We know animals that fish do it for survival, but will we ever reach their level of skill and expertise?
Anyone who has been fishing for a few years knows that, while some days can be marked by repeated catches, others can send us home tired, frustrated, and empty-handed.
It’s a fact of the sport that there will be days when the fish don’t bite. Luckily for us, consistent success in the fishing arena is not an essential component to life.
Humans, while we can be brilliant fishermen, don’t typically view catching a fish as a do-or-die pursuit.
For many animals, however, fishing is precisely that: an essential component to survival. Fishing skills can be the difference between a delicious dinner and starvation, so it’s hardly surprising that many animals are better than we are at ensnaring fish and ensuring themselves a meal.
Here are five of the many species who fit into that description:
This one may go without saying, but as the phrase “there’s always a bigger fish” explains, the best fishermen in the world are often the predators of the ocean. By being the definitive predator of the sea, sharks are arguably better at fishing than any other animal species. Often, sharks need do little more than open their mouths and bare their teeth to swallow entire schools of fish. Sure, they have the advantage of actually being underwater, but their skills at living off a diet of smaller fish are unrivaled.
2. Grizzly Bears
If you’ve never seen a grizzly bear – or any bear, for that matter – snatch a fish out of a stream and gobble it up, then you have yet to see one of nature’s most effective fishermen at work. Forget baiting and casting: bears can catch fish with their own paws. With reflexes that fast, it’s no wonder that grizzlies can easily surpass humans in fishing skill.
As with grizzly bears, many different kinds of birds, from seagulls to falcons, could occupy this slot, but pelicans win the bird class simply by possessing a biological design that seems tailor made for catching fish. With sharp eyes and a huge bill that can scoop up several fish at once, pelicans put most champion anglers to shame with their daily haul.
Photo via Flickr user Florida Memory, Creative Commons
In most areas, you won’t have to deal too much with crocodiles or alligators, but if you are fishing in a tropical location, don’t be surprised if one of these stealthy green monsters tries to steal your golden catch. With the underwater advantage of a shark and the perfectly shaped mouth similar to a pelican, crocs and gators are as adept at catching fish as anyone.
Photo via Flickr user The National Archives UK, Creative Commons
Anyone who has ever seen Finding Nemo knows just how easy it is for a whale to open its mouth and instantly swallow hundreds of fish – if not thousands – in a single fell swoop. If you tend to do most of your fishing in the oceans, chances are that you will someday lose out on a hard-fought catch to a hungry whale. Since whales essentially function as a live fishing net, ensnaring everything in their path, you shouldn’t take the loss too personally.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons