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Some ideas regarding the bite

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I ice fished this year (after a lapse of 9 years) and correlated a few observations into a theory regarding a fish's perception of food items or the illusion thereof.

Human's can also be fooled by illusions and some more than others. If we are thirsty on a hot desert, we want to believe the mirage of water on the horizon, exists. Stereroscopic vision is a visual illusion based on the distance between our eyes and the distance to objects. If we go into a fun house, the floor that seems tilted, is caused by our use of stereoscopic vision, to distort dimensions and distances based on a pattern of lines and shapes.

If we see a reasonable facsimile of an object (wax fruit, a resin steak, a ceramic slice of cake), from a distance, we have no choice but to accept the fake as real. But within close range, we discern details (which is part of our nature and mental capacity) and don't try to take a bite of the fake food without testing for texture, smell, hardness, etc.

Ice fishing further enforced a few insights about focusing on the details when it concerns a potential food source. At any distance, fish see a live object or the illusion of one. Rather than focus on the details for accuracy or realness, they may stalk the object to target it regardless of visual closeness or object details. Compare it to a baby that sees an object, grabs for it and puts it in it's mouth, for whatever reason (curiousity being primary when he or she isn't hungry). As long as the object isn't threatening, caution hasn't been learned and the details aren't important. The object may be reached for time after time and mouthed over an over, until the human or animal loses interest. A fish may get hooked on a detail (no pun intended) to the exclusion of all other others, because it's involuntary actions predominate it's life.

Take a spoon and live grub combo. The spoon is shiny stainless steel; the hook is a metal wire with a piece of moving meat attached and the whole thing attached to a braid leader. (I've used tiny strips of pork rind and gotten bites). The flash and jigging action of the spoon is the attractor; the meat is the main attraction. The bulk and action of a jig and pig is the attractor, the meaty portion surrounded by an action profille (skirt), is the main attraction or target, which becomes the fish's goal to capture. Once in it's mouth, 2 + 2 don't equal 4 and it may carry the object for a distance before ejecting it. The details are lost to an overwhelming  aggression/ possession.

Regardless of how close the fish is to the object (even when fully it's in it's mouth), the details are ignored and the fish is incapable of discerning real from fake without being caught or hooked briefly. I've had a solitary fish peck and peck at a recast lure through the ice, until it finally worked it's aggression level high enough, to open it's mouth wide enough, in order to get the object in it's mouth for serious swallowing.  I've thrown caught fish back through the same ice hole, yet caught 10 more in a row on the same lure!

From all this, to me it means a progression of steps that involves gaps in mental ability similar to the baby's action of noticing an object, reaching for the object and mouthing it. Behavior, that is beyond it's control after an overwhelming curiousity is triggered, is the stuff of the bite. Whereas humans learn that the details are important for the sake caution and safety, animals go from watching to charging, (like a bull that has multiple sticks sticking in it's neck), regardless of how much time it's observed the object or regardless of seeing other fish get caught on it. The human brain grows and develops from fetus to it first year and mental abilities increase. The brain a fish is born with, is no different than that which it dies with.

To suggest that a curved piece of red wire is interpreted as a real substance of a living creature, is to suggest that all other details that ruin the illusion on close inspection, are voluntarily and categorically ignored.  It suggests that the fish can and will believe it's eyes via only one outstanding lure element (i.e. red). It suggests that a color scheme is more than just simply color-that-attracts attention and that simply becomes basic, targeting-information for a fish's simple brain and train of thought.

Jimmy Houston and wife used a clown colored jerkbait and caught many plus 2 lb bass. Was it the red, gold or white or the action as the primary trigger? Omouri caught a limit of hogs on a yellow Bagley Killer B balsa crankbait in the same spot. We believe what we want to (as do fish), but the result of catching fish may be the same regardless of our or it's illusions.


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