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Beware of those deleterious effects.

We have all suspected for many years that the noises anglers make can scare fish right out of their scales, or at least out of casting range. Now our suspicions have been scientifically confirmed.


I cite a scientific paper which suggests that manmade noises may have a "deleterious effect" on fishes. In fact, the author is so sure of this that he goes on to state that he has produced "sufficient incontrovertible evidence no longer to doubt the probable impact of noise on fishes."

Since I cannot define an incontrovertible possibility, let's just drop that part and go on to the deleterious effects. These seem to fall into two categories--disturbance and elicitation. Anyway, according to the researcher, "studies have shown that noise is not only disturbing, but its sources are avoided, and in specific cases, flight responses are elicited."

While we can easily guess the noisy sources that fish avoid, the report leaves us hanging as to just what kind of noises produce such frantic responses. Here I believe I can contribute some important data, for few other anglers can match my own distinguished record in the art of eliciting flight responses from virtually every kind of gamefish over a wide range of angling environments.

One of my most frequently utilized methods requires pinpoint casting accuracy but, once mastered, it is foolproof. It is accomplished by depositing a small chunk of feathered lead directly atop the head of an unsuspecting fish as it roots around on a shallow flat. As an alternative, the thickest portion of a weight-forward fly line, delivered unerringly to the same target will achieve an identical result, even though the sound frequency may be slightly different.

I have also found that flight responses can be reliably elicited by dropping a push-pole from a platform onto the deck of a skiff. Most guides have used this tactic to elicit a flight response at one time or another, and some insist that its effectiveness is doubled when the pole strikes an angler's head on the way down.

All weekend boaters seem to know instinctively the very best way to elicit flight responses in deeper water, which is by heaving out the anchor as high and as far as one can, thus creating a noise roughly equivalent to the launching of a World War I depth charge, and eliciting flight responses from fish as far below as 60 feet. Another common deepwater method is to race at full-throttle straight into a school of fish striking at the surface.

In our high-tech society, anglers may prefer to elicit their flight responses electronically. If so, you might try a battery-operated "fish caller." I once lowered such a device into a clear canal by its wire and watched as a dozen or more bream and small bass hovered curiously around it. Then I flicked the switch to turn on its alleged fish-calling sounds. The unanimous flight response was too quick to follow with the human eye.

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Author:Dunaway, Vic
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2010
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