ou’re at a party and the host says, “Have you met Bill (or whatever his name is)?
fishes.” And you think to yourself: thank heavens for that, the chap talking to me was chewing my ear off! “Talk later” you say, (but you probably won’t), “I’m just going have a quick chat with William”.
Three and a half hours later (he fishes for the same species as you do), you and your new best mate are into the heart of fishing: the sneakiest tweaks, the finest rigs, secret baits – the Campari and sodas have really been flowing. We’ve all been there, and it’s great when that happens, but when he was attributing his successes to ‘Fire Pattern Theory’, you thought - Qué?
We know that the most ardent anglers are sorted in terms of their tackle, tactics, techniques, baits, venues, rigs, not to mention approaches but there’s something missing from this list that isn’t tuned to the same degree: the game, think like a fish. We do ponder this, lose sleep over it even, but typically we are anthropomorphising – that is to say humanising the situation: we like to think what we would do if we were the fish, which can only get us so far. What if you knew how a fish processed information on top of this instinct... what could that do for your fishing?
Mount Everest is 29,029ft high, and I reckon specialist carp angling has come 29,000 of those feet but there’s still 29 feet to go – and that level takes us to the category of the super-specialist! This is opinion admittedly, and Clint Eastwood, as Callaghan, said of opinions, “They’re like ar*eholes. Everyone’s got one!” However, I believe this ‘push for the summit’ is worth exploring.
If you pursue the most pressured, biggest, oldest, wisest fish, and you consider that fish intelligence can and does have a bearing on fishing, then this article’s for you. If not, in the nicest possible way, have you seen Dirty Harry?
Don’t look for offerings that will do for your fishing what wood to carbon did for rods, or catgut to monofilament did for lines? Those leaps are done. As we’ve got better and better at what we do, improvements have gotten harder and harder to come by (a bit like a sprinter trying to knock a hundredth of a second off his 100m PB), but whilst these advances grow ever slimmer, they arguably increase in their significance?
The question is does knowing something about how a fish processes information help us when pursuing pressured, old and wise leviathans?
This extends to considering an angler’s intention to catch the main members of an apex pod and asks if it comes down to something more than just luck: more than a matter of maximising the ‘dos’ and minimising the ‘don’ts’.
You may already fish in a way that outwits the fish’s processing capabilities, without knowing it – not implausible, albeit that you might not be