What Trout See
with Jason Randall
7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 14, 2016
San Marino Masonic Lodge
3130 Huntington Drive
San Marino, CA 91108
While fly fishing, we are constantly aware of the importance of our vision. We need to wear the correct tint polarized sunglasses, learn how to read a stream, be able to identify indistinct underwater shapes as fish, and then keep our eyes peeled for what is often an indistinguishable strike. However, we often know little about the other side of this equation: what the fish sees of us and our flies. We may know enough to avoid wearing a fluorescent red shirt on the edge of a trout stream, maybe put a little tinsel in a favorite fly pattern, but beyond that, most of us are in the dark.
What do fish see? When we need to understand and assess our vision as humans, we turn to experts, and these well-trained doctors are generally called optometrists or opthamologists. What if PCC could offer you a presentation by a fish optometrist? Might that get your attention?
Well, I’m not Moses, nor could I find an icthyopthamologist on the Westside. But, I’ll be introducing the next closest specialist to you at the April meeting. Our speaker is a practicing veterinarian, certified in fish health and medicine, and a member of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association and the Society for Freshwater Science.
Jason Randall is a graduate of the veterinary school at the University of Illinois, and his practice is based in Woodstock, Illinois. A longtime fly fisherman, over the past dozen years his articles have appeared in magazines such as American Angler, Fly Fisherman, Eastern Fly Fishing, and Northwest Fly Fishing.
Jason explains one aspect of trout’s unique survival mechanism:
Trout see directly in front with perfect focus, while at the same time, if we approach from the side, they can see us also with perfect clarity. That is because they have elliptically shaped eyes with multiple focal lengths. This would be like our reading a book we are holding in front of us, while at the same time we would have perfect eyesight and focus in our peripheral vision. Imagine how hard we’d be to sneak up on if that were the case, which is why trout are extremely difficult to surprise when we try to sneak up on them.
Trout are visual predators – they select prey (and, we hope, our flies) based on visual clues. The more we understand their sense of sight and the criteria they use in prey selection, the more trout will end up in our nets.
In 2012, Stackpole/Headwater books released Jason’s first book, Moving Water: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to Currents. This book studies and explains the effect of current on trout, their prey species and presentation, where vertical layers of current create drag and requires adjustments to improve nymph fishing success.
Jason’s second book Feeding Time: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What, Where and When Trout Eat, was released in August of 2013. This valuable book focuses on matching your fishing strategies to the trout’s feeding strategies, especially when targeting large trout.
2014 brought his third book, Trout Sense: A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What Trout See, Hear and Smell, which offers anglers an opportunity to know more about the quarry they seek.
To learn more about Jason Randall, check out his website at www.jrflyfishing.com. Join us at the San Marino Masonic Lodge, 3130 Huntington Drive, San Marino, 91108, on Thursday evening, April 14th, at 7:30 p.m. Jason will have copies of his book available for sale that evening.