Interesting Facts About Fishing

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If you love fishing you will love this short and sweet article. Here we have 20 interesting facts about fishing that will impress your friends on the bank or in the boat. Some are extremely helpful in making you the better angler and some are simply fun and interesting. Enjoy!


20 Interesting Facts About Fishing

1. Most anglers are under the impression that flatheads (or mud cats) scavenge most of their food off the bottom.

This is a common misconception and out of most of the catfish species, flatheads are one of the most likely to eat live fish. Channel catfish on the other hand are undoubted scavengers that prefer to find rather than hunt their next meal. If your looking to hook up to a big flathead then your best bet is a live bait, if you are looking to hook up to a big channel cat, then your best bet is a stinky dead bait.

2. You may think catfish have no teeth but in reality, they have hundreds of tiny “hooked” teeth that form a hard Velcro-like pad in their mouth.

This is used to grip prey and scavenge food in the murky depths. There are some catfish that do have a large set of “shark-like” teeth as well. The Goonch catfish (Bagarius Yarrelli) is native to India and has a huge set of sharp teeth on its business end!

3. The best time to catch trophy fish is between 2 to 5 weeks after the fish have finished spawning.

Both male and female fish are not interested in eating during spawning so lose a few pounds in weight, but when they do get back on the feed, they are hungry! Female dominant species such as walleye, pike, and musky get especially hungry after spawning and tend to hit anything you throw at them. The biggest walleye, pike, and musky are female and if you are looking for a trophy catch, your chances are high after the spawn.

4. Speaking of spawning, the American eel has the longest migration for spawning of any fish.

Big females will spend 90% of their lives in large rivers and streams but when its time for spawning they head on an epic journey. The females meet the male eels at the mouth of the river where the water is brackish (where fresh meets salt water) and then both sexes head out to sea. Every American eel in the states swim to the same location in the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean for spawning. This is an amazing journey and a fascinating behavior indeed.

5. Leaches make excellent bait for walleye.

Using this bizarre bait for walleye can be highly effective for quick bites but make sure you use the right leech. The best leech for walleye is the Ribbon Leech, a firm bodied large leech that hooks up easily and presents well in the water. Next time your out targeting walleye and are coming up to a blank, why not try it out.

6. If you are just getting into salmon fishing, then it may be hard to tell the difference between a Coho or a Chinook Salmon.

One easy way to tell them apart is to look at the structure of the tail. Chinook Salmon have a bony tail that is much more rigid than the Coho. So if you are wondering what your recent catch is, simply grab the fish by the tail, if it slips through your fingers it is likely a Coho if it doesn’t then you are holding a Chinook.

7. Pike and Musky are both from the same family (Esox in Latin) and they both look extremely similar, but they are quite different.

If you are wondering whether you have hooked up to a Northern Pike or a musky there are a few features that tell them apart. The tail of a Musky is forked whereas a pike’s tail is rounded. A musky’s patterning is formed of dark and light bars that run vertically whereas a pike’s patterning is made up of light spots on a dark body. Lastly, the number of pores (holes under the lower jaw) differ between the two sub-species, the pike has 4 – 5 and the Musky has 6 – 9.

8. Many people assume that the predator fish in the Esox species (Pike and Musky) are voracious predators that feed on almost anything, this is a common misconception.

Many anglers have observed musky and pike using cameras attached to the line in front of a lure or spinner. In the footage from these inline cameras, you can see the fish following the lure cautiously before either hitting or turning away. They like to examine their prey before taking a bite and this is why big pike and musky can be so elusive to predator anglers.

9. Contrary to the last point, muskies and pike have been known to be quite aggressive during certain times of the year.

There is plenty of footage of musky and pike taking ducklings off the top of the water and in some cases even adult-sized ducks and waterfowl! There have been many stories of pike attacking swimmers that get too close reeds and pads and even taking small dogs that swim to close to a large pikes territory. Some people have found all manner of things inside the stomachs of these fish as well such as bird skeletons, turtles, lizards, and even smaller Esox!

10. An interesting study on the eyes of the walleye fish found that not only are they excellent for predating in dim-lit murky waters, but they see some colors better than others.

The eye of the walleye sees orange most clearly, followed by yellow and then green. Red is almost invisible to walleye so if your targeting this fish species with lures throw out those red ones and buy some that are yellow and orange.

11. Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish species in America.

The famous White Sturgeon that are found in rivers along the Pacific Coast are the biggest of the sturgeon family. White sturgeon have been caught with rod and reel on the Fraser river at over 1,000 pounds in weight. Along the Pacific Northwest, the average weight of sturgeon caught by rod and reel is still in the shocking 200 to 300-pound range. If you are fishing for whites make sure to bring strong rods, reels, and tackle!

12. You may think catfish must have a bland pallet to chomp down the nasty things that they do without throwing them up, but you are wrong.

Catfish have over 27,000 taste buds which is astonishing when you consider that we as humans have only 9,000! Next time you bait up to catch a big cat, think about what you are serving them, they have a more complex taste than you do.

13. Fish have a sixth sense.

The lateral line that you can clearly see down the flank of most fish you are likely to catch worldwide (both salt and freshwater species) acts as a sixth sense for navigation. The lateral line acts as a kind of radar that helps them navigate in dark and murky water.

14. Although fish do not have vocal cords, evidence shows that they do have a means of communication.

They use a varied range of low pitch sounds to communicate with one another. A series of clicks, grunts, croaks, whistles, and hisses can be heard underwater from fish that are “talking”. They use vibrating muscles, their swim bladder, and sometimes their teeth to make sounds to talk to their school. They may do this to notify other fish of good feeding areas and nearby predators, perhaps even to alert other fish of a hook in the water, who knows?

15. The heaviest fish ever recorded officially was caught on April 21st, 1959 by Alfred Dean of Victoria.

He was an avid shark fisherman that set the record with a 2,664-pound monster great white shark. He caught the beast off the Australian coast with 130-pound line in a surprisingly short 50 minutes. Dean caught plenty of great whites around this size with his previous catches coming in at 2,333 and 2,536-pounds, with his largest being the heaviest fish ever recorded by the international game fish association.

16. The Florida key fishing camp developed a way to calculate how fast a fish can swim.

They would measure how much line a fish takes within three seconds when it is hooked and makes a run, from this number they can figure out exactly how fast a fish can swim. Out of all the game fish they measured, they found that the black sailfish was the fastest, stripping 300 feet of line in three seconds. That puts the sailfish at a 68 miles per hour velocity and shows that it can go from zero to 60mph in a staggering 2.6 seconds!

17. The rougheye rockfish potentially has the longest lifespan of any fish species.

A 32-inch rougheye rockfish was caught in Alaska and examined by scientists to determine its age. The growth rings in the fish’s ear bone were measured to get an accurate estimate on its age and staggeringly they calculated it to be 205 years old! This particular rockfish is the oldest fish ever recorded but there may well be older fish out there swimming in the depths of our oceans.

18. Fish has been a source of food for humans for thousands of years and the first signs of fishing were discovered in fossils that are over 500,000 years old.

These fossils proved that Homo erectus used a primitive form of fishing to catch fish for eating. The first signs of Homo sapiens using more modern fishing techniques with spears, nets, rods, and line appeared in Egypt at around 3,500 BCE. So, next time you head out fishing with your high-tech rod and reel think about how old this form of fishing is and how deep its roots are in human culture.

19. Although fish do not shut their eyes and tuck themselves into bed to go to sleep in the same way as we do, they do have a form of “sleeping” or resting.

They have sleep-like periods where they slow physical activity and reduce their metabolism to conserve energy. During these sleep-like periods of rest fish have a slower response to stimuli and turn off the feed. Although they will respond to a predator attack, they will not be interested in feeding or hunting. Next time you are not catching, it really could be that the fish are asleep!

20. Piranhas are native to Brazil and the name comes from the indigenous Tupi people, it means “scissors” (pira nya).

Piranhas are found all over South America in freshwater rivers and lakes, they have razor-sharp teeth and they feed on fish, insects, fruit, and animal carcasses. Although piranhas are feared by tourists and are seen to be voracious predators that will tear you to shreds when swimming in infested waters, this is simply not true. Piranhas are actually more scavengers than hunters and while they have been known to eat large animal carcasses and human carcasses to the bone, they do not kill anything larger than themselves.

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