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Big bass are smarter?

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7 minutes ago, sully420 said:

Bass don't think they react, the biggest bass are the bass that eat the most. I read these forums and it's full of fisherman over thinking and over complicating bass fishing. Each tread like this has a core of very good anglers trying to steer Anglers away from this line of thought, it never ceases two amaze me how many people do not take this subtle common sense information to Heart. 

 

But there's a hole in your own statement.  Are the biggest bass the best fed, or do the least to find their food?

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Just now, J Francho said:

 

But there's a hole in your own statement.  Are the biggest bass the best fed, or do the least to find their food?

Good point, i guess it depends on the water you fish In my experience, where I  fish in MN the biggest bass 6lb+ are definitely not schoolers they are the ambush feeders that are caught in heavy cover on big jigs. In other words they expend less energy and eat bigger meals. I've also noticed that I don't find bigg bass in the same places I catch large northern pike and muskellunge I've gotten on schools of one two three pound bass in literally had 40 + inch muskellunge bite them off at the boat

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My observations are similar to yours.  I have a couple spots where the pike and bass intersect, but usually it's one or the other.  There's one place, where there's so many BIG northerns, the only bass that would survive would be over 4#, or they'd probably eaten.  They're mostly there to eat the summer run rainbows and stockings.

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The thinking big bass are lazy fish that don't spend a lot of energy hunting prey isn't supported by observing them hunt. Big bass get big from a combination of their genes and ability to find and eat high protein larger prey. If the food source isn't available for the bsss throughout it's life cycle it will not grow. When a potential big bass is a little bass it needs abundant small prey as an adult it needs abundant larger prey to grow big. Bass that don't use energy to find prey doesn't have the same opportunity to feed on prey.

Tom

 

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I'm not suggesting laziness.  I'm suggesting less effort for the payoff.  If you live next to a pizza joint, you're gonna eat pizza more often than burgers, which are ten miles down the road.

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8 minutes ago, WRB said:

The thinking big bass are lazy fish that don't spend a lot of energy hunting prey isn't supported by observing them hunt. Big bass get big from a combination of their genes and ability to find and eat high protein larger prey. If the food source isn't available for the bsss throughout it's life cycle it will not grow. When a potential big bass is a little bass it needs abundant small prey as an adult it needs abundant larger prey to grow big. Bass that don't use energy to find prey doesn't have the same opportunity to feed on prey.

Tom

 

I can't argue with your statement at all but I think this is where the body of water comes into play. Bodies of water where there is high caloric value Bait fish such as trout probably produce bigger bass that are more mobile. 

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7 hours ago, scaleface said:

Big bass get dumber on cloudy days .

?????

Maybe what a lot of pros mean when they say "smarter" is they really mean "conditioned". Like saying the big bass are smarter is just the good ole boy or easy way of saying they're conditioned to not being fooled by a number of artificial baits. 

 

I dunno. I think one thing we can all agree on, big bass are definitely harder to catch. 

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"Smarter" is a convenient word to use that conveys an idea reasonably well.  As @wdp alluded to, it's a way of saying something simply.   Why a bass doesn't bite and grows big and lives long is complicated.   Maybe some conditioning to negative stimuli in it's life - having been caught once or five times.  Maybe it's some genetic pre-disposition to want to hide more or be a little more selective than his brothers and sisters in finding it's next meal or luck or a million other things.   

 

He's smart.  

 

I do get the premise that it's probably wrong in the sense of how we generally go about using the word, but to me it conveys the intended message.  

 

 

 

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The younger a bass is, the less interaction with lures and fishermen it has. Therefore as it grows older and bigger it will be more experienced, and therefore to a fisherman like us "smarter". Smart is simply what we prefer to say because  it makes sense that if a fish doesn't eat your lure, the fish is using reasoning and making the decision.

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Let me ask you guys something. Do you think that there are thousands of 12 lb bass in every lake and pond just out of sight, and one of them taps another on the shoulder and says "look at that dumb angler thinking one of us is going to hit that" and they all have a good laugh? Come on now.

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I don't think there are any 12 lb. bass in my lakes.  There are bass that are bigger than others, by a lot.  There aren't thousands, but there's enough to see quite a few of these caught during tournaments by the top few anglers.  Who knows about the majority that don't fish tournaments.  Most trophy guys are tight lipped.  Tournament weigh in events are just one way to get an idea of what the biggest fish in the lake are.

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I don't think anybody thinks that, reason. I think that there are people on here who prefer to simplify bass fishing, and I think there are people who make bass fishing complicated. Trying to convince either to think the other way is somewhat pointless. I don't know of anybody who is a qualified bass psychologist, and what we as anglers think is mostly speculation based upon logic. 

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There's actually a couple good books on fish behavior. They are written in the context of aquariums, but some of the observation and hypothesis has insight. It's not so much that they do things in a tank that they wouldn't do in nature, as it shows what is possible. 

 

And where is @Paul Roberts for this one!

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3 hours ago, wdp said:

?????

Maybe what a lot of pros mean when they say "smarter" is they really mean "conditioned". Like saying the big bass are smarter is just the good ole boy or easy way of saying they're conditioned to not being fooled by a number of artificial baits. 

 

I dunno. I think one thing we can all agree on, big bass are definitely harder to catch. 

