Fishipedia Top 5: Most underrated sport fish

June 27th, 2011| No Comments

Some fish seem to tick all the right boxes, yet never seem to get the credit they deserve. Fish like these…

Jack Crevalle
On paper, jack crevalle have all the right attributes – available in a wide variety of fishing scenarios, they’ll smash into whatever artificial or bait you throw in their path, they possess drag-melting power and their weakness for topwater plugs puts them at the top of the class in terms of visual thrills. Yet people seem to rarely target them, often only catching them when they had something else in mind. Perhaps it’s because they don’t present enough of a challenge, that they’re just a bit too easy to please, but they’ve come to be seen as the dim-witted cousin of the wily old permit. Yet every time you catch one, it comes as something of a pleasant surprise, and how many times have they brightened an otherwise unproductive day?

Often regarded as something of a nuisance (particularly by offshore skippers) cudas have a reputation for showing up when they’re least wanted. One thing’s for sure though – they can rescue a slow day on the flats. In the cooler months, these predators move onto the flats in numbers, offering light-tackle and fly-fishermen a real challenge. More selective and wary than many people assume, inducing a take in shallow water requires accurate casting and effective presentation – a tube lure on a double-quick retrieve, or a needlefish fly pattern stripped as fast as you can manage should get the job done. Takes can be explosive and downright scary at times (see 1min 45secs in the video below to see what we mean), and blistering speed enables barracuda to peel off 100m of line in a single run. Good barracuda sport can be heart-stopping stuff and should never be overlooked.

Try telling your non-fishing buddies about that first fly-caught permit or steelhead and they’ll probably look right through you. Tell them about the ton of bass you caught and they might stifle a yawn. But tell them you caught a shark and you instantly become their new hero.

Sharks have that effect on people – it’s something you get over when you start fishing for other things, but every once in a while it’s good to go back. On a recent bonefishing trip to the Bahamas, we ran into them every day, lurking at the edges of flats, waiting for a hooked fish to present them with an easy meal. After a couple of days we decided to start throwing big deceiver patterns at them – it took longer to hook up than you might expect, but each time we succeeded, it was a bruising encounter. Equally, chumming them in is a fantastic and visually exciting method. Click here for a great article on fly-fishing for sharks on the flats.

It can’t be easy living in the shadow of the striped bass, that most prized and treasured resident of the USA’s eastern seaboard. But that’s life for the humble bluefish. He might not be as good-looking as cousin in the pinstripe suit, but he more than makes up for it in sporting aggression. And as his fans will tell you, there isn’t a fish in the sea that pulls harder. If you’ve ever seen them blitzing peanut bunker in the surf you’ll know exactly what we mean. If you haven’t, get a load of the video below to see what you’re missing. This is about as fast and frenetic as fishing can be – one fish every cast, and every single one of them feels like a runaway freight train. You’ve just got to love it.

If you’re reading this in Europe, you’ll probably be surprised to even see this one on the list. But while the folks there have long regarded Cyprinus carpio as number one, others have remained unconvinced about its qualities as a sport fish.

Nowadays that’s starting to change, with people waking up to the ‘golden bonefish’ as an exciting quarry for fly-fishermen. No wonder – with a tail you could use to paint the ceiling, and capable of extreme power, these fish are enormous fun on the fly. Pound for pound, their advocates will tell you they knock trout off the map.

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