Are these myths hurting your fishing?
When most people think of a “fisherman’s lie” they envision a tiny minnow becoming a trophy wall hanger as the story is retold. While this may be true it is not the only fisherman’s lie, nor is it the type which will negatively impact YOUR next trip. What you really need to be on the lookout for are the ever persistent myths concerning fish behavior which have somehow become accepted as fact.
Fishing is as much myth as it is reality. Every angler has a “secret” method or lure they swear by as well as situations which will instantly send them packing from even the most successful outing. Some of these myths are actually based in fact but have been corrupted or misunderstood over the years. Others are pure fantasy. Either way planning your next adventure around these tall tales are likely to end in slack lines and empty creels.
1. Fish only strike when hungry. Although this theory is wide spread it is based on human behavior, not that of fish. Think about it, if fish only struck a lure or bait when hungry how successful would the average angler be, especially when fishing a waterway well stocked with bait fish? Many will strike out of aggression, fear or a need to protect their young. The key is to know which lure induces which type of response and select accordingly.
2. Fish will not feed during colder weather. Again, while this theory is very wide spread it is just as false. If it were true ice fishing or fishing in far northern areas would not exist. Fish are not a species which hibernates, which means they need to feed everyday regardless of the temperature. Fish will slow their feeding during cold weather as a means to conserve energy, and usually become more selective in their prey, but they still need to eat.
3. Rain ruins fishing. I actually find this theory a bit funny because as a young boy learning to fish I was taught the opposite. In reality the true lies somewhere in the middle. Storms often mean a lowered barometric pressure, which can cause fish to become inactive. But this is not always the case. Some storms, especially quick summer thunderstorms, are not accompanied by such a drop in pressure so the fishing remains strong. Plus, the period preceding a storm often includes a rise in pressure and increased activity. Instead of watching for rain keep an eye on barometric pressure.
4. Fish do not bite during the heat of the day. This is another partial truth which has been taken out of context. If you are shore fishing chances are the midday bite isn’t so good. This is because the shallower water near shore heats up faster and fish often head deep to avoid the hot sun. But, if you are fishing deeper water or offshore there is no reason to call it a day just because the sun is out.
5. Big water means big fish. Sounds good but this theory is not based on science, just what some angler thought was common sense. It is true that bigger water has more potential for holding bigger fish, or at least more big fish, due to its carrying ability (how many pounds of fish it can sustain). But if smaller water has the habitat and food big fish need there is no reason they will not call it home. Plus, many species such as the northern pike prefer to hunt in shallow, weed filled areas no matter how large the waterway.