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Why would a bass eat a lure......

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when there is so much prey around. One lake I fish has a million little Crappie about 4-6". Bass get real big there but are hard to catch. 

 

So why would they eat a lure? Can there be too much forage for them? 

 

Went to a pond yesterday and marked a huge school of either Bluegill or Crappie on the Garmin Panoptix. Threw a jerkbait right at them and hooked a 7.1 Largemouth. Was the lure just easier to grab while paused and suspended? More erratic and injured looking?

 

These Bass are harder to figure out then women :)

 

 

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I've wondered that too. I've had bait boiling around me, small perch. assuming they were being chased by bass, i threw my dropshot with a 5" senko right in the middle of the boil. Caught a 4lber and then a 3lber. That worm didn't look or behave anything like the frantic perch it sunk through. But I wasn't gonna argue with a hungry bass. 

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Bass want the easiest meal they can catch. So if the lure/bait even remotely looks like food and it's easier to get than whatever forage is available then they will take the lure/bait. When the water temp is around 65-72 degrees they will exert more energy to catch a lure/bait or forage. There's probably other reasons too. I'm still learning myself. 

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I think when fishing artificial lures, often fish don't strike at them because they perceive them to be food. Sure there ar some exceptions with certain baits and presentations, but more times than not they are responding to instinctual reflexes. Much like a cat chasing a toy or laser pointer, they can't help themselves. Of course there are times when the cat just wants to curl up and be left alone, and will show no interest. 

 

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My speculation is   healthy prey are hard  to catch and keep their distance. Lures dont quite act right  , there is something wrong with them and often right in their face.

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Same thing when you see a bass chasing a bait fish on the surface. Almost every time, if you throw a lure near the chase, the bass almost always stops chasing the bait fish and hits the lure(at least from my experience).  

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Food

Curiosity

Instinctive reaction

Defense

 

:fishing-026:

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I spent much of my youth fishing on the banks of the Mississippi river . An observation that I made back then that still sticks with me today is bass are opportunistic feeders . There is a riprap bank that I fished a lot for catfish  and I learned to have an extra rod with a lure tied on . When barge waves slammed on the rocks it would stun baitfish and crawdads , the bass would become active    gobbling up the disoriented  prey . If I was quick enough with the lure I could catch them . I think lures give the illusion of an easy meal .

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Bass are basically lazy critters and nine times out of ten, they will pursue the easiest prey-the one that stands out as sick or weak or injured or just dumb-to the extent, even, that they will forgo a big meal for an easy meal.  A few years back I witnessed a bass try to steal a popper out of a bluegills mouth.  THAT's how lazy they are.

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I see a lot of posts here on BR about guys who can't seem to catch many fish. An abundance of prey is a very good reason why fishing can be tough. In the more southerly reaches of the US, the waters can be very fertile and produce a lot of food for all the fish species. Bass can afford to be picky because they have so many choices and can feed all year long.

 

The farther north you go, the less fertile many lakes are. Growing seasons are shorter, and there is less food to eat.  Guys who go to Canada for pike and walleye love it because fish are so easy to catch. In a lot of places, all you have to do is hang your lure over the side of the boat and something will grab it. For fish to survive up there, they cannot afford to pass up a meal. Your lure, even if it isn't presented in the best way, is still going to get eaten.  This situation exists well into the northern US. It is seldom as easy as just dropping a lure off the side of the boat, but it does happen. I believe one of the main reasons I can catch good numbers of fish on my trips into Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan is because the bass there don't have as many choices on what to eat and when. When they see what they think might be food they grab it.  I know for sure that in my many trips down south, I always have to work a lot harder to catch fish.

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8 hours ago, NorthwestBasser said:

I've wondered that too. I've had bait boiling around me, small perch. assuming they were being chased by bass, i threw my dropshot with a 5" senko right in the middle of the boil. Caught a 4lber and then a 3lber. That worm didn't look or behave anything like the frantic perch it sunk through. But I wasn't gonna argue with a hungry bass. 

I'm guessing some of the answer lies within that statement. Standing out from the crowd is not always a good thing in Nature...

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18 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

I'm guessing some of the answer lies within that statement. Standing out from the crowd is not always a good thing in Nature...

