|fish ’n’ tip - pheromones that stimulate fish feeding with rob paxevanos
Dated: 17 December, 2003
I have covered all sorts of burley techniques before in this column. Things like using the same thing for bait and burley (eg pilchard) using a little burley often, making sure your bait goes where your burley is etc.
To put my head in a spin, U.K. scientists have developed a fish attracting product based on combination of pheromones produced by the fish and the fish's prey. This is a brand new concept for both Australian and International anglers.
It has long been known that specific fish pheromones are working overtime during breeding, and there has been various attempts at developing such pheromones to attract fish. These pheromones are not always that helpful to an angler though who is after a bite rather than an amorous fish! However scientists have discovered that fish give off other pheromones related specifically to feeding.
The types of pheromones most likely to trigger a bite include those that are emitted during territorial defence of a snag or area, and those emitted during competitive behaviour at feeding time! Starting to sound like a good substance to take fishing?
|Are pheromones the secret to getting big old fish to bite!|
As much as I hate to admit it, the poms have been the ones who developed these "fish feeding pheromones". A lot of the science behind how to obtain such a substance is, as one would imagine, being kept secret. The good news is that an amateur-angling product called "Ultrabite" has been developed and approved by CEFAS (the English "Center for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Sciences") in collaboration with Kiotech and the UK government.
Check these quotes from the UK media:
"The certification of Ultrabite as an effective fish attractant is a significant step for CEFAS. It being a Government Agency, there is an absolute need for open, honest and scientifically proven bases for its public endorsement of a commercial product."
The more I researched, the more interesting things became. I found that Kiotech is a British biotech company specialising in triggering mood states and behavioural changes through the use of aromas.
The original impetus to the development of Ultrabite came from the aquaculture industry, who needed a way of stimulating farm fish to eat less expensive food than the fish food they ate naturally.
As you can see, the development of Ultrabite is no "uncle bobs backyard burley", it is serious stuff that I also found has had over 10 million dollars spent on developing and testing and refining.
Never the less I am always keen to see how well a new product performs in Australia. I was lucky enough to obtain several samples of the new product well before it hit Australian shelves.
The first batch I got was the trout formula. When I first opened the vial, I had to say it is the smelliest stuff I have ever come into sniffing range of. Bracing myself I took a deeper whiff and it hit a nerve deep in me-heck this stuff smelt really different!
Many years ago it was legal to use trout eggs for trout bait in Victorian waters. These days they are banned in most states both because of their effectiveness and moral issues. However when trout eggs were legal I spent much time experimenting with them as bait.
If you have ever smelt trout eggs, especially ripe ones, then this would most likely be the closet thing you would have smelt to the ultrabite trout formula (although the ultrabite smells far worse...) Never the less the smell of the Ultrabite reminded me of the strategies I used to use on trout when using roe (trout eggs) as bait. I imagined that this would be the best way to employ the Ultrabite.
Rainbows spawn in winter, so I headed up to waste point on lake Jindabyne near the mouth of the Thredbo River. The trout were just starting to congregate in the holes about a kilometer from where the water starts flowing and there had been some patchy catches made by other anglers.
I was never under the impression that the product would attract fish where there were no fish, or that it would make fish feed when they were full or already had an ample food source. However I knew the area well, there were fish in the general vicinity so I reckoned that it was a good place to start testing the product.
I mushed up an old loaf of bread with a bit of water, added one of the vials and threw out a dozen hand fulls along a 100 meter stretch of the shoreline. I wasn’t expecting an immediate response, so I rigged up a few rods for myself and my mates, which took me about 5 minutes.
I used various standard baits-scrub worms, bardi grubs etc and while I wouldn’t say that we caught the trout hand over fist, I can say that we caught more trout in less time than we usually do. Several lure and fly anglers in the area also noticed an improvement in the "bite".
What was more surprising though was the improvement in the fishing in that area half a day later when we returned, and then up to about a week after that! The spot that I ground baited was far from the best spot to fish (I had to fish there as we were sheltering in the car due to the snow!). However it became a great spot for myself and several other anglers for that week. I sent some other anglers to the area and they also scored good results. I even heard that a guy caught an exceptional number of trout (most were released) and it worked out that he had been in the zone I had ground baited!
After the initial results, I handed a few vials to experienced trout anglers and they found similar results: ie the fishing improved in the area where they added the Ultrabite. Once ultrabite was introduced to the area, we also found that baits lures and flies "scented up" with the Ultrabite did better than those that weren’t.
Next week I’ll continue looking at my interesting findings with fish feeding pheromones including those specifically developed for the saltwater.
Until next week, see you on the water.
Fishnet Pro Angler
Report brought to you by fishingaustralia.tv
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org