Last week Florian and I were fly fishing the famous Karup river as well as the Ribe river in Denmark for Sea trout and salmon. Fishing the Ribe river we were staying on a bridge and watching a pike laying on the bottom just below the bridge. We showed that pike to a young Danish fellow who then tried to catch that pike with his Rapala wobbler.
The pike was completely ignoring the wobbler several times. I told the youngster that he needs a real (small) fish to catch that pike. 5 minutes later the youngster came back with a small fish. His friend was fishing for small baitfish nearby. The youngster hang the (dead) baitfish on the end of the wobbler. The moment the wobbler and the baitfish came down to the bottom the pike turned on it immediately. He grabbed the baitfish and took it of the wobbler. 10 minutes later the pike was back in his position and again ignoring the wobbler as well as a Mepps spinner.
All that made me think a lot!
Obviously it was the smell of the dead fish which told the pike that this was something matching to be within the pike's food range.
A lot of fly fishermen now would explain me the real flavor to have activated the pike. What if the pike already was in feeding mood but could clearly smell the wobbler not to be in his food range?
I have no doubt that we all (me included of course) have a lot of fish coming to our flies to then turn away instead of taking it. Even more fish will not even come to our flies.
I am pretty sure that we very much underestimate how precise many species of fish can smell our flies and know that they are NOT within their food range. Of course we may fool the fish sometimes by agressivity or curiosity. And probably sometimes the fish may even want to eat our flies. But those fish which are under a high fishing pressure are mostly smart enough to simply smell something to be wrong.
I blelieve yet we know very little here which is why most of don't care much (if any) when opening their fly box and smelling all the glue, lack and chemical stuff in it.
Fish can smell 1 million times better than we can!
Imagine a fish who has learnt to smell your fly not to be within his feeding range from a significant distance. What would be your strategy to catch this fish?
Fish have at least 5 different ways (senses) how they get all the information they need about all the details of their environment. No, it's not just about seeing our flies! Well, UV active tying materials ARE of course most important, right!? ;)
By the way last week Flo and I saw round about 150 salmon (mostly silver ones) jumping in front of our nose. We tried all our stratgies. Not a single take! :)
In order to catch some serious fish again I went carp fishing the day we came home. ;)
Catchy week to all of you!
All my best
Some pictures as always...