As cunning as a Trout the Duffer wises up.
By Bill Drew
At last our suspicions have been proved correct. Fishing folklore, derided by the non-angler has been endorsed by scientists. Breathe a sigh of relief. Trout are quick and not just in zapping about the river. Worthy opponents, trout not only have superb vision, radar- like senses and lightening reactions, they are also clever. Brown trout have been shown to be tactically aware and with a good memory. No wonder yours truly the Duffer blunders from blank to blank, ( and bank to bank), he has been outwitted by a fish.
Now the evidence is Antipodean and relates at present to river brown trout in New Zealand, so reservoirs and rainbows are still in the unproven category. Nevertheless the scientific research has been published in no less august magazine than the New Scientist. Quoting data they describe trout as "streetwise" with "old hands" rapidly developing from "na´ve" stock as they encounter catch and release anglers on the inaccessible Kahurangi River. Inaccessible, I cant even pronounce it, but Kahurangi will be my watchword from now on.
"Savvy" trout were produced from being caught and released. Initially the uneducated fish lined up to be reeled in by the researchers. Once tagged and released the brownies lay doggo sneering at the fishers for a period of at least a month before memory loss or hunger weakened their resolve.
I find that my memory tends to last on a moment to moment basis as middle age and drink batter at my few remaining brain cells. Trout outperform me easily on the recall front. For years I have been educating the fish of the Tweed, Yarrow and Ettrick. Thankfully their lifespan of 5/6 years gives me a chance. Bring on the next generation. I can teach trout what a badly presented fly looks like, how a slack line can be used to engineer an escape and a host of other skills. Perhaps I could be bought in by river managers to develop a kindergarten for trout making them inaccessible to the beginner but a sterling challenge to the competent angler?
Trout tutor and angling research assistant seems a spot on career move for the Duffer. Bear with me while I write that down. My memory is not what it used to be.
Cry Kahurangi and break out the rods a na´ve trout needs your efforts . You know it makes sense.
© Bill Drew 2000
This article has also been published in the Magazine "FISH AND FLY": www.fishandfly.co.uk
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