Hunt Gather Talk: Fish Intelligence


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Welcome to Hunt Gather Talk, Season Three. This season will focus entirely on fish and seafood, freshwater and salt. Think of this as the podcast behind my latest cookbook, Hook, Line, and Supper, which covers all things aquatic.

Podcast art for fish intelligence episode.

I am happy to be working with two title sponsors, E-Fish and Filson. These will be the only two commercial sponsors of the show, a move I’ve made to keep things as uncluttered as possible. I happen to already wear a lot of both Filson and I love what the folks at E-Fish are doing, so it’s a natural fit.

Every episode of Season Three will dig deep into some aspect of the fish and seafood world, from prep and how to sessions to sustainability and the farmed vs. wild debate, to how fish and seafood plays into other world cuisines, to episodes on specific kinds of fish. 

This episode is all about cognition in aquatic creatures — fish intelligence. I talk with the renowned Australian scientist Culum Brown about the latest in research on how smart fish and other sea creatures are. And the short answer is: A helluva lot smarter than any of us realized even 20 years ago! 

For more information on this episode, here are some helpful links:

A Request

I have brought back Hunt Gather Talk with the hopes that your generosity can help keep it going season after season. My two sponsors help things a lot, but you are the third leg of the stool. Think of this like public radio, only with hunting and fishing and wild food and stuff. No, Hunt Gather Talk won’t be a “pay-to-play” podcast, so you don’t necessarily have to chip in. But I am asking you to consider it. Every little bit helps to pay for editing, servers, and, frankly to keep the lights on here. Thanks in advance for whatever you can contribute!


You can find an archive of all my episodes here, and you can subscribe to the podcast here via RSS.

Subscribe via iTunes and Stitcher here.

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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  1. This talk was a lot of fun, Hank. Thanks for the pcast. When i was young enough to freedive up here on the mendocino coast, abalone collection became boring very quickly, but spear fishing offered a challenge. my method of dispaching a speared fish was to pith the brain with a skinny knife i carried. Where the head transitions into the body/ spine, pierce forward with skinny knife into the head and scramble the brain . It seemed to be very effective.
    Now, how does one humanely dispatch a monkeyface “eel”? I think they only die when they have been disassembled, boiled whole, baked whole or cast aside. Noggin bashing has not been effective. I admire their fortitude but I do like to eat them and i don’t want to punish them for being tasty and biting my hook.

  2. I did an article once on a nature preserve in central Louisiana. The director took me around in a golf cart and when we reached the pond he gunned the engine a little. Next thing you know, edge of the pond, there were air bubbles and a whole group of fish milling around. He grinned and reached down for some fish meal and threw it on the water where they all went for it. Then he looked at me and said, “They know vibration means food and they will always show up.”