120 days) – 1224 pike caught & released + 1 pike for the table
797 caught between 60cm – 65cm
691 caught between 65cm – 75cm
968 caught between 75cm – 85cm… “

sound good ? want more ? click here for a whole bunch of other details shared with us by Mister Pike. be sure to check out and dig inside his site for pike fly fishing enlightenment.

2011’s first fish

was going through older pics and found this year’s first fish, a beautiful Baltic Sea, 80 cm pike caught in the Stockholm Archipelago on a 25 cm brown Flashabou Sparkler-Thing, Sage TCX 890 and Rio Indicator line.

after an exceptionally long and harsh winter (read completely unfishable because all waters where frozen over) this felt really good. funny, even after several months i can still remember the tug.

Fly Tying- Think differently, The fish eating fish fly

by Ulf Hagström

this kind of “Think differently” is just awesome, a sign of a truly innovative fly designer and tier not only interested in creating flies that attract fish but flies that attract fish in a different manner.

“One of the most interesting articles I’ve read in a long time was an article in a Swedish magazine “Allt om flugfiske” by biologist Peter Johanesson who talked about the result of a study on the phenomenon of kleptoparasites among pikes. Basically what it points to is that a larger pike would most of the times rather attack and steal the already caught prey from a smaller pike than eat the smaller pike itself!”

click here for the full article and adjoining step by step of the fly.

thanks for the inspiration, Ulf !

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