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Traveling Circus

Pike Behavior - Head/Eyes out of the water

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Last night while fishing a LO trib, I witnessed a pike swimming very slowly with it's head just above the surface. Sometimes it would submerge so that just the front of it's mouth was out and other times you could see the entire head and eyes. This is the second time I've witnessed this. Both times in the spring........... Any theory on what's going on here? 

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I have seen this multiple times in Conesus, Ibay and Braddocks.  I have no clue as to why they do it.  It is a weird sight!

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Ive seen it a number of times, most frequently with tigers but also with Pike and purebreds.  There are "theories". There are two which make the most sense to me:

 

Burping itself to help swallow/digest a recent meal (swim bladder related?)

 

Or oxygen theory.  Watch fish in a tank with low O2 go to the top to bubble/gulp air. For some reason the fish could be seeking a better way to get more dissolved O2. 

 

Cool to witness for sure. Never had one act interested in any presentation while doing this - they usually ignore it and just turn a little bit but at least you know you're on fish

 

 

 

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Hunting land critters ( baby ducks, muskrats, chipmunks, in unweary fisherman). Yea stay in the boat!!!!!!!! Lol


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I have seen them doing that with a perch (dorsal spines extended) stuck in their throat on Seneca.

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Pike and Musky do this all the time, very common behavior. Why well, heard theories but?, but I'll tell you the fish that's  displaying this behavior won't bite..

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They will bite...the fish absolutely exploded on a lucky craft gunfish.  Ive caught quite a few after spotting them.  This particular morning 5-6 solid tigers we're porpoising behind us and after getting us in range at the right angle young Maddux made a perfect cast!

4695.jpeg

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20 minutes ago, justtracytrolling said:

They will bite...the fish absolutely exploded on a lucky craft gunfish.  Ive caught quite a few after spotting them.  This particular morning 5-6 solid tigers we're porpoising behind us and after getting us in range at the right angle young Maddux made a perfect cast!

4695.jpeg

Your a better man than I. Seen hundreds do this over the years nada.

 

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The behavior I witnessed wasn't porpoising, the fish was swimming with it's head and eyes out of the water. it wasn't a quick surfacing and descent. The fish swam or suspended for minutes with it's head on or above the surface. 

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On 4/26/2019 at 7:32 PM, Traveling Circus said:

The behavior I witnessed wasn't porpoising, the fish was swimming with it's head and eyes out of the water. it wasn't a quick surfacing and descent. The fish swam or suspended for minutes with it's head on or above the surface. 

Perhaps porpoising isn't the best term, but we are definitely referring to the same behavior.  I've seen them keep their entire head out of water for an extended period of time.  

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On their diet is duckling and frog or other surface dwellers so it probably isn't "accidental" that they do that :smile:

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I've wondered how well/far they can see with eyes out of the water........ a quick google search didn't provide a good answer other than they(fish) are probably shortsighted in air. But what does that mean.....???? focus at 6" or 6'???? 

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My experience says they see quite well with their eyes out of water. Half the battle of catching them when they swim on top is not being seen whipping a rod at them, and not being perceived as chasing them. Often if you don't pressure them too much and are patient shortly after they go back down you will hook up in the area... especially if there are several around swimming on top. Once you really spook them it becomes very difficult. Huge baits landing in their faces isn't the play.

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The pike, perch and musky are capable of “breathing “ through their mouth into their air bladder and into their blood stream and they will if needed. That’s why perch and pike stay alive for so long out of the water. It is a very good thing to have, specially in Summer when the water is warm and does not hold a lot of oxygen.

 

 

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They may be able to "breathe" out of water, but any pike/musky/tiger you are intending to release shouldn't be "worked on", as in removing hooks, out of water like you would a bass. These fish are definitely much more fragile especially in summer where oftentimes they shouldn't even be removed from water at all.

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I read an article many years wherein the behavior was viewed as a display of dominance. I've even seen pickerel stick their head out and slap the water before submerging.

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Last night while fishing a LO trib, I witnessed a pike swimming very slowly with it's head just above the surface. Sometimes it would submerge so that just the front of it's mouth was out and other times you could see the entire head and eyes. This is the second time I've witnessed this. Both times in the spring........... Any theory on what's going on here? 
I was trolling during a light rain at sunrise
And something was swimming at me. Thought it was a small dog. Eitherway grabbed my pole with a bucktail on it. It was Taking big loud breaths and getting closer. Then I seen a giant tiger swimming along side the boat so I casted just in front of it. Grabbed the spinner in the air and dove under the boat so fast couldn't set the hook and off quick. Went back to the same spot and caught 2 back to back.

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Anytime I see them it seems they're in zombie mode. I don't even cast at them anymore, they never acted interested. Guess I'll start throwing at them again. 

 

At least we know one thing, they are consistently inconsistent. There are no rules with these creatures

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Ate my words last night. Had a virgin in the boat. He's moving to North Carolina in two weeks so we've been on the hunt. This was our third trip. We had previously managed Pike, bass, walleye and unsuccessful boat side tiger misses.  3 hours in it was pretty slow, we had two bass and a walleye trolling. We turn 90 degrees off the weedline into deeper water and  his rod bends over drag screaming. I got the other rods in , lowered boat to an Idle. She made some good runs, we could tell it was a nice fish. Till the tip sprung up. Got bait in, one of the trebles was straightened out.  That stings.

 

Fast forward an hour to 8pm. We're casting the weedline. I had one come in hot in the murky water and whiff hard on next to the boat. That stings.  Couple minutes later buddy exclaims. We can see it's a tiger. His first masquinongy, 34. Mission accomplished ! But we have some daylight lefy.  Once we get her released we see one porpoising. I start into telling him how I've never seen one caught when they were doing that. Naturally he launches his bait at her.  His second cast after releasing the first fish, the porpoising 37 takes his bait off the top of the water. She wasn't in zombie mode either - very acrobatic with two jumps before we got her in the net. He now has his first and second within  3 casts of each other. 10 minutes later he tells me he saw one surface for a second. I launch a buchertail in the general vicinity. Fish on!! She felt big. She got crazy getting into the  30x28x34"  net and my heart stopped a couple times as my partner was not super experienced with netting larger fish but we got it done. 44" tiger.   First time boating 3 in one outing and PB. Needless to say we're flying high today. 

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