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Thread: Big Fish - Small Fight???

  1. #1
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    Default Big Fish - Small Fight???

    I wanted to post a reply to Yella's observations in the 'Vaal River Update' thread, but reconsidered since I feel this may be a topic better discussed separately.

    I am referring to his quote:

    Quote Originally Posted by yella View Post
    Attachment 23835

    Ja the sunday morning fishing was slow but I caught this fish - my first yellow over 4kg. It was surprisingly docile while fighting, don't know if it was fatigued with spawning or just very old. Caught on a trusty old hot spot ptn on a 16 I think.

    With the good conditions and "clearish" water we have had I have seen fish like this and bigger nearly everywhere I have been the last 2 months, but only managed to hook a few of around 3.5 - 3.8. It was actually surprising to me how many big fish I saw and how rarely people catch the 4kg+ fish. They are around everywhere from potch up to the barrage, just a bit too clever for the average angler. And they break 3.5kg tippets like they dont exist if you are asleep on the take (that has happened to me a lot the last few weeks)

    I was wondering if anyone had pondered upon the effect of possible lies – prey - related to feeding habits and fish fighting behavior? I recall swinging a #8 bugger to an approximately 2kg yellow before, which snapped the 3x tippet on the take, I must mention that I landed a 5kg catfish moments before in the typical slower water, no signs on tippet, knot or hook wear before swinging to the yellow, guided by the strong take on the bugger fly I presume the fight would have been high passed, intense and short. Then the next day I landed a 4kg yellow on a 4x tippet and a #16 Czech nymph in pocket water which like Yella’s experience didn't put up much of a fight at all. in fact I it was so 'docile' that I was surprised to learn the size of the fish when landing it.

    so the Question:

    Can it be that yellow fish (or other species) may change their ‘hunting’ behavior – correlated to – the different lies they occupy – and the type of prey they spot – resulting in the different types of fish fighting experience of the angler?

    For instance say a yellow fish may think to itself damn I am hungry as hell, think I gonna look for a big piece of meat, oh yes I remember finding some before at those reed beds close by, let me head that way and wait for one to break cover, when spotting its anticipated prey it slams the hell out of it for in case his buddies around also spot the big bugger or before this stronger faster prey escapes, then when filled it may feel now I only want to snack on little morsels again, let me head back to that ‘chill possie’ I know plenty of small nymphs drift down this time of day, where it may generally make small effort 'darts' at short distances to intercept the typical 'helpless' weaker nymphs in faster current.
    No one does it smaller then me!

  2. #2
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    Thats a great question Chris. I have assumed the docileness comes with old age - but that's no more than a hunch. The reason I say that is that up to about 3kgs the fish are never docile. And the couple of big docile fish I have caught had fins that were sagging. While the big fish that faught hard had fins that looked younger (then again it might be a condition thing)

  3. #3
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    Default Big Fish - Small Fight???

    Smallmouth don't lie in wait to feed, they work an area actively.

    What you're most probably experiencing is the post spawn lull. Same thing happens with Bass, they are very aggressive pre spawn and during the spawn, and then in the post spawn months they are lazy and rarely hit a lure.

    Spawning takes a lot out of a fish, more than we think, and when you combine the timing (post spawn) with the particular fish (over 3kg's, hence all female) it's not a big leap to come to the conclusion that they are simply a little tired.

    In summer the males put up a hell of a fight, in fall/early winter the bigger SM will give you a moer of a rev as they are either fattening up leading into winter or have been recouping and rebuilding their reserves.

    In my opinion SM fight at their best in winter.
    "Hierdie drol het baie vlieë" - Ago 2014.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scythe View Post
    In my opinion SM fight at their best in winter.
    My experience is the opposite. Yellowfish are a warm water species, and are quite clearly more active and energetic in the warmer months. This is my experience having fished for them in both summer and winter. I don't base this on any scientific evidence, but simply my own experience. Also bearing in mond that most of my yellow fishing is done on the lower Orange which generally has far less toxicity than the Vaal, so im pretty sure that water quality has something to do with the health of the fish.
    Disclaimer.... none of my posts are intended to be "expert advice"..just opinions from someone who is willing to help where he can.

  5. #5
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    So I went fishing this morning roughly in the same place where I caught the docile 4kg fish. I caught several around 3kg and they put up a massive fight. But they also look healthier. Nearly every time I was sure this must be a giant fish.

    The way they fight might also have to do with the kind of water surrounding them. If its rapids they will just run to the next pool. If its open water they keep going - I actually was into my backing today.

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