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bigbill

The fish learn our baits....

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I'm a firm believer that the fish learn our baits when fishing the same spots over and over.  I think thats why i see slow times more often lately too unless i throw something new and different.  Of course we need to pay attention to the change in the season and weather too.

My point is what was a hot bait lastyear may not be as hot this year.

Example;  I was using a 2' blue rapala, a manns baby 1 crankbait in brown craw,  a BPS topnocker color #25 and was knocking them dead the whole summer.  The next year it was very slow.  So i went to inline spinners like mepps,  strikeking and panther martin and things picked up again. There are some lures that keep on working too no matter what like the bps topnocker and the rebel big claw crawfish lure.  As you go you will learn what i'm talking about.

My point is we know the fish are still there we need to readjust and fish it different so we continue to fool them with lures.  Its a challange all the time when were using lures.

Don't give your old lures away we do go back to them again over and over.  If they worked in the past the'll work again sooner or later.

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I agree. A certain frog that I throw don't draw the same kind of attention. Sometimes I will see a wake behind the bait but they will not eat it. That's when I will change to something a little different.

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Definately some truth to that. I fish Senko's a LOT and have guys come to me and say "those sure were hot some years ago" as I'm on my way to the scales with a nice bag of fish.... I'm thinking to myself, "were hot"??? :)

Fish have brains the size of a pea, yes they can get conditioned to lures for sure but if one comes in style and it's hot, don't ditch it for good, maybe for a season or two at the most but realize they are not smart, they are however great survivors.

They don't have the ability to reason and make rational decisions. If it looks like food, smells like food, and happens to be in the right place at the right time, it's getting eaten. This is particularly true in a schooling fish environment where they are competing for food.  Ever catch 2 on one crank bait?  That's my point, reason goes out the window, it's time to eat!!!

See the jitterbug, hula popper, original spinner bait, Manns straight tail worm, Culprit purple ribbon tail worm. All classics and all still producing giant fish regularly.

I'm all for showing them something new too, heck I like buying new stuff and finding a reason to go over to BPS for an afternoon. I rarely come home with nothing ;D

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Nope.

Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits continue to be big producers, year after year. Every fish over a week old has seen these lures (and others), yet they still seem to fool the bass, both big and small. Some lures seem to lose a little magic over time (original Rapala), but are still a part of the "must have" list we all seem to use occasionally.

8-)

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If you constantly bomb a small population of fish ( like small ponds ), let 's say, like every day, after a while fish will learn that a particular bait worked in a particular way means danger and they will stop biting it as long as you present the bait in the same way all the time. Change the presentation and oooops ! they bite it again.

The bait is only a part of the equation.

Been catching fish with a Shad Rap for a good couple of decades and don 't even mention the old reliables jig n 'trailer or plastic worms.

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I'm with RW on this one. I use to think that the bass learned the lure, but after reading articles on the Internet about bass behavior, and from being out on the water, I now think its a combination of the conditions of the lake and the aggressiveness of the bass that matter.

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I think fish do get accustomed to frequently used lures but I don't think it's to a large or long lasting degree. As others said, classic lures continue to produce. I don't think fish think along the lines of "watch out, don't get caught" as much as they think "i need food, that looks like food". I don't think they are as cautious as they are hungry.

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What about electric trolling motors and sonar units?  Do you think fish become conditioned to those as well?

I feel that fish on electric only reservoirs are harder to catch, not really sure, just a feeling.

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Don't give fish too much credit, they are not that smart.  They do not know what metal, plastic, rubber or wood is.  They are reactionary creatures.  I have yet to see any bait fail to produce year after year on the larger waters I fish.

I will agree with Raul.  A small population of fish, as in a small pond that only holds a few fish, can get conditioned to a certain presentation.  I have seen this first hand in my retention pond that only has a few dozen fish in it.  I killed the fish on bait X one year, but the next year, they seldom hit it.  I changed the speed, and nothing more, and the bite was back on all summer.

Brad

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Studies have proven that the plastic worm is the only lure made that a BASS CANNOT REMEMBER!

That is, a bass will continue to strike a worm even after repeated catches, whereas a bass will "turn off" to other lures, spinner baits and crank baits etc. after wearing them out on them. That's why you cannot continue to catch them on your honey hole with the same lure over and over. Bass will stop eating that which will eradicate them. Not true with the plastic worm, however. Although we all know bass will prefer a different bait at different times (i.e. "the pattern") you can always go back to the worm to catch them.

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Studies have proven that the plastic worm is the only lure made that a BASS CANNOT REMEMBER!

I always hear that, but never see the actual study... Link?

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. Not true with the plastic worm, however. Although we all know bass will prefer a different bait at different times (i.e. "the pattern") you can always go back to the worm to catch them.

X2 on that one, soft plastics have a magic of their own, I 've caught the same fish 4 times in 5 days in the same week in one of my cousin 's ponds, all the times with the plastic worm and it 's a fish not hard to identify, don 't have many 10+ pound fish swimming in the pond with 3 fresh holes in the mouth.

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At my parents house we have a 1.5 acre pond, that i am pretty much the only one that ever fishes. My dad ocasionally does, but pretty much i am the only one. The pond itself is seven years old. The first couple years i fished it, i would catch close to 10 an hour. Now it may be one or two. I also used to catch them all the time on tubes. It was pretty much my go to bait. Now when i fish with a tube it will be just a dink or two. I take good care of the pond, making sure to remove appropriate amounts/size bluegills and bass each year. So the pond is in fine shape, and there are plenty of fish.

The other week i went and bought some minnows to try and catch some of the catfish and see how big they had gotten. In the processs of catching the catfish i also caught a 6lb and 6.5lb bass. I havent caught anything over 3lbs on artificial lures in awhile.

What i am getting at, is that i defiently feel that bass get conditioned to certain baits and will no longer eat them. Just like people, there are bright ones and then there are dumb ones. Why one fish gets to be 10+lbs, while the other ones mouth it all torn up from being caught so many times is not just dumb luck.

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Every other animal in the world seems to learn from negative-reinforcement. I doubt fish would be any different.

In fact I specifically reading a Florida Sportsman's article about Snook being raised in giant tanks and the biologist remarked how smart they were. He said when one person walked down to the tank, the fish knew they're about to get fed and all came to the surface. But when two people walked down, the fish knew they're about to get netted and they'd all try to hide in the corner.

Regardless of all that, everyone has probably seen a line break on a bass, only to catch the same fish 5 minutes later with the old hook still in its mouth. Obviously bass don't learn that quickly. Especially when the lure looks so enticing to a hungry fish.

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I agree that negative stimulation can be used to train things from tape worms to your dog, however, for it to work on a dumber critter (worm, frog, fish, etc) it needs to be applied hundreds of times in a row.  The experiment many people cite is the famous one where a tapeworm can be made to only turn left through a maze because he gets shocked every time he turns right... After a few hundred shocks, he finally gets it.  Now a dog can figure out a shock collar after only a few attempts (maybe a dozen for a really dumb dog...).  The question is, where does a bass fit in?  Closer to the tapeworm experiment, or closer to the dog?  If closer to the  tape worm, he would need to see that crankbait hundreds of times before learning it, if closer to a dog, then like dozens... I don't think a fish can learn anywhere close to a dog, and there is no way they see enough cranks to learn them... Maybe in Japan...

I think we like to attribute the bass not biting to anything other than we haven't figured it out yet that day.  Hmmm, the bass didn't hit my crankbait today, must be anything other than my own skill...

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I agree that negative stimulation can be used to train things from tape worms to your dog, however, for it to work on a dumber critter (worm, frog, fish, etc) it needs to be applied hundreds of times in a row. The experiment many people cite is the famous one where a tapeworm can be made to only turn left through a maze because he gets shocked every time he turns right... After a few hundred shocks, he finally gets it. Now a dog can figure out a shock collar after only a few attempts (maybe a dozen for a really dumb dog...). The question is, where does a bass fit in? Closer to the tapeworm experiment, or closer to the dog? If closer to the tape worm, he would need to see that crankbait hundreds of times before learning it, if closer to a dog, then like dozens... I don't think a fish can learn anywhere close to a dog, and there is no way they see enough cranks to learn them... Maybe in Japan...

I think we like to attribute the bass not biting to anything other than we haven't figured it out yet that day. Hmmm, the bass didn't hit my crankbait today, must be anything other than my own skill...

I agree

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Supposedly its a matter of conditioning, not intelligence.

My own experience.......

At one of the small lakes I fish occasionally, some yahoos caught a good few bass and stuck them in the outflow of a dam.  Right where the water flows down there is a hole about 20 ft x 20 ft x 4 feet deep.  I decided to try and catch those bass so they wouldn't die when the water froze during the winter.

I caught around 14 LM bass out of the hole and returned them to the lake, but there was a small group, I'm guessing around 5 LM that simply wouldn't take a lure.  They would peck at it, but never commit.  

And I hate to say it, but I got the feeling that they were just a little wee bit "smarter" then the others I had caught.  

They say animals don't have the ability to think and reason like humans do.  But I have seen the rare occasion where an animal seems to think something through before they act.  Such as a dog opening the latch on a door to get outside.  Or moving a chair over to a counter to get on top to reach some food.  

Granted genetics do play a role in the matter.....ie "Sharelunker"

I do feel that some animals have a small amout of intelligence to work with.  Not much though.

