Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 3, 2015

Salmon and Tarpon, I found this informative and amusing:

Was relearning a little about copepods and ran into this. Seemed pretty good summary of farmed salmon situation. Relates to tarpon, of course, although I first ran into these guys (sea lice) developing flies pacific salmon released into Lake Erie would either think were yummy, or just plain didn’t want around (at all). Atlantic salmon flies at the time were ancient Scottish affairs, bound by tradition and designed more to catch fishermen with 13′ wooden fly rods, wearing knickers and funny hats than to catch salmon. It was well known that West coast species wanted nothing at all to do w traditional Atlantic salmon flies, but bazillions of insanely complicated flies that seemed to work pretty well w West coast fish also didn’t seem to interest the Lake Erie versions of the same species. We decided our best bet was to figure out what these animals ran into at sea they either ate because they loved em, or ate to protect themselves from them. Sea lice proved to be a missing link. Started simple: wrapped a (bent) long shanked hook w black yarn, picked on the sides to give it a little movement and drifted it through the reddes (sp) and other places the salmon were holding. And we started catching fish — surprisingly, both f and m of the species. And fresh and not so fresh fish, come to think of it. So we weren’t just getting the odd, over-sexed fresh male guarding a redd. We had a fly that would catch spawning salmon that hadn’t eaten in awhile and weren’t hungry. We got the new hatchery.

That was in the early, mid- ’70s. The patterns that evolved in this vein over the years have gotten pretty good — they’re called “intruders” and work with nearly all salmon species that I’m aware of. Including Atlantics. Subtle regional variations, but basically the same idea. And they work all over the world. Anyhow, I’m at the same place w tarpon. Difference is, the “standard” patterns seem to work pretty well, although no one seems to know why. So all I have to do is figure out what the fish think that silly purple+green+yellow+whit fluffy thing is and I’ll be able to extract the trigger features the animals are responding to. Or so the theory goes.

It’s still very much “chuck and chance” it for these fish, although there are folks around here who can figure out what will work most of the time just because they’ve been at it forever — here. But I’ve never heard anyone explain what makes a 150lb fish inhale something as idiotic as a chartreuse “tarpon toad” fly. And what’s more, they don’t spend ONE MINUTE thinking about it.

The guides I tie flies with on Wednesday around lunch time think I’m amusing. I’m sure they’re right. Nudi-WHATS? Cope–huh? They’re good guys and they make their living catching tarpon. And they’re really good at it. But it still seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. There’s a lot going on in this primordial soup. Come figure this mess out for me. I’m retired.

And don’t eat farm raised salmon.
John Martin
Sent from my rowboat

Read more in; Islands in the Storm, Storm Surge; A Coastal Village Battles the Atlantic, Beach Wars; 10,000 Years on a Barrier Beach. Available in local bookstores, and Amazon, Also See Strawberry Hill, UPNE, and Schiffer book tabs at the top of this page.



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