Greg Vinall

Greg Vinall

ALF Podcast Host, Scientist And Fishing Tragic

Greg is the host of the Australian Lure Fishing Podcast, an Aquatic Scientist, lure maker, fishing educator, speaker and author. He loves to take a “Mythbusters” approach to fishing, using his scientific background to research and test common fishing theories.

Greg’s Unscripted Brain Dump

Every now and then I get a few spare minutes and rather than gather my thoughts….. I just brain dump. I offload whatever fish-related thoughts are going through my tiny, pea sized brain at the time.

This is one of those occasions. 

Here’s a potted summary of some of today’s thoughts. Hopefully some of them are useful to at least some of you!

  • Fish are not typically what we’d think of as intelligent animals. They can think, learn and remember stuff, for sure. But they don’t do so to anywhere near the extent that we humans do (no surprises there). Mostly, fish react to stimuli either instinctively, or as a learned response. So they never outsmart us….. but sometimes we just don’t understand enough about what’s driving them to know what will catch them on the day.
  • Never try and think like a fish. Fish have a much smaller brain mass, as a proportion of total body mass, then humans. Catching fish is about understanding the factors that affect them and how they will respond.
  • Fish don’t always take lures out of hunger. The default position for lure fishers (including myself) is often to try and match the hatch – in other words use a lure that is similar in size, shape and action as the predominant bait species that the target fish feeds on. This works well if fish are feeding. But a lure that doesn’t match the hatch can be more effective if fish are reacting through anger, defending territory or curiosity. 
  • I believe that lure scents and attractants potentially play a very big role in getting more strikes, but it is an area where we have very little real knowledge and data. Science tells us that fish probably can’t smell insect repellent, sunscreen, petrol and some other odours that most of us believe would deter a fish. But fish are very sensitive to some proteins, much more so than fish or shellfish oils.
  • Fish have taste buds all over their skin, but particularly the cheeks and lateral line – and very few in the mouth or on the tongue, which is predominantly where human taste buds are found. So fish hooked in the side of the head may actually be trying to taste the lure or may be showing aggression rather than actively feeding. This is not always the case, but is probably true more often than we think. 

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