Understanding Fish – 3 Things You Must Know to Catch More Fish
You don’t have to be a biologist to be a great angler, but being aware of the fishes senses, feeding habits, and habitat preferences will phenomenally increase your catch.
1. Fish Senses. All fish have 4 main senses- Vision, Lateral Line, Hearing, and Smell. Together these senses tell the fish about the world around them.
Vision – All predatory fish have great vision, but it is important to know that the amount of color they can see varies depending on the depth of water they typically live in. Shallow-water fish have great color vision while deep-water fish have little to none. Think about it, having color vision in deep water would be worthless anyway. After 10 feet red is completely filtered out and yellow after 20 feet. So when fishing deeper water a ‘flashy’ shiny type lure will probably be more effective than a vibrantly colored one and Vice Versa.
Lateral Line – When water becomes too murky or dark for predatory fish to effectively see their prey they use this nifty little sense that enables them to pick up vibrations. The lateral line is so amazing at picking up vibrations that a fish can tell how big another fish is, how fast it’s moving and in what direction!
Hearing – for fish hearing is much like an extension of their lateral line. They can pick up vibrations in the water, but because they have no ear drum the vibrations are sent straight to their body tissue. A rattling lure can be picked up very well by a fishes hearing, however I believe that the main purpose of their hearing is to maintain an equilibrium.
Smell – Most fish have a very acute sense of smell, however, some have a better sense of smell than others. For instance, catfish have an amazing sense of smell and because their vision is so poor they almost solely rely on their sense of smell to find food. Other fish like trout, salmon and sunfish also use their sense of smell. Using a scented lure would be a good choice if fishing for one of these. Fish that do not use smell as much would include: bass, pike, and walleye.
2. Feeding Habits. All fish are opportunistic feeders. This means that fish go to where the food is. Most of the time it’s not even necessary to use a lure that looks realistic, but it should have a similar size and swim pattern as their target prey would. Learn what type of food your target catch typically eats and fish where that food is most likely to be. You always want to be around when there is a feeding frenzy so it’s important to note things that most often trigger feeding frenzies might include: Insect hatches, approaching storms, and even wind pounding into the shoreline. (I will post more information on this in future articles.)
3. Habitat. A habitat is the environment that a fish lives in. Every fish species has its’ own preference of cover, structure, and spawning grounds. When you can’t find a feeding frenzy these are the places you want to look. It is crucial to know the preferred habitat of the fish you want to catch if you’re ever going to catch it! Different species require different water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels. Usually the warmest water is found on top or in the shallows and the coldest water is always on the bottom except in winter. Know what water temperature your fish prefer and you will always find them.
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