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FIN-S-R

Not For The Weak Of Mind

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Over the past few years I have been emersing myself in researching the Green/Brown fish specifically in relation to how to become a more productive angler. In order to do so I have come to the conclusion that fish are incapable of logical thought processes, and can only react, based on conditioning and instinct. I cannot manipulate a fishes instinct, only can I attempt to accomodate that instinct on a reaction level. Subesquently all an angler can do is understand the appropriate level of reaction a fish will respond to, or to be even more specific...the level of stimulation a fish needs to be provoked into striking. As part of a larger project I am working on i have built what i call the reaction gradation. Its a group of techniques and lures I commonly use, ranked according to the level of stimulation (Visual/Vibration/Sound) they expell when fished in a generic manner, this is to say I am not considering all the possible ways a spinner bait can be fished ie, like a jig/ like a worm/ like a spoon, but just the typical rollin it in slow or fast, deep or shallow, pausing or burning, and the same for all lures/techniques in the aformentioned table "Reaction Gradation". I would like to have some input from those posting here as to the order in which i have these techniques arranged..is it generally correct? is it generally incorrect? does one need to be in a different rank? About 60% of this project is based on documented bio. research and R&D materials, so 40% of it is my observation and collection of observation from guys who i have seen to exhibit high levels of angling skill. This Reaction Table is just 1 piece, but I feel like the most important piece in order to make it usable for actual FISHIN' help. The Guts to the table are included below...I would really appreciate your thoughts.

Score             Lure/Technique

14                   Vibration Bait

13                   Horny Toad/ Buzz Bait

12                   Spinner Bait

11                   Mid-Crank/ ChatterBait/ SwimJig

10                   Deep Crank/ BIG SpinnerBait

09                   Hard Jerk/ Popper/ Walkin Stick Bait

08                   DEEP Hard Jerk

07                   SwimBait

06                   Carolina Rig

05                   Jig-n-Trailer

04                   Texas Rig Unpegged w/ Bead (Soft Plastics)

03                   Split Shot w/o bead

02                   Jig Worm (Shakey Head/ Spot Remover)

01                   Drop Shot

0.05                   Weightless Soft Plastics

If you like I can post some of the collected data and Pieces of the index I am working on (Im sure your all titlated)

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Guest avid

I admire your intellegence and zeal.  I'm sorry that I can't be of much help to you with your project.  You see, If I feel like fishing I'll fish.

If the fish feel like bitin' they'll bite.

That's about as deep as I get on the subject.

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I really can't comment on your study without seeing the nuts and bolts.

What is your baseline for "optimal" stimulation. More isn't necessarily better.

I'd need to know how you quantified the reaction of a fish to various stimuli.

I'd certainly have to know how you weighted and scaled the data, for both vision and hearing.

Tweaking any one of your criteria or parameters could significantly rearrange the ranking.

Roger

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If I understand correctly, you are saying that if you know the reaction level required to get a response at any given time, you can then select a lure with that score. I think the idea has merit. Specific fishing conditions, (time of year, water temp. and clarity, etc.) according to conventional wisdom, call for lures that would fall within a fairly tight range on your index. You could then say under these conditions a lure within this range, 10-14 for example, would be a good place to start. As RoLo said, quantifying the stimulus of any lure, as well as determining the number needed to produce a strike is the real challenge.

I like the idea, and think you could build a fishing "system" on it. Keep at it and I'll look for your book when it hits the presses. Maybe you could cut a deal with Glenn to market it here?

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My baseline for Optimal Stimulation is the technique with the highest cumulative score based on sight, sound, and vibration characteristics. For ex. the vibration bait stimulates based on vibration (tight wiggle), sight (fast moving/ fast falling), and sound (rattle chambers). The vibration bait was the highest scoring lure/technique relative to the group of 20 or so that I looked at (some of them have been phased out or combined because they were near duplicates).  The vibration bait  scored 20/19/20 for vibration/sight/sound. Having said all of that, I realize my opinion on some of this info may be biased by my fishing preferences and the distance between common sense and attempted science is sometimes great. So give me your opinoin, I want to hear opinions and anacdotal evidence in order to unbias myself and potentially promt a new point of view on some of this stuff.

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K_Mac: Dont be giving away my secret system just yet!!! but yeah, I am working to quantify response to a certain collection of variables ie. temp/light penetration/light levels/length of day blah blah blah. And we as fisherpersons know all of this directly or indirectly relates to what will catch bass...not a particular singular hawg of a bass, but bass in general. So like you said you can figure out the place to start in the most efficient manner. Im also finding the data is sorting unintentionally into size classes (>16" class and < 20" class) related to certain types of areas at certain times off the year. Read about how Mike Mclelland won the sooner run this year. I doubt if he really understood the pattern he was running, but Im finding that type of situation in post spawn bass relates to bigger fish on most of my data collection water bodies here in the sooner state.

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Fin-S, as a writer, guide, lure manufacturer and overall afficionado for bass fishing I can tell you one thing that will likely put your theory on this stimulation table down the drain.....The only set rule in bass fishing is that there are no set rules. That being said, I think it is highly unlikely that anyone can narrow down the exact bait a fish wants at any given moment. Granted just because a fish struck a jig, does that mean that was the optimum option? Would that same fish have struck another bait more readily? I just don't think any test and measure this accurately.

I kind of think you are putting way too much consideration into this and the payoff will never be exacting. It might be more prudent to match the lure choice based on the seasonal conditions and not to the bass as an individual creature. If you try to narrow it down too far, you'll find that your margin for error is much greater.

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Have you seen the Bass Matrix?

That tries to tie together the weather conditions, water temperature and forage to offer some suggested baits.

As for your theory, it seems to have merit except, in my humble opinion, you are dealing with a wild animal that has strong instincts and a mind of its own. Something like a wife.  Are you married?

But I digress.  I think your theory needs to be sharpened for various areas of the country since there are so many variables that I would think it almost impossible to calculate, even with one of those 5 billion a second computers at LSU.

But give it a whack and see what happens.

Also, please use paragraphs as it is difficult to read one large paragraph with words that have more than two sylables.

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Earthworm77... as an experienced researcher I realize the overall implications a study like this carries with it. First of all I do not intend on predicting what lure to throw on a certain day for a certain fish. What I do plan to do is make my starting place more distinct when practicing for a tourny, taking my son or wife or daughter or anyone else fishing, or just goin' out myself to wet a line, making the first thing I pick up to throw have the highest probability of hooking up.  A STARