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Josh Smith

What Really Makes a Lure? Or, Why Do Bass Strike?

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Hello,

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Why do bass eat?

I recall Dad telling me a story once about one of the pioneer bass fishermen. Seems this feller was out fishing with a buddy and they were catching a lot of fish. The buddy was talking about how great his new lure was, and the bass pioneer rigged a stick with hooks and caught a few on it to prove that it wasn't necessarily the lure but rather the mood of the fish.

So, following this logic, bass should strike at nuts and twigs falling from overhead trees. I've never seen this, but do they?

When it comes to reaction strikes, is the color (or even type) of lure ask that important? Would a weighted hook (for splash effect) work just as well?

At what point does realism become important to catching bass?

I've just never seen this addressed in any book I have. I understand bass moods.

I do not understand what makes an aggressive fish strike at a lure, say, or at a plastic worm, but not at the seaweed it's hiding in.

Or, do they sometimes strike at everything that moves and spit out what's not good to eat?

How often do natural "artificial lures" fool bass?

Josh

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If you ever had a pet bass or bass you could watch in clear water it becomes evident they learn by trail and error. If young bass can't determine the difference between food and debris they soon starve.

Since bass don't have hands they rely on their instincts, their eyes and mouth to test out things that may be food. A bass will strike a leaf that hits the water surface sometimes, they get fooled by the movement. Food doesn't need to be something with a lot of movement but since bass fall into the predator classification movement equals something alive to be eaten.

Moods equal emotion and bass don't have moods, they are not that high up in the animal kingdom. Bass do need rest, a safe place to rest and need to eat. When resting the bass may not be aware or interested in prey around them, they are inactive. The time period between being inactive and active I call neutral the bass is aware of what is going around them but not ready to go hunting or be active. Inactive bass are extremely difficult to catch, neutral bass can be caught by keeping the prey/lure close to them and active bass are the fish we catch most of the time, they hunting or looking for a food source. If your lure looks and moves like prey they are looking for your odds improve dramatically. Some bass are so wary they can't be fooled by lures.

Tom

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21 minutes ago, WRB said:

Moods equal emotion and bass don't have moods, they are not that high up in the animal kingdom.

Tom,

Thank you for the detailed response. 

To clarify "moods", I mean exactly what you do:  Active, neutral and inactive.  I believe it's the In-Fishermen series I have that calls them "moods".  Likewise, if I may compare it to firearms, another hobby of mine, wood-and-steel rifles have "personalities" while plastic guns do not.  Anthropomorphism, I know.  It does help me relate these things to my wife, however.

Regards,

Josh

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Josh I added that for those folks who believe a bass is like a cat that you can tease into getting angry to strike. Bass strike because they see the lure as food or a territorial issue like a spawning bed.

Tom

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Yessir!  I believe they may eat in self-defense, but that they may rather run.  I do tell my boy to "try to bonk 'em on the head and make 'em angry" but I also clarify that they don't feel anger the same way; that it's a reaction and not an emotion.

I do not know if I got through to him or not.  He's 8 and has plenty of time for understanding.

My wife, on the other hand, told me that the bass she caught looked at her with sad eyes and she knew it wanted to go home to be with its babies.

I told her that if it wanted to see its babies at all, it's because it was hungry and wanted to eat 'em.  She didn't like that.

Regards,

Josh

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1 hour ago, Josh Smith said:

 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Why do bass eat?

 

figured that would be an obvious question :P

 

as far as that goes many times if you drop the lure right on top of them they will strike, its kindof like someone moves their hand right infront of your face, you blink without thinking about it. same goes if you hear a loud noise and weren't expecting it, you jump or look, again without thinking about it. somethings are just programmed into the mind, of all creatures.

 

when realism imo becomes importnant is the clear water when bass are feeding, and with older smarter fish, a 2lber that hasnt seen a lure in his life will often go for a lure without really thinking it through, a 15 lber on the other hand isnt going to bite something that looks funny that easily.

 

theres a reason that i use the most realistic lures and colors (atleast start there) regardless of time or weather.

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19 hours ago, WRB said:

Josh I added that for those folks who believe a bass is like a cat that you can tease into getting angry to strike. Bass strike because they see the lure as food or a territorial issue like a spawning bed.

Tom

Roland Martin believes you can and suggests making the same cast 10+ times if you know a fish is there. He wrote an entire section on it in his book. 

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I wish I had the Correct "Answer" to this question, because if I did, I would not be writing books until I have won a bunch of Major Tournaments, and was set for life financially, and at that point I would just be a mouth piece for sponser's most likely. If anyone truly understood "Bass Behavior" then fishing would be easy. I could create 1 line of lures/baits that would sell better than all the rest since I would have the Proof of huge Tournament Results since I could get all the biggest fish to strike at any time under any situation, and finding fish would be simple. 

For every book about one technique, I can find another book from another credible source about doing the exact Opposite, and neither are technically wrong. I have watched little kids catch more fish than me using a plastic worm and just chucking and winding, and I then realize that I may "Over think" things at times.

The next time you are fishing a Pond and not having success, take out a #14 hook, 2lb test, catch a few shiners or small bait fish and live line one....You will be surprised at the amount of fish right in front of your feet.

 

True story.....

 

I read your question again....I once lost a Spro Frog I really liked when it was stuck on a branch, I pulled until the line broke and the frog fell into the water. I then Tied on a U Shaped Stick without a Hook to try and catch the line and get my frog back....On about the 15th cast, I am slowly creeping the stick toward the frog, when I see a wake come flying out from 10 feet away and no joke....A big bass smashed the stick.....I always assumed it was because the bass thought maybe the stick was a snake about to eat the frog????

The thing that made it really strange was the bass was in a spot under bushes and must have watched the first 14 attempts to hook the line? Why that cast? Did it just finally get angry? Territorial? The Fish came from the bank in shallow water so I would have noticed if it crept up into that spot before the entire "Loud" scene.

One of the oddest things I have seen Happen. I ended up catching that fish a half hour later when I went back and pitched a worm into the bush...Solid 3lb Fish in a 10 acre Pond.

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I like the late Bill Murphy' philosophy that you have different rooms in the house, a bedroom for sleeping, a family room for resting and a kitchen for eating. Inactive bass are in the bedroom, neutral bass are in the family room and active bass are in the kitchen or at the restruant eating.

Casting multiple times into the bedroom is a very low % tactic, casting into the kitchen is a very % tactic.

Years ago as a teen ager I fished a crystal clear rock quarry lake that had some big bass and could see them next a rock not moving. I would drop live crawdads, mud suckers, big night crawlers right on their nose without any indication the bass was interested, sometimes they would back up and swim off. Come back a few hours later and couldn't see any bass but quietly cast a live bait out into deeper water and get instant results. That in a nut shell is the difference between inactive bass and active bass, same bass different results.

From those early lessens I developed the technique of locating big bass and return later to those spots until the became catchable, that has worked for me very well over the past 50 years. If you believe you can tease a inactive bass into striking a lure good luck.

Another lessen learned is bass don't like anything coming from directly behind them and can spook them. If you present a lure that comes into thier sight window your odds of getting a strike greatly improves. Presenting a lure from different angles allows the bass to be in a position to strike the lure if the bass is still there and hasn't swam off. If you are quite a spooked bass may return in a few minutes so it's better to reposition your casting angle then to make several casts repeating the same angle.

Tom

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