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Big bass are smarter?

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Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities.

 

I don't know what adjective one would use or if there is one but I do know "big bass" offer a different challenge then smaller bass.

 

Ole Tom mentioned it but didn't expound on it. 

 

Genetics is the #1 factor that determines if a bass reaches double digit status. 

 

Strike Zone: the distance around a bass at which it is will to travel to catch prey. Minimum output - Maximum intake; put your lure on the outer edge of the "strike zone" & big momma may ignore it. The strike zone shrink & expands according to existing conditions.

 

There is a point in a females life when she reaches a certain size where she becomes the top predator. 

 

Usually located on prime structure & in prime cover, she will be setup on structure & in cover that allows her to see all directions at once. Maybe not 360 but it'll be as close as they feel comfortable.

 

Double digit bass are highly predictable because they follow a strict routine. She can however quickly detect changes to her routine like your presence.

 

Hooking her vs landing her can be a challenge because of shear weight, strength, & cunningness!

 

Is she smart...enough to make me wonder if I know what I'm doing!

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9 hours ago, wdp said:

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. 

If heavily pressured lakes had lower catch rates,  youd imagine the pressure would die down. That is not the case and lakes like Guntersville, toledo bend, and clear lake continue to produce trophys. Im not saying i disagree about " conditioning ", just that other factors may exist.

49 minutes ago, Catt said:

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities.

 

I don't know what adjective one would use or if there is one but I do know "big bass" offer a different challenge then smaller bass.

 

Ole Tom mentioned it but didn't expound on it. 

 

Genetics is the #1 factor that determines if a bass reaches double digit status. 

 

Strike Zone: the distance around a bass at which it is will to travel to catch prey. Minimum output - Maximum intake; put your lure on the outer edge of the "strike zone" & big momma may ignore it. The strike zone shrink & expands according to existing conditions.

 

There is a point in a females life when she reaches a certain size where she becomes the top predator. 

 

Usually located on prime structure & in prime cover, she will be setup on structure & in cover that allows her to see all directions at once. Maybe not 360 but it'll be as close as they feel comfortable.

 

Double digit bass are highly predictable because they follow a strict routine. She can however quickly detect changes to her routine like your presence.

 

Hooking her vs landing her can be a challenge because of shear weight, strength, & cunningness!

 

Is she smart...enough to make me wonder if I know what I'm doing!

Agree. And fish have to eat. Big fish didn't get big from dieting

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13 minutes ago, slonezp said:

And fish have to eat. Big fish didn't get big from dieting

 

Big bass are like men...both get in trouble for not keeping their mouths closed!

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Hey all... first post from an old "beginner" bass fisherman.  I can't say just what the intelligence level of a bass is, but I do know that they have an ego as big as the lake they live in.  Back when I was a kid in Wisconsin, I fished regularly for largemouth at our cabin on Balsam Lake where I spent my first 17 summers.  My brother and I spent many early mornings and late evenings out in the canoe casting for bass.

 

In 1960 or 1961 I was fishing a frog pattern Jitterbug (large casting size lure because all I had was an ancient steel casting rod and reel that couldn't even throw a heavy lure 100 feet), and it seemed to bump something and the action on it changed.  I finished reeling it in thinking it had caught a floating weed, but the weed turned out to be a 3" long bass.  The fish was about the same length as the lure, as probably 1/4 as heavy.  It could barely get it's mouth around one bend of the treble hook, but it had managed that much and was well hooked.  That fish had delusions of grandeur if it thought it was going to eat anything 1/4 as large as that Jitterbug.  I figured it could only be ego or anger that made it attack something that it could never have eaten even if it had been edible.  That told me that some bass just go into attack mode and would nail anything that came in range.

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20 hours ago, WRB said:

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

  Schooling bass don't have certain bass with specific jobs like lions and wolves that take turns driving the pray or lions that have key lions hid in the grass and the other drive the pray to the hidden ones.  Wild dogs have drivers and others that circle to intercept.  Killer Whales will throw a live seal to their young to teach them how to hunt and kill.  I suggest you watch National Geo. to see the depth of communication during a hunt.  Bass are light weights when it comes to brain power.  I have watched Big Mouth Forever many times and have a copy at home.

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5 hours ago, geo g said:

  Schooling bass don't have certain bass with specific jobs like lions and wolves that take turns driving the pray or lions that have key lions hid in the grass and the other drive the pray to the hidden ones.  Wild dogs have drivers and others that circle to intercept.  Killrt Whales will throw a live seal to their young to teach them how to hunt and kill.  I suggest you watch National Geo. to see the depth of communication during a hunt.  Bass are light weights when it comes to brain power.  I have watched Big Mouth Forever many times and have a copy at home.

