Strike Motive–Fish With an Attitude

Strike Motive is not always Hunger

Fish strike lures or flies for a number of different reasons, not always related to hunger. Sometimes it’s the chase and catch motive, like big rainbows in open water. Sometimes its the swim to beat the competition, like a trout frenzy when you drop a tantalizing bait into a stream pool holding a number of hungry trout, or throw fish meal into a farm pond. Sometimes it’s a protection mechanism at work in a spawner on its redd, like this spunky Pumpkin Seed that hit a small crankbait cast into shallow water for bass.

Pumpkin Seed caught during spawn

This North Idaho Pumpkin Seed (Sun Fish) struck a lure much bigger than it's mouth.

Strike motive can even be sparked by a thunder storm or the change in air pressure as it comes in over a body of water. I once experience a surprising trout feed when I was caught by a November squall in a row boat on the wrong end of the lake I was fishing.

The storm came over the ridge in a hurry and realizing I had no time to return to the launch on the other end, I hunkered down in a rain jacket in the shallows of a grass bed. Until then I hadn’t had so much as a hit, fishing for an hour at least. But as I contemplated enjoying my misery, looking at the rain pelting the water, I saw the dorsal fin of a fair-size trout break the surface in front of my eyes. I was fly fishing. So I quickly changed over to a Pheasant Tail beaded nymph pattern and cast into the open water near the grass. In seconds I hooked and landed a 13″ cutthroat trout.

I was delighted of course and during the entire squall I caught 10 more averaging about 12″, normal for that lake and lost one a little larger–of course.

As soon as the squall passed over and the brisk gusting wind stopped, I was back to a fishless game as if that lake had never held a trout or anything with fins. What was the strike motive? What brought on that feeding frenzy. I’ve often wondered if I’m right. I think it was the fact that the squall and the resulting wave action on the surface kept the fish hawks from seeing these trout in the shallows where the nymphs were lifting to the surface during their hatch.

If anybody out there cares to tell me otherwise. I’ll consider your advice. But I thought that might be a valid explanation. That particular strike motive might be tagged: Uncover.

~Dwayne Parsons on Twitter @IFishWrite