16 April 2013


3 Marine Science Facts & Tips To Catch More Fish!

Dr. Dave Ross of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Talk Last Week  
 "How a Little Science Can Help You to Find and Catch More Fish"

A few things I learned at Dr. Ross's talk on April 10th at the Woods Hole Library.

Captain Kirk's Universe

Captain James T. Kirk‘s mission was to seek out and explore new universes. He actually did not need The Enterprise to do that or to go very far. A row boat would have been sufficient and warp drive certainly isn’t necessary. 

Seventy one percent of our planet is covered by water and the ocean makes up 97% of that, most of which has never been explored. The ocean provides a unique universe right here on earth.  The sea is very different from the terrestrial world we are used to and has creatures stranger looking than Klingons.  Seawater is much denser than air and its molecular configuration gives it specific properties that fisherman can use to their advantage. Welcome to the universe of the fish. 
Sound, Odor, and Light Transmission in Water

Sound travels 5 times faster in water (4,800 ft/sec) than in air because water is denser than air.  Many fish can hear sound up to a mile or more away and use sound to locate their prey. They generally can only see about 60 ft. 

Tip one. Use lures that makes noise.
Odors/scent moves with and in the direction of the current. Some fish have a sense of smell 1000 times better than a dog, which is 1000 times better than ours and fish generally face forward in the direction of the current.  However, odors dissipate slower in water than in air and typically fish can only detect scent up to some number of hundreds of yards away. 

Tip two. Use scent and current to your advantage.
Avoid getting chemicals like suntan lotion or gasoline on your hands that can wind up on your lures and experiment applying “scent” to lures and fishing up current from where you think the fish are holding.
Light penetration of water is dependent on wavelength, water depth, and ambient light. Light effectively changes colors as you go deeper in the water column eventually making everything black.  Understanding what colors a fish can recognize depending on its location in the water column can make you a better fisherman.

Tip three. Use colors the fish will see easily depending on water depth and light conditions.
Red and orange disappear first, yellow and green are right in the middle and blue and violet travel the furthest. The reason Lefty Kreh says "If it ain't chartreuse it ain't no use," is because yellow/green is right in the middle of the spectrum and will show up under most daylight conditions.  Black and purple work best at night because dark lures provide contrast to the ambient light on the surface.
Remember sound trumps smell, eyesight, and color when it comes to locating prey from a distance. I’ll go into that in more detail in my next posting along with specific recommendations on lure colors, scents, and lures that make noise to attract fish.

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