My Point is not all bass are single ambush predators, some group together to maximize feeding efforts by hearding prey fish. I watch this activity many times with schools of bass over 10 lbs work together to feed on trout schools. This isn't a hypothical theory it's based on visual experience and taking advantage of schooling big bass to catch them.

I agree fish,including bass, don't have the ability plan this activity, but they come together for this common purpose.

Tom

 

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Are big bass smarter...

I'm not qualified to talk about what "smart" is. But I do kinda shake my head when fisherman so often call bass "pea brained". All I can say is... That's one heck of a pea. Fish are capable of much more than people realize. Bass are very good at... being bass. Just what all that is is what we fisherman are trying to understand. Not terrible easy to do.

 

As to big bass vs small bass. There are waters that produce many big bass, then there are waters that produce very few. In both cases bass that get big have to eat an awful lot. In waters that produce very few, those few individuals have figured something out. It may not be smarts as much as a mix of aggression, and luck -the food has to be there to support that growth.

 

Since most fishing is now C&R, avoiding fisherman plays less a role. Lots of shy, skittish, "smart", uncatchable bass die of old age at less than 4lbs.

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Big bass are smarter? - Nope, but I would say they are more discriminatory in their behavior.

 

-T9

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"Every time I read an article about someone who thinks they have bass figured out, I just shake my head and snicker because the more you dig into this sport the further you seem to be getting to the bottom of it all". The late Bill Murphy.

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Big bass are/get big because they are better predators than the majority of bass in any given body of water.  Part of being a good predator is avoiding detection and in the case of bass that applies to both their quarry and those that prey upon them. Is that being smarter than the other bass, a result of genetics, or just a percentage of fish that were never, or rarely caught?

I don't care about how accurate the terms used to describe their behavior are, only that the facts surrounding how to catch them are.  Some of that information is much more misleading that the statement that big bass get big because they're smart.

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

"Every time I read an article about someone who thinks they have bass figured out, I just shake my head and snicker because the more you dig into this sport the further you seem to be getting to the bottom of it all". The late Bill Murphy.

 

About the time I think I have them figured out they prove to me I don't!

 

Ole Catt ;)

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14 hours ago, slonezp said:

If heavily pressured lakes had lower catch rates,  youd imagine the pressure would die down. That is not the case and lakes like Guntersville, toledo bend, and clear lake continue to produce trophys. Im not saying i disagree about " conditioning ", just that other factors may exist.

Agree. And fish have to eat. Big fish didn't get big from dieting

But the catch rates are lower at Guntersville. There was an article (one of those photo gallery type articles) on Bassmaster's website in 2016 discussing just that. I don't think the pressure has died down there because people keep seeing the pros catching em from the various tournament coverages. At least that's my theory anyway. ? I would venture to guess that a large portion of those average Joes that flood Guntersville every year also have unproductive fishing trips. At least compared to the standards of what we see caught on TV. 

 

As as far trophies being caught at all the lakes you mentioned, that still doesn't statistically prove that catch rates overall have not decreased. Just saying. 

 

I'm not trying to argue & I think we're actually on the same page. I really don't think big bass are smarter. I think they might be more conditioned & perhaps less likely to hit certain artificial baits. I mean to me, it logically makes sense. The bigger a bass, the older it is. The older it is, the more it's likely to have seen artificial lures & the more conditioned it is. 

 

Like I said earlier I dunno for sure. At the end of the day most of what we're discussing is guesswork, although somewhat educated guesswork. But I stand by my statement that big bass are harder to catch. But that's part of what makes fishing more fun. Sure wouldn't mean near as much to me if I could go out & catch 10 pounders every trip like they were dinks. 

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58 minutes ago, wdp said:

But the catch rates are lower at Guntersville. There was an article (one of those photo gallery type articles) on Bassmaster's website in 2016 discussing just that. I don't think the pressure has died down there because people keep seeing the pros catching em from the various tournament coverages. At least that's my theory anyway. ? I would venture to guess that a large portion of those average Joes that flood Guntersville every year also have unproductive fishing trips. At least compared to the standards of what we see caught on TV. 

 

As as far trophies being caught at all the lakes you mentioned, that still doesn't statistically prove that catch rates overall have not decreased. Just saying. 

 

I'm not trying to argue & I think we're actually on the same page. I really don't think big bass are smarter. I think they might be more conditioned & perhaps less likely to hit certain artificial baits. I mean to me, it logically makes sense. The bigger a bass, the older it is. The older it is, the more it's likely to have seen artificial lures & the more conditioned it is. 

