Talking Fish


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I’ve known it for years. Fishing for trout teaches it to you. Fishing for bass teaches it to you. Fishing for reds teaches it to you. The problem is we bury it under piles of maps, tackle, gear, reports and fishing forum gossip.So what is “it”?

Here “it” is: The fish will tell you what they want to eat. Figuratively of course. More accurately stated, for those willing to observe it, the fish you are looking for will show you what they want to eat. And upon further inspection, how.

I relearn this lesson time and again. A story from last spring stays in the forefront of my mind, especially in spring.

While scouting kayaking locations from the bank one morning, my brother and  I found bass actively feeding on shad. We launched the kayaks and set off in hot pursuit. After 45 minutes and zero strikes on myriad baits, I changed my mind. I reanalyzed the situation.

What were the bass feeding on? Shad.
What size were the shad? About two inches.
What colors imitate shad? White and silver.
What speed were the shad moving? Fast.
What baits did I have that I could mimic the shad? One. An Excalibur XR25 Lipless Crankbait in Sexy Shad.

I tied it on and second cast landed a fish. I immediately called to Lance and let him know what the pattern was. He tied on a Strike King Red Eye Shad in Chrome and started catching them as well.

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Why did I spend so much time throwing my confidence baits? Because I was confident I knew what the fish wanted. They told me otherwise with their closed mouths near my baits and continued feasting around me. The fish offered display after display of what dinner they preferred. I just didn’t want to see it. I wasn’t actively watching for it.Sometimes we need to slow down, watch, listen, learn from our surroundings and then and only then, using our acquired knowledge from past and present, give the fish what it wants to which it in turn will give us what we want.

This lesson applies to more than just fishing though sometimes it takes a day on the water to remind us. A simple fish can teach us what we refuse to hear from others. Well played Mother Nature. Well played.

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About Chris Payne

A lifelong Texan, Chris Payne has been an outdoor enthusiast his entire life and has spent the last 15 years fishing mainly from a kayak. He is known for his thorough and helpful reviews as well as how to articles for nearly everything kayak fishing related. If you have questions or comments, you can leave them on this post or email Chris at: paynefish@gmail.com


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One thought on “Talking Fish

  • Roman Castro

    Hi Chris,
    Great observation. I found your site looking for kayak fishing info.
    I mostly do spearfishing in the ocean but got into some hook and line last year. I really enjoy hooking the spotted bay bass around San Diego and Mission bays.
    Keep up the good work and Thank You.