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I think some fishermen don't consider a fishes memory as part of the equation.  Rather than intelligence, memory plays a larger part of to eat or not to eat.  It is true you can catch the same fish over and over, but I can guarantee atleast a few fish will remember the baits they found a hook in, just like they will remember if a particular bug/bait/etc was a good snack.

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Studies have proven that the plastic worm is the only lure made that a BASS CANNOT REMEMBER!

I always hear that, but never see the actual study... Link?

Do the research like the rest of us did  :)

Bass are incapable of learning & their memory is short term otherwise none of us would being catching them.

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If "a" bass were to think about what it was placing in its mouth, it would never eat, as the one next to it would have already swallowed it.

Bass feed one of two ways - opportunity and hunger. During their hunger mode what goes in their mouth goes down their throat. During the opportunity mode if it comes close and looks like a possible meal it goes in their mouth for testing.

During an autopsy, the stomach contents in a bass range from pop-tops off beverage cans to shells.

No, bass are not living in a world were conditioning can be a factor in the eating process.

On a daily basis I go out on the same lake with the same baits and many of the same bass are caught from day to day. Bait conditioning is the bait manufacturers model of behavior, not the bass's.

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Studies have proven that the plastic worm is the only lure made that a BASS CANNOT REMEMBER!

I always hear that, but never see the actual study... Link?

Do the research like the rest of us did  Wink

Bass are incapable of learning & their memory is short term otherwise none of us would being catching them.

I asked for a link to the actual study because I can never find it - yahoo, google, and msn searches reveal nothing in the ways of real proof, and have concluded this study doesn't exist other than in anecdotal forms.    You must have come to the same conclusion that I did, if you believe what you wrote in your second line...  :)

So, my question remains, does anyone else have a link to the scientifically conducted study that a bass cannot remember a plastic worm, or are you just repeating what they've always heard?  

A lot of what we do as fishermen to be successful is challenge any supposed givens like the plastic worm and memory thing.  I have never found the study, do not believe it exists (...or if it does it was performed by a soft plastic company and was biased...).  I do so well with crankbaits time after time in the same ponds/lakes/rivers, that I've concluded that the real story is people are simply uncomfortable using cranks, and stick with worms, because they are out of their comfort zones with them... And they've made up a story to back up their 'crankbait prejudice'... JMO...

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Something with a brain the size of a pea does not reason , it's all about instincts and reactions.

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Ok,

So if bass do not have the ability to be conditioned to certain lures, why is it that no matter what I throw at these 2 BIG bass I see cruising the shallows at a local pond, they don't so much as even look at what I'm throwing?

I have tried hoping, dragging, swimming, and deadsticking with tubes, jigs and worms. Both BIG lures and little lures

I have thrown swimbaits and nearly hit them in the face.

I have tried finesse baits.

I have tried crankbaits, and spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits.

I have tried both the conventional and unconventional.

I have tried getting a reaction strike as well as deadsticking a finesse jig right on past them.

All the while experimenting with color and retrieve to no avail.

With all options exausted I can only believe these fish to be either totally conditioned to every lure known to man, or they have some menial amount of intelligence.

They get pounded every day with all sorts of lures. To the point that they know what to avoid, and only eat real forage.

Has anyone on here ever seen those "Hawg tanks" that tour the country and are used to demonstate lures and techniques?

The ones I have seen, hold bass that don't eat lures. They just don't. They have been caught so many times that they know what to avoid.

If bass can not be conditioned to lures, why do the ones in those tanks have lockjaw non-stop?

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With all options exausted I can only believe these fish to be either totally conditioned to every lure known to man, or they have some menial amount of intelligence.  

It just couldn't be that they saw you and were spooked, or weren't hungry, or they were spawning, running some bream off the bed, or chasing a better food source, or some other condition that you didn't consider.... But ... you're right, there's exactly and exclusively only one reason and not room for any other reason, because you have every single other thing figured out... They HAD to have memorized your lure...a convenient and easy excuse...   :)

Has anyone on here ever seen those "Hawg tanks" that tour the country and are used to demonstate lures and techniques?

The ones I have seen, hold bass that don't eat lures.  They just don't.  They have been caught so many times that they know what to avoid.

If bass can not be conditioned to lures, why do the ones in those tanks have lockjaw non-stop?

I have yet to see a hawg tank where the majority fish are healthy.  Fish in those tanks are stressed and many times sick.  The mood of the sick and stressed ones affects the ones that aren't sick yet, and they act unbasslike.  Add to the fact that fifty idiots are sitting around watching them through the glass, some with kids pounding on the window, and a guy at the top with a fake boat throwing lures in ultra clear water... Yup, it must be that they memorized a lure...  

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