So you're saying bass are smart enough to determine what is and what is not artificial? If fish were that smart, the lure companies would have gone out of business years ago and nightcrawlers would be $15 a dozen

 

Let me pose a few more questions. What triggers the feeding response? Do bass feel hunger pangs? Are hungry bass easier to catch? If bass are opportunistic feeders, why are they not eating everytime there is an opportunity? What does a bass consider an "opportunity"? 

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Have any thoughts on the topic?

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Bill Murphy's book In Pursuit of Giant Bass is based on his experiences and on the water tracking studies by a fishery biologist.

First you must separate bass gender, girls get big, boys don't in the same exact environmemt and prey sources. Location, location, location is important, can't eat if the food isn't available, big bass live near abundant prey sources.

Tom

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That's the theme of the book, but the location deal was of primary concern. He would wait out the big girls until they fed if he thought he was at the right location. 

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You guess right about 1 out of 15 trips, even when you have a good idea where to fish and Murphy had tracking studies to help him. Big bass move around, some may be home bodies, most roam a home area hunting zone, being at the right place at the right time isn't easy.

The big bass population density is extremely low and Murphy used every type of legal bait and customized lures he could think of. I choose to use only lures because don't have the patients it takes to effectively fish live bait and preferred jigs. Like Murphy caught hundreds of DD bass and knew/know my lakes and where to fish, their habits and behavior, it still takes a lot of fishless hours to catch 1 big bass and the population density is lower today then it was a decade ago. These big bass aren't smart but they know how to avoid being caught or wouldn't  they be there. 

Tom

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I think another factor that adds to the "feeling" that big bass are smart is how hard they are to land even when hooked.  I was amazed in another thread that a huge majority of anglers, of all skill levels, did not land the largest bass they ever hooked.  Part of that is the difficulty in controlling a fish that large & strong but part of it is also our anxiety when we realize what is on the end of our line.  Bluebasser relayed this in his story, when he wasn't worried about the large fish he hooked, thinking it was a catfish or some other species.  Once the bass showed itself, in his mind,the situation changed.

 

The combination of brute strength of a larger fish combined with the increased number of unforced errors by even the best angler allow these "smart" fish to escape capture.

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How To Catch A 10-Pound Plus Bass

By Bill Miller, Ph.D.

 

No one, even the best professional bass anglers, can tell you a specific formula for catching a really huge bass. I can't either, but what I can do is give you some sound advice that will tip the odds in your favor.


First, it is essential that you fish where bass grow to a tremendous size. Lakes like Fork (Texas), Sam Rayburn (Texas), Lake Amistad (Texas), Lake Falcon (Texas), Eufaula (Georgia, Alabama) Seminole (Florida), Toledo Bend, Caney (Louisiana) and the phosphate pit lakes in Florida and southern California all hold bass of true trophy size. Of course I didn't mention all of the lakes known for producing 10-pound plus bass. There are a large number of lakes in other states that have huge bass. It doesn't even have to be a lake to contain a monster wall-hanger. Small stock ponds produce trophies, too. It does make it easier if you fish takes that have Florida strain largemouth in them. As real estate people are fond of saying, "Location, location, location!"
   

The absolute surefire way of increasing your chances in any place is to fish in the spring. Fish early, stay with it, fish hard, wisely and use big-bass lures. The single most important tip of all is to fish February through May. If you look at all the state records you will find most of the trophy bass were caught during these months.

 

BASS RESOURCE >> https://www.bassresource.com/fishing/catching_big_bass.html

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4 hours ago, slonezp said:

So you're saying bass are smart enough to determine what is and what is not artificial? If fish were that smart, the lure companies would have gone out of business years ago and nightcrawlers would be $15 a dozen

 

Let me pose a few more questions. What triggers the feeding response? Do bass feel hunger pangs? Are hungry bass easier to catch? If bass are opportunistic feeders, why are they not eating everytime there is an opportunity? What does a bass consider an "opportunity"? 

Oh boy. Not what I said at all. As has been mentioned earlier in this thread bass can become conditioned, which I take to mean they will not bite certain lures, or at least not as readily. I def think that happens which is why heavily pressured lakes have lower catch rates - we all hear about this all the time. And I've seen it 1st hand in my own neighborhood pond. I've fished cranks out there so much that I can't hardly get em to hit those anymore. I've had to switch up to more finesse techniques. 

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Bass whether big or small are not the brightest bulbs in the package.  They don't think much, they react to their surroundings.  Big bass will hunker down and ambush creatures that happen by their hiding places.  They are not out there chasing other fish like their smaller schoolers.  They conserve energy and maximize intake.  They are not thinking, what am I going to do today, they just do it when the conditions present themselves.  They are not a pod of killer whales planning and executing an attack, a pride of lions organizing a hunt, or a wolf pack chasing a herd of bison.  Bass are good at what they do, but compared to other living creatures pretty simple thinkers. 

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School bass do all the above, hunt in wolf packs, heard baitfish and work as a team. To think big bass don't adjust to thier environment then you are missing out on some opportunities. Suggest watching Big Mouth Forever vedio, may open your eyes.

Tom

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Is it any wonder why bass are so smart,

there are myriads of Bass Schools!             :goggles-penguin:

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