 

Like I said earlier I dunno for sure. At the end of the day most of what we're discussing is guesswork, although somewhat educated guesswork. But I stand by my statement that big bass are harder to catch. But that's part of what makes fishing more fun. Sure wouldn't mean near as much to me if I could go out & catch 10 pounders every trip like they were dinks. 

 

I've been on Clearlake a bunch of times and have a few trips to Guntersville now. These two lakes are massive. The top end of Clearlake is an 11 mile wide clay bowl. A guy I knew went to Guntersville on the same day in his boat as I did. Later that night we compared trips, we had a pretty slow day, he did pretty well. He was 35 miles away from me as the crow flies. That's another county away in red states.

 

Toledo Bend dwarfs both of these. The Sac Delta has like 360 miles of water to fish.

 

I get the theory of a big bass seeing a bunch of lures on a small body of water. There are double digit fish in some of these mega lakes that have never seen a lure. It's a massive body of water with great habitat and weather. California had the rare combo of Florida and Northern hybrids which grow to be enormous mixed with endless trout stocking and great weather. Now the hybrid gene pool is well past the first generation, they barely plant trout anymore, and the water management is awful. California still produces good fish, but it's nothing like it was 30 years ago. The same guys are out there doing the same things with much different results.

 

There is no smart. There is being on the right water doing the right thing at the right time. If one thing is off in that triangle it's not happening.

 

 

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As a Guide, when a client tells me they want a "trophy" bass, I do not fish the same way as I do for a client who just wants to catch numbers.  Are big bass smarter....No.  But they do not act the same a schoolies or smaller fish and they don't live in the same places.  That's why you hear the professionals talk about finding the "right" fish.  They don't want to catch small bass in a tournament and that's one of the big things that separates them from your average Joe weekend angler, they have the habits and behavior of bigger bass figured out.  I have an Elite Series angler stay with me every year and I prefish with him.  They don't approach the water the same way most of us do.  

 

Bass size is dependent on 2 things.  Genetics and habitat.  

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9 hours ago, wdp said:

But the catch rates are lower at Guntersville.

and bag weights are higher. Not all the time but every spring some guy in a tourney weighs in a huge bag. Last time I was down there, the guy who won the tourney weighed in 36lbs on day one and was throwing back 5 pounders by 9am, think I brought 17lbs to the scales on day 1 and with 17lbs, at the end of day one, I was sitting somewhere between 30th and 40th place out of 200 boats. Also, during practice, a local guide brought in a 15 pounder. Every spring since then I have read where tourney guys are weighing in bigger bags and within the last month a bag in the mid 40's was weighed in. Guntersville continues to produce big bass.

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There is some evidence that larger eyes with more vision cells let in more light and offer better resolution. Larger individual fish see better than smaller ones. Also, fish do learn from experience. In fact, this is pretty much what most of vertebrate life is all about. Fish actually are good learners. But, being fish, they are focused on different things than, say, we are. However, the basic infrastructure for learning -sensory and cognitive systems- are in place. Again, bass are darn good at being bass. And many bass die of a wise old age at only 2 or 3 lbs. Big certainly requires more food; more-so than "smarts".

 

As to bass learning about fishing. They do. Just too much evidence out there. They learn quickly and have memories too -basic infrastructure. And they learn from watching other fish -part of the social cognitive infrastructure. 

 

Why do we still catch them? Variability in: sensory and cognitive capacities, "personality" (yes fish have individual personalities, as well as recognized personality types), environmental conditions and circumstances. Call it chaos. Why do we sometimes crash into other cars, even after driving for decades? Lotsa reasons.

 

I believe that edified fish -that's most of em nowadays- get hooked because they made a mistake. "Edified" in my mind means that those fish have become aware of "danger" brought about by the actions of angling. Some of the biggest decisions fish make revolve around just what they put into their mouths. Not everything passes muster all the time. Otherwise, we wouldn't be even talking about all this stuff.

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@slonezp and @Mosster47 you guys both bring up fair and valid points. And you're right, my experience draws from fishing small waters where conditioning of bass is much more drastic than on a large body of water like Guntersville, Clear Lake or Toledo Bend. But I'm in MS, we're not known for huge bodies of water, lol. And I don't tourney fish so my experience is limited in that realm as well. 

 

But I would think that even on large bodies of water that some conditioning of bass in regards to artificials can happen, although to a much lesser degree and probably in only selective areas of the lake that get hammered the most by anglers. 

 

I also agree that there are prob a lotta big fish that have never seen a lure. Which is why guys really good with the electronics can find em & catch em. 

 

I think @Paul Roberts summed it up very well in his post above. 

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Un-pressured big bass are a lot easier to catch than pressured big bass .  No doubt in my mind . Call it smarts or whatever . 

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Here's a wise old/senescent bass, clipped from some video I shot yesterday.

Emaciated.jpg

He/she is not long for the world -no longer able to capture prey. It defeated amazing odds to reach this state. It's size? About 16" long, and about all that pond could afford her -not terribly fertile. Even the bluegills are small, and the two are certainly related.

 

A given bass could be very wise, having figured out a prosperous lifestyle, but not necessarily the one with the most growth potential in that water. An Ecologist would call this a trophic "false peak".

 

I photo and video many bass with hook-bruised or mangled jaws in my public waters that receive a parade of anglers almost every day of the week. But I also shoot many with clean undamaged jaws. "Smarter" in these cases could have to do with avoiding anglers, or predators, or finding the top trophic peak. But it's all for naught in terms of getting BIG, if the water can't support it.

 

In many, but not all, waters there are individuals that by capabilities and no small amount of luck are able to break the normal trophic limits of a given water body. They then have access to larger prey items too large for the vast majority of bass. Those are your BIG bass. Smart? Maybe. But "smarts" is only part of the formula. And I wouldn't discount the sheer amount of luck involved.

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As many bass as we relocate here during tournaments, I think tey are all in the marinas.  In reality bass live to be about 15 years old, with a growth rate somewhere between 1/2 to 1 pound a year.  A lot of bass over 5 years old have probably been hooked at least once.  I know if my food source fought back as hard as a rod and reel, I would find another food source.

 

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12 hours ago, Bucky205 said:

  I know if my food source fought back as hard as a rod and reel, I would find another food source.

 

Next time you want some pork chops, get a knife, and go kill a pig. Betcha he fights back harder than a rod and reel. LOL

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On 4/11/2017 at 1:38 PM, 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. 

 

Agreed.  And the real big bass are rarely caught simply because they have no problem feeding.  They have become better hunters and know where the food is.  

 

Also, something that is over rarely mentioned is that they are territorial and when a big female moves into an area to feed, smaller bass move out of her way.  I've seen this behavior many times in a smaller pond on my property that I stock. 

 

In a body of water with plentiful food source, the monster bass simply don't need your lure.  

 

 

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On 4/15/2017 at 11:13 AM, Paul Roberts said:

Here's a wise old/senescent bass, clipped from some video I shot yesterday.

Emaciated.jpg

He/she is not long for the world -no longer able to capture prey. It defeated amazing odds to reach this state. It's size? About 16" long, and about all that pond could afford her -not terribly fertile. Even the bluegills are small, and the two are certainly related.

 

A given bass could be very wise, having figured out a prosperous lifestyle, but not necessarily the one with the most growth potential in that water. An Ecologist would call this a trophic "false peak".

 

I photo and video many bass with hook-bruised or mangled jaws in my public waters that receive a parade of anglers almost every day of the week. But I also shoot many with clean undamaged jaws. "Smarter" in these cases could have to do with avoiding anglers, or predators, or finding the top trophic peak. But it's all for naught in terms of getting BIG, if the water can't support it.

 

In many, but not all, waters there are individuals that by capabilities and no small amount of luck are able to break the normal trophic limits of a given water body. They then have access to larger prey items too large for the vast majority of bass. Those are your BIG bass. Smart? Maybe. But "smarts" is only part of the formula. And I wouldn't discount the sheer amount of luck involved.

So what makes you think the bass is old?

I fish a local lake occasionally that is managed...albeit poorly. Bass is catch and release and there are very conservative limits on panfish. The 300 acre lake does hold some bass in the 5-6lb range and has been known to give up pike over 40". The majority of the bass we have caught are emaciated and the crappies are definitely cannibalistic. I don't mark any bait on the graph and never see any swimming around. A number of years back during a small tournament, I weighed in a 16" bass that weighed 1lb 1oz. This one was caught 2 weeks ago. We didn't measure it but if I had to guess, maybe 17". So, let's say 90% of the bass are skinny. The other 10% are "normal" What do the 10% have that the 90% don't?...and don't say food. 

001.thumb.jpg.b81ae1871b25701bc7bd71e14e8305e3.jpg

 

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On 4/12/2017 at 6:35 AM, Catt said:

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities.

 

 

 

Dont know how smart bass are but I'm feeling kind of dumb . I cant even pronounce that word .

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