A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE SNAG: OR HOW CAMOUFLAGE REALLY WORKS!

Let me share an amusing little story that helps explain just how well the unique camouflage patterning on the Starlo’s Finesse Fishing Wear I designed for Mad Keen Australia actually works:

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We caught plenty of juvenile Murray cod like this one in Mulwala’s shallow margins.

During February 2017, Jo and I competed in the final round of the annual Australian Freshwater Masters tournament series. This round was staged at Lake Mulwala, on the Murray River, with the iconic Murray cod as its target species.

The comp’ coincided with an incredible heat wave that saw the mercury climbing well into the mid-40 degree Celsius range on three consecutive days. It was so damn hot that I took to slipping over the gunnel of the boat into the lake and having a soak a few times each day to cool down. I’d leave my clothes on for these dips (including my SFF shirt), as the damp material helped lower my core temperature after I climbed back on board. Besides, it only took 15 minutes or so to completely dry out in that heat!

During one of these short dips, I was hanging off the transom of the boat when Jo (who fished on through it all like the trooper she is) let out a shout and announced that she’d hooked another fish. It was a smallish Murray cod and she soon had it alongside the boat.

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Measuring one of Jo’s little Murray cod in the water. A few seconds later I was in for a surprise.

Rather than climbing back aboard, I had Jo pass me the measuring mat so I could measure, unhook and release the fish in the water. Jo snapped a couple of photos of me doing this. Unfortunately, the cod was shy of the legal length, so therefore not a point scorer.

With the fish measured and safely unhooked, I cradled it gently in my wet hands and then let it swim free. What happened next took my breath away… literally!

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This is the sort of terrain the little cod came from… and where it was trying to get back to!

The moment the fish was free of my grasp it turned and shot away… not for open water or the shade of our nearby boat (where they often head), but straight at my chest! The cod impacted the bottom of my rib cage with considerable force — enough to make me let out a startled grunt. The effect was not unlike being punched, and I ended up with a slight bruise.

Jo nearly fell out of the boat laughing as I breathlessly explained what had just happened, but then we both realized the true meaning of the event: That Murray cod had perceived my submerged SFF shirt as the shadowy sanctuary beneath a nearby snag or overhanging tree and had immediately sought shelter there. It had actually tried to swim through me to safety.

I doubt it would be possible to receive a more resounding and positive thumbs-up for our camouflage pattern and its virtual invisibility to fish than the behavior of that Murray cod!

If you want to see fish without being seen by them, you need to think about concealing your presence, and that’s exactly what my SFF Wear is all about!IMG_0103_HR