Key to healthy fish diet: Portion size

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 9, 2011 - 9:22 PM

Bit off more than he could chew: This northern hit a largemouth bass that couldn't be consumed, and meant the end to both fish.

An old adage is, "big bait, big fish,'' meaning the bigger lure or live bait an angler employs, the more likely he is to catch a trophy.

That's not necessarily true, of course, because big fish also consume small prey.

Still, muskie anglers often throw baits the length of a man's forearm, and trophy northern pike anglers sometimes dangle huge sucker minnows on otherwise bare hooks, because they know big fish often order their meals super-sized.

Yet no matter how gargantuan a predator fish is, logic would dictate it would choose a more diminutive specimen than itself to eat.

Logic would be wrong, as the accompanying photo of a dead northern pike and an equally dead largemouth bass illustrates.

The unfortunate pair were found by Joe Biernat of Forest Lake and his 7-year-old daughter, Madelyn, while fishing on Big Marine Lake recently.

Obviously, the northern bit off more than it could chew -- something predator fish like northerns regularly do when their attack instincts get the best of them.

Example: A northern sometimes will hit an angler's bait as it is retrieved, only to whack the same hook-laden lure minutes later, after being released.

That same fish, mysteriously, on another day might not hit that or any other bait, under any circumstances.

Go figure.

Perhaps the only certainty is that trouble arises for everyone when predator fish don't properly size up what's for dinner.

Just ask Minnesota DNR conservation officer Steve Walter, who recently found a dead 50-inch muskie in Lake Waconia.

Cause of the muskie's demise:

A large muskrat stuck in its mouth.

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