Bass Fishing Wexford

On releasing a Sea-Trout this week it was again brought home to me the immense pressure from its natural predators it endures. Whilst unhooking it we noted the scars on its flanks healed, and fresh. I looked back on some notes I took on catches made during the Celtic Sea Trout Project where it was noted that between 70 – 80% carried scars from predator encounters, the biggest two culprits were Seals, and Gannets.                The fish being released above showed the evidence of encounters with both, the claw marks of the Seal can be seen just in front of the dorsal fin, the other mark on the dorsal was the leader wrapping around the fish whilst playing it.   If you’ve ever had a good look at a seal you will have noticed how large its claws are, and what an asset they are when preying on fish. The vertical strike from the Gannet is on the other side. Salmonids are always top of the menu for Seals when available, and are never too away far from the Salty’s haunts, day, + night, constantly keeping the Sea-Trout on the move…….               The Gannet, is also a voracious predator of Sea-Trout <3lb, but will strike at bigger Trout I’m sure, the tell tale vertical scars give away the culprit, as seen on the fish below which was retained some years back.                              Like the seal in the pic above, the Gannet often targets them at estuary mouths in spring, and you can often see them in action.   The Gannets MO when targeting singular fish (as opposed to diving into shoals) in shallower water seems to be diving at less of an angle than usual, and aiming for the largest target area, eg, the flank of the fish.                  Although Salty’s are well camouflaged over clean sand, + gravel where they like to “lie” I’m sure that their shadow gives them away on brighter days in shallow water a lot of the time, to the always scanning, ever hungry Gannet.  Again keeping the Salty on the move.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A fishes predators has every bit as much influence on it as its prey/food, its primary instinct is its own survival.         Seals, and Gannets are just two of the Sea-Trouts predators you will observe regularly, that very much have a big influence on the Salty’s nomadic lifestyle………

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