Gently pump it's little stomach
May 24, 2004 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Trout Stomach Pump : Summer's almost here, so you'd best start looking for clues. " Finally I observe what the fish are actually feeding on. To do this I have to catch a fish. This is frequently the hardest part, but I can usually scam one up somehow. I then pump it's stomach.....while securely holding the fish I gently insert the tube down the fishís throat as far as I can. I take particular care not to injure the fish during this process.....The suction created by the pump extracts the stomach contents. I carefully release the fish unharmed into the water (I have never lost a fish in this process). Then I squeeze the bulb and deposit the fish's stomach contents into my hand.  It is then a simple process to match the stomach contents to the contents of my fly box"
posted by troutfishing (24 comments total)
What a disturbing way to figure out what lure to use.
posted by me3dia at 10:24 AM on May 24, 2004

It seems to me that if you have to catch a fish to find out what they're eating so you can catch a fish, you've already figured out what they're eating.

My head hurts.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:27 AM on May 24, 2004

crash - maybe they noodle for the first fish? [ see Metafilter 30726 ]
posted by troutfishing at 10:39 AM on May 24, 2004

Of course - If they can catch trout with their bare hands, they wouldn't need the fishing rod, fly lures, and stomach pump. Now my head hurts too.

Maybe it's some kind of fetish.
posted by troutfishing at 10:42 AM on May 24, 2004

I think most anglers stop at the "looking for clues" stage. Pumping their little stomachs just doesn't seem right.
posted by caddis at 10:49 AM on May 24, 2004

it's some kind of fetish

only one person can tell us for sure
posted by matteo at 10:53 AM on May 24, 2004

When fishing for bass some of the fish caught will, well, throw up, during the landing tussle. The floating remains of what they regurgitate is often taken as a cue for fine-tuning the lure or bait being used.

Yeah, fishing can be pretty gross. In our defense I would have to note that most fisherman try to release most of their catch relatively unharmed(but I would not argue completely untraumatized), to ensure future generations of fishy goodness for both fish and fisher-persons.

This stomach pumping business seems over the top to me though. But if it works, I guarantee you lots of fisherman will get over their squeamishness. Tight line fever, and all that.
posted by dglynn at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2004

I always get the urge to pump my own stomach when I see the abuse of the apostrophe that way.
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:56 AM on May 24, 2004

So I give up, why not just kill the fish and open it up?

Of course I eat my fish, and I have the traumatic childhood memory of "Dad, my fish is still flopping around", at which point he took it, wacked it against a rock real hard and handed it back to me. The fish was no longer flopping.

And there's the time where my friend's grandmother had me hold the fish while she cut it up, alive. She claimed if you did it dead it tasted bad, or something. And in case anyone's wondering it wasn't until we got done cutting the second side of meat off the fish until it died.
posted by geoff. at 12:43 PM on May 24, 2004

mental note served too late: don't eat a trout dinner and then read this thread. Where's my stomach pump?
posted by dabitch at 1:27 PM on May 24, 2004

Stomach pumping is for weenies. A true fly fisher[wo]man will read the bottom, the water surface, and the surrounding terrain to identify appropriate flies. Also, proper fly selection is generally secondary to presentation. Precise casting and line control avoid spooking fish and everyone knows that spooked fish will ignore even the tastiest looking fly.

Oh, and don't worry, dabitch. Your trout was likely farm-raised and bulk-harvested from 'nutrient rich' waters. :) (assuming you did not catch it yourself)
posted by Fezboy! at 2:45 PM on May 24, 2004

As a youngster I suddenly discovered "humane treatment of animals". You were supposed to knock the fish on the head so it wouldn't die a long miserable death of asphyxiation. I grabbed the fish by the tail and smacked it on a tree. Fish explosion! I was covered in blood head-to-toe.
posted by loafingcactus at 4:33 PM on May 24, 2004

So troutfishing actually fishes for trout, then.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:37 PM on May 24, 2004

I would like to believe (maybe ignorantly) that most trout fisherpeople practice catch and release.

I consider myself a fairly avid fisherman. When I take a trout for dinner, I always inspect their stomach contents. Does it help me pick a fly to use? Rarely. I do it more out of curiosity.

This is nothing more than another gadget. You would be doing more harm to the trout by trying to hold it so you could stuff this down its gullet.
posted by Decypher at 7:59 PM on May 24, 2004

onlyconnect - maybe I do, and maybe I don't. On Metafilter, it might seem that I fish for people with whom I can argue about the finer points of carcinogens in food. But, one can be a fisher of many things in life.

loafingcactus I've euthanised (sp?) a few animals in as ridiculously messy a fashion, and I never felt especially felt good or righteous about it either. It was just a sorry mess. But that incident of yours should be drawn up as a cartoon, I think. Maybe in R. Crumb style.

The fish just exploded!

I suppose that - if a giant swung a human by the heels with maximum force, slamming that hapless person it into a sheer rock face - the same sort of thing might happen. We're not so different from fish in that way - bags of gooey stuff held together by muscle and flesh.