Beat me to it. Bring a purple rattle bait through a ball of threadfin and you better hang on! 

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58 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

Beat me to it. Bring a purple rattle bait through a ball of threadfin and you better hang on! 

Haha right.  I never see any Watermelon Seed colored earthworms crawling on the bottom, but bass sure seem to love em.

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Bass...are predators not prey they hunt kill and eat prey. Bass are fish within the animals kingdom and are not the sharpest knives the that drawer. Bass like other fish are unable to solve complex problems that higher animals like birds, cats or dogs can and like all animals they have keen instincts, survival skills not intellect.

Why bass strike artifical lures is because they can, if the lure represents something alive and they are active they may strike it. I am glad they do strike a wide verity of lures.

Tom

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3 hours ago, Team9nine said:

Standing out from the crowd is not always a good thing in Nature...

 

Maximum intake 

Minimum output 

 

Y'all ever heard of "Strike Zone"?

 

That's the distance a bass is willing to chase prey or your lure 😉

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Before the why, understand the what. What makes a bass bite will hopefully aid in understanding the why in "why my lure, and not the varying baitfish and other inhabitant prey?"

 

For me, I look at bass striking as either being an active, or somewhat active feeder; or straight impulse or defense. 

 

For an active, or somewhat active, feeding bass, I agree with what others have said. It's there, it's more easily accessible, and a lot of our lures entice based on the notion of injury or something being wrong - it's different in some way. Bass are lazy and opportunistic in the sense that they want, as @Catt stated, maximum intake for minimum output.

 

We may say lazy and dumb, but as hunters and gatherers ourselves, we're not much different.

 

Now for impulse or defensive strikes, I categorize that as more of a "it's just there and bass are predatorial by nature ".

 

That's how I look at it anyways!

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4 hours ago, Catt said:

 

Maximum intake 

Minimum output 

 

Y'all ever heard of "Strike Zone"?

 

That's the distance a bass is willing to chase prey or your lure 😉

It all sounds good when you read it in fishing articles, doesn't it ;)

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10 hours ago, scaleface said:

I spent much of my youth fishing on the banks of the Mississippi river . An observation that I made back then that still sticks with me today is bass are opportunistic feeders . There is a riprap bank that I fished a lot for catfish  and I learned to have an extra rod with a lure tied on . When barge waves slammed on the rocks it would stun baitfish and crawdads , the bass would become active    gobbling up the disoriented  prey . If I was quick enough with the lure I could catch them . I think lures give the illusion of an easy meal .

part of my duties when i was a young man with the water dept. was mowing the grounds at the filtration plant, which also included weed-eating around the small reservoir. bream would follow me around, picking off grasshoppers and whatever else hit the water, undaunted by the noise and commotion. after a while they’d be gone and a giant bass would appear, looming in the shallows, waiting. it was awesome and even kind of spooky at the same time.

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Reasons they hit a lure.

1). They are conscious of things in their environment.

2). They are curious.

3). They react to movement.

4). They are responsive to vibration especially under low light conditions.

5). They search out all forms of natural food when hungry. 

6). They are controlled by a set of basic instincts programmed throughout time.

7). They have a very small brain for their size and not very smart compared to mammals.

 

These are some of the reasons fish can be tricked into hitting a piece of wood or plastic, and then come right back and will hit it again.  I hope no one thinks fish are really smart compared to other living organisms.  I feel fisherman sometimes perpetuate this belief that fish are smart, because they just can't get it done on a given day 

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10 hours ago, Scott F said:

I see a lot of posts here on BR about guys who can't seem to catch many fish. An abundance of prey is a very good reason why fishing can be tough. In the more southerly reaches of the US, the waters can be very fertile and produce a lot of food for all the fish species. Bass can afford to be picky because they have so many choices and can feed all year long.

 

The farther north you go, the less fertile many lakes are. Growing seasons are shorter, and there is less food to eat.  Guys who go to Canada for pike and walleye love it because fish are so easy to catch. In a lot of places, all you have to do is hang your lure over the side of the boat and something will grab it. For fish to survive up there, they cannot afford to pass up a meal. Your lure, even if it isn't presented in the best way, is still going to get eaten.  This situation exists well into the northern US. It is seldom as easy as just dropping a lure off the side of the boat, but it does happen. I believe one of the main reasons I can catch good numbers of fish on my trips into Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan is because the bass there don't have as many choices on what to eat and when. When they see what they think might be food they grab it.  I know for sure that in my many trips down south, I always have to work a lot harder to catch fish.

