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I have heard a lot about "bass will strike at something they think is food, even if they have never seen it before" To what extent is this true in northern, smaller, inland lakes?

 

If generations of bass for thousands of years have been seeing sunfish and dark crawfish as forage... will they still find a white pattern attractive? Especially in clear water where natural colors seem key.

 

Am I disadvantaged with just using bluegill and crawfish patterns?

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I throw white Spinnerbaits all the time in natural lakes, I imagine there is shiners and other baitfish in the lake, and the bass still eat it so it's fine by me.

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There's more than likely shiners and suckers in your lake. Give it a shot though. Fish could be hitting any given color on any given day. 

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I've always discouraged to throw white lures in the ponds I fish but I have a buddy who almost only throws shad colors and he still tears them up. I do think it does matter in lots of situations though!

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Bass react to things they believe are an easy meal or food in general. I've never seen anything that looks like a bubble gum pink fluke or trick worm but they eat it. A white fluke does well too and I have no all white fish in my waters but they work. Swimbait guys throw trout baits in waters with no trout and catch fish. I have no shad in my waters but gizzard shad and green gizzard shad produce well for me. Though there are no shad present they still are natural colors and catch fish. Give it a shot and you might be surprised by the outcome.

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A shad colored crank bait or anything for that matter is close enough in resemblance to a minnow/chub/shiner that I am sure it doesn't matter to a bass. When a bass is reacting: OOO FOOD! CHASE! EAT!, WAIT NOPE! THERE ARE NO SILVER COLORED FISH HERE, NOT GONNA EAT, is just not gonna happen.

 

You definitely are being hypercritical of color/realistic representation. We throw worms and lizards which in most cases represent a near negligible percentage of a bass's diet but have been successful for years. A tube is a bait that vaguely imitates a craw but can be easily construed as a minnow. A spinner bait is also pretty ambiguous. The list goes on...

 

At times a very realistic presentation (matching size/color/action) to the lakes natural forage can be the way to go but people consistently catch fish on not only off colored representations, but absurdly colored ones. Matching colors/action/size can convince a bite just as much as not matching those factors can cause one. Some times bass like a 3 inch shad colored bait darting naturally, sometimes they want a 10 inch curl tail worm that is half-pink, half-zebra with a chartreuse dipped tail being ripped so fast off the bottom your arms hurt, and most of the times.... they will eat both.

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I fish fairly clear lakes and my best producer is by far a purple kvd magnum dreamshot.

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If I was a Shad in a school of Shad, I would want to be the same size and color as the other Shad. I sure as h@ll wouldn't want to be pink, kind of makes ya stand out. Brian.

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Bass are opportunistic feeders and ambush feeders, if it can fit it in its mouth it will try to eat it, plain and simple. Matching the hatch has more to do with percentages, especially when fishing gets tough when the fish is in a negative or neutral mode. There are times when fish will key in on a certain type of forage and leave everything else alone, I've witnessed it in smallmouths that were feeding on a specific kind of darter and if you weren't close to that color you didn't get bit. Those times happen but 7 out of 10 times they will react to noise, action, flash, or all of the above.

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I caught bass on Rainbow trout pattern and there is not a trout within a hundred miles .

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The best producing color pattern on many of my local lakes and ponds is shad and shad aren't present in any of them. The same goes for crawfish, but jigs and craw colored cranks also produce well.

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All this color talk have proved to be a bunch of nonsense in my experience. Colors matter, but not the way we usually think. Just 'cause it looks like a shad to me doesn't mean it looks like a shad to a bass. As long as there are certain shades/ colors (that bass prefer) on the bait I'm fishing, I'm good. I couldn't care less if the color pattern is *called* threadfin shad, or tilapia.

 

Most of our baits are so unrealistic, that a realistic pattern means little. You can paint a zebra like a leopard, but it still looks, walks and behaves like the zebra it is.

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