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Fish reactions to disturbance


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It was in another thread on something else and I can't remember which thread, so I thought I'd start the conversation here. 

To give a bit of perspective I fish lures from a kayak 95% of the time on the drift and I have noticed, on some occasions, that fish don't like it when a few friends have either disappeared abruptly for ever or for a short time and return a bit out of sorts. Mostly this is over reefs in 30-50ft and the usual way it starts is you get a fish fairly quickly on the first few drifts and then it goes quiet. I had watched a video of a guy who kayak fishes out of Falmouth for bass and he said he found it better to cast over reefs that sit in 30' or less as the fish don't seem to spook as much. I try this when it gets sticky or I'm not catching and it has worked well on a few occasions especially for pollock. You just check your tracks on the plotter and sit parallel to them casting over different parts of the reef. 

Anyone else try changing tactics in similar circumstances or do you just move on?

Any other dodges for when the fish don't play ball?

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There's a school of thought in fly fishing that if you catch more than one or two fish from each mark the others will go off the feed - either the disturbance of the hooked fish or the sulky look on its face when it's returned puts them off. I've seen this happen myself and it's usually time to find a new mark when it does.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by disturbance though. Some fish (trout & bass in particular in my experience) are inquisitive and quite happily follow a hooked fish to to the surface to see what's going on. Bass actively hunt the splashy noise and vibrations of a lure walked across the surface. But I do think that boat noise over multiple drifts across a shallow reef or wreck will make the fish more cautious, so to cast away from the boat should pay dividends.

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7 minutes ago, Andy135 said:

so to cast away from the boat should pay dividends.

Same theory for boat casting and uptiding! 
Get the bait as far away from the "noise zone" as possible. 

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13 minutes ago, Andy135 said:

I suppose it depends on what you mean by disturbance though.

Good point, I wasn't specific was I, sorry. 

As SF says there is hull and other noise and in seal areas I would imagine that a large dark silhouette above would make older fish wary. 

Good disturbance is something we hope to take advantage on in the future by catching mackerel in an area we expect tope and then anchor and groundbait the same area. I have had double and triple hook ups when fish are feeding hard on sandeel shoals and no scare. I have also had good catches after a creel boat has lifted and dropped in the same area, small crab and old bait being thrown back and new scent from the set line perhaps the cod are waiting for, or are used to it happening?

I just wondered what others opinions were. 

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8 minutes ago, GPSguru said:

 

Having had numerous conversations with marine biologists and fish experts at both Plymouth  / Exeter universities, I am beginning to understand fish behaviour.

Most of the disturbance is caused by the catching of fish within the  'comfort' zone of the shoal. When caught, the fish give off vibrations (for want of a better word) that signal danger to other fish in the same vicinity. So, once you have snagged a couple of fish on a reef or a wreck, it all goes pretty quiet as the fish are on 'high alert', often the shoal will move to a different part of the reef or wreck. I have proven this by targetting a different part of a wreck when it goes quiet and all of a sudden it comes alive again for a few fish, but generally it is best to go some place else for an hour or so and then come back.

 

#nevermindthatshitwheresmyfreestuff??

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, JonC said:

#nevermindthatshitwheresmyfreestuff??

Your turn will come, I am just waiting to sort out all the small fish stuff like size 12 hooks and mini shads etc 🤣

Edited by GPSguru
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@GPSguru it was you then that sparked this conversation, thank you and thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

12 hours ago, GPSguru said:

Most of the disturbance is caused by the catching of fish within the  'comfort' zone of the shoal.

This is what I think I've experienced, although I have no real evidence, but I think that there will be times when they are feeding hard, feeding frenzy perhaps, when that will negate any spooking but of course that will happen less often. 

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22 minutes ago, Malc said:

@GPSguru it was you then that sparked this conversation, thank you and thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

This is what I think I've experienced, although I have no real evidence, but I think that there will be times when they are feeding hard, feeding frenzy perhaps, when that will negate any spooking but of course that will happen less often. 

I'd love to come across a shoal. 😔

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6 hours ago, Saintly Fish said:

I'd love to come across a shoal. 😔

Have a word with Leo. Geoff.😉

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15 hours ago, Malc said:

@GPSguru it was you then that sparked this conversation, thank you and thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

This is what I think I've experienced, although I have no real evidence, but I think that there will be times when they are feeding hard, feeding frenzy perhaps, when that will negate any spooking but of course that will happen less often. 

TBH Malc, Pollock rarely seem to frenzy feed, unlike Bass, but even frenzy feeding Bass will disperse when you have caught a handful. Pollock definitely get preoccupied with certain prey types, like sandeel's or sprats, and I find that shoaling Pollock do spook quite easily when a couple have been caught. When we are wrecking, we try to get a hooked fish away from the 'hooking' area as quickly as possible.

Mackerel are also frenzy feeders (normally on Sandeel, or tiny whitebait), but as they have no swim bladder they also have to keep moving, so often it is a case of picking up a few fish from each shoal as they swim through.

There are also fish that don't seem to give a shit about danger signals and will continue to feed. Usually it is the greedy fish like Ling, Conger, Pout, and Scad.

Another fish that doesn't seem too bothered about danger signals are Plaice, and they will quite happily jump onto a 2nd hook where one fish has already been hooked. Again, Plaice are sight feeders and greedy gits.

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Sharks will follow the sound of boat engines here, they also turn to full adrenalin mode when they hear spear guns go off and also come to check out boats when the anchor chain rattles over the side of the boat. Obviously this is mostly because they have become tuned to knowing they can steal fish from us. 

What I find quite amazing is that if I head into the water with camera gear and no speargun is that fish sense they are not being hunted and will approach very close when I have just the camera. Those same fish soon disappear out of sight when underwater hunting with a gun. However, by using flashers set at different depths using floats at the surface we are able to draw certain species close for a brief moment. I feel sure these would work on bass and pollack etc.

Diving on air can also be a good attractant and Ive often considered setting up a small compressor with a weighted hose to create air bubbles. I regularly skipper commercial dive boats for shellfish, where the divers encounter fish that are attracted to the fact the divers are removing shellfish from the reefs but also larger pelagic fish cruise above them in their air bubble trails. Unfortunately this kind of work also attracts large sharks that are dangerous to the divers.

Fads are another way of bringing fish to nothing more than a rope with a float. There will often be hundreds of dolphin fish and other pelagic species close to the surface but also bottom feeders where the float is anchored. Fads normally take several weeks to get algae growth on the floats and rope and its normally not until good growth forms that fish will hold at them.

The video link I posted in a thread the other day shows how sharks are tuned into boats over here.

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