Sometimes, we burst. Then, what a mess.
posted by troutfishing at 8:02 PM on May 24, 2004

I just spent this last weekend in Slovenia fly fishing on the Sava Bohinka river in Trglav National Park. On some sections of the river is specifically a "no-kill" zone, while on the other the daily fishing permit is cheaper if you practice catch and release. The result was some of the best trout fishing I have ever had. A lot of fly fishermen have pretty strong opinions against killing trout. We simply want to annoy them and let them go. We use tiny hooks with no barbs. We use extremely weak nylon line which can break if you tug at the fish too hard. So the stomach pump is a way to find out what the fish eats without killing the thing. I don't use it, and neither do any of the other fishermen I know. We just start the day by looking under rocks in the streambed for bugs that the trout might eat, and matching the size and color to one of our flies.

Fly fisherman are a strange bunch who indulge a particular carnal obsession. Some people like to splurge on a trip to Vegas, and some visit brothels, but we like stand waist deep in freezing mountain streams trying to figure out the eating habits of a lower vertebrate with a brain the size of a lentil.

At the end of a day standing waist deep in a mountain river what I want to eat is a nice hot bowl of soup, not a trout. Trout, like any river fish, are cinch to catch on a gob of worms - but not so simple when you are fishing with an extremely tiny bit of fur and feathers. It kind of evens out the equation in favor of the trout. When I fish in the ocean I am going to eat what I catch, but a trout stream is a fragile ecology, and can be easily overfished.
posted by zaelic at 12:24 AM on May 25, 2004

Zaelic, I think your description of the fly fishing community is spot on.
posted by caddis at 10:12 AM on May 25, 2004

Wow! another person who has fished the Sava Bohinjka! It is just about the most beautiful river I have ever fished, and certainly the clearest.
posted by alloneword at 12:15 PM on May 25, 2004

Yeah, but I only live a seven hour drive away from it...
posted by zaelic at 2:26 PM on May 25, 2004

"We simply want to annoy them and let them go" - zaelic, that was a beautiful comment, and especially that last bit. It made the thread, to me, sublime.

So, do you tease those trout a little too ? Or maybe even hit them with a light insult ? ( - "you're really just a fish. You know that, right ?")

I think trout-fishing may serve, for many, as a cover or a conduit simply for the enjoyment of the natural, nonhuman world.

Perhaps it should be considered as an art form - to be compared, in some ways, to the Japanese Tea ceremony ?

: There is no goal. Only process.

Catch trout. Annoy by pumping stomach. Release......
posted by troutfishing at 7:07 PM on May 25, 2004

I like the Zen analogy. Consider fly tying. A "real" fly fisherman ties his own flies - I go through about twenty a day easily and they cost about $2 each, but only about 15 cents if I tie them. So I collect odd bits of fur and feather - only the hair from an English hare's head or size 18 Metz rooster neck hackle hackle feathers for me - and spend hours absorbed in creating delicate imitations of natural insects. I lovingly admire them arranged in my fly boxes. They are really beautiful.

And then what do I do with these sublime creations? I start throwing them into trees and snagging them on rocks in the stream. For every trout that ever looks at one of my flies, I lose five.

Kind of like a mandala.
posted by zaelic at 2:17 AM on May 26, 2004

Troutfishing: no we would never insult the trout. Bass, maybe, but by ennobling their beloved trout fly fishermen set themselves on a pedestal above other anglers. We are snobs. True. No potato eating carp for us, thankyou.

If you read fly fishing magazines (Trout Porno as my girlfriend puts it) you will find the Trout described in terms such as "wily" "smart" or "educated". Rubbish. I have old shoes smarter than trout. But they are pretty fish, and you can only find them in pretty unspoiled places, and yes, it gets me back to my paleolithic roots to be utterly involved in concentrating on the intimate life details of another species without actually blasting away at it with a twelve gauge.

Yes, after a long day on the water, one does tend to talk to the trout. I think I may be the only fisherman who does so in Yiddish, though. "Kimm-zhe areyn, Reb Fischl!"
posted by zaelic at 5:54 AM on May 26, 2004

zaelic - I was being flip about your annoying of trout (I'm sure you do, but....) for the fact that most anyone in the US ( so not you ) who eats meat or chicken (what? not meat?) supports grotesque farming methods that go so far beyond anything you could possibly do to trout.......

It's a laughable comparison.

To even contend, you'd need to catch your trout, for example, through crippling them by pouring large quantities of acid into trout streams. That might approximate the level of suffering that "factory farmed" animals now undergoe.

You are an ally to trout - this seems clear to me.

And the aesthetic dimension does bring up Zen, I think.

There's a book there. (hint)

And - a much more valid book, I'd wager, than most "Zen and the art of...." books.

I think trout fishing and Zen are on very good terms.
posted by troutfishing at 9:44 PM on May 29, 2004

And I didn't think so before this thread - so, you've taught me something here.
posted by troutfishing at 9:50 PM on May 29, 2004

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