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How a Little Science can help you to find and catch more fish

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Oceanographer and fisherman David Ross will speak at the Woods Hole Public Library on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 PM in a talk titled “How a little science can help you to find and catch more fish".  


            Ross is a Scientist Emeritus at WHOI and has written over 70 articles in various fishing magazines about science and fishing.  For many years he wrote a marine science column for Saltwater Fly Fishing magazine.  His last book "The Fisherman’s Ocean” is in its 7th printing.  Dr. Ross has also previously written several introductory oceanographic textbooks. At WHOI he was the Sea Grant Director, Director of the Marine Policy Program, and Chairman of the Marine Geology and Geophysics Department.


            To quote Dr. Ross: “ How many times has a  fisherman heard a remark something like "Think like a fish" ?  It is usually said with good intentions by a fishing partner- sometimes to “explain” why he or she is being more successful than you.  The remark implies that if you could only think like a fish you would know exactly where they would be and what fly or lure they would take.  Sounds good- but is it really possible for us, usually intelligent fishermen, to think like a simple fish?  The answer is probably not.


          Among the problems of thinking like a fish is that we do not even know if fish actually can think.  We, speaking scientifically, do know that fish do a lot of things driven by instinct- but probably not by any distinct thought process.  Feeding, survival, migration, and reproduction seem to be the main drives or forces that influence most fish.  And since most fish travel in schools the behavior of one is reflected as the behavior of all. 


         Nevertheless there are a few things and insights that we do know about fish that we can use to make us more successful in finding and catching fish.  These things include fish senses, such hearing, smell, and vision and certain behavioral aspects.  For example some recent research shows that some fish prefer certain colors and knowing this can be very helpful in choosing what color lures or flies to use.   


Neither science nor experience has all the answers about fish- but there are a lot of interesting observations, conjectures, and insight about fish that should interest most anglers.   Even if you don’t catch more fish, fishing should be more enjoyable when you know more about how fish live and survive in their environment.”


 

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