Can’t say I can agree with all of this ^

I’ve lived in Ontario and fished in tons of lakes here from southern Ontario to the north, and I can tell you there’s lots of forage in our lakes. 

On both the Great Lakes and many inland lakes I’ve seen absolutely massive schools of bait that take several minutes to go over with the boat. Sure, the shad don’t survive our winters here, but there’s many different kinds of pelagic minnow species and lots of different types of shallow water zone life.

I’ve caught bass (both species), that are gorging on smelt and spit up mouthfuls when fighting but still hammer a spinnerbait or jerkbait. 

I think a lot of it is simply they are targeting the easiest single prey to catch, in this case, your lure. 

I think in quite a few cases up north, some of the lakes just aren’t getting the pressure that the southern impoundments get, and the fish don’t see as many lures. Perhaps that’s why they might seem easier to catch for you than in the south. 

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2 hours ago, Team9nine said:

It all sounds good when you read it in fishing articles, doesn't it ;)

Throw outside the strike zone & see how far they will chase a lure 😉

 

Bass aint gonna chase the shad out front in the school 

 

Bass aint gonna chase the fastest bluegill 

 

Maximum intake 

Minimum output

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I think bass react like bass fishermen do.

Sometimes we buy ( bite ) the lures that look catchy ( pun intended ) to us.

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9 hours ago, Catt said:

Throw outside the strike zone & see how far they will chase a lure 😉

 

Bass aint gonna chase the shad out front in the school 

 

Bass aint gonna chase the fastest bluegill 

 

Maximum intake 

Minimum output

Strike zones sound great and are easy to visualize, but in most all cases, you're throwing to an area where you "hope" a fish is located, and where even if he is, you can't see his "strike zone" anyway, or how it relates to your lures path on your last cast, or even know if you went through "the zone" but he still didn't hit anyway. So they seem to have very limited practical purpose in my eyes. I much prefer to keep Zaleski's maxim, "close enough, for long enough" in mind instead.

 

As for the rest, I gave up a long time ago telling fish what they will or will not do. Just too many of them that don't want to listen to me B)

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21 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Strike zones sound great and are easy to visualize, but in most all cases, you're throwing to an area where you "hope" a fish is located, and where even if he is, you can't see his "strike zone" anyway, or how it relates to your lures path on your last cast, or even know if you went through "the zone" but he still didn't hit anyway. So they seem to have very limited practical purpose in my eyes. I much prefer to keep Zaleski's maxim, "close enough, for long enough" in mind instead.

 

As for the rest, I gave up a long time ago telling fish what they will or will not do. Just too many of them that don't want to listen to me B)

 

The whole process of of catching is nothing more than a guess on our part!

 

" I much prefer to keep Zaleski's maxim, "close enough, for long enough" in mind instead."

 

Ya still just guessing 😉

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45 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Strike zones sound great and are easy to visualize, but in most all cases, you're throwing to an area where you "hope" a fish is located, and where even if he is, you can't see his "strike zone" anyway, or how it relates to your lures path on your last cast, or even know if you went through "the zone" but he still didn't hit anyway. So they seem to have very limited practical purpose in my eyes. I much prefer to keep Zaleski's maxim, "close enough, for long enough" in mind instead.

 

As for the rest, I gave up a long time ago telling fish what they will or will not do. Just too many of them that don't want to listen to me B)

See I've never looked at "strike zone" relating to an individual fish. Here's my idea, and it is more of a patterning thing, but maybe strike zone and pattern need each other to exist. I'm throwing a crankbait at a riprap bank in "x" f.o.w., i hook into a fish. Next cast I repeat, hook into a fish. That depth now became my "strike zone" and I will now focus on that particular depth and then try to pattern that situation finding similar banks, same distance on a point, same relation to the sun, wind, etc... never guaranteed but it's worked more times than not... I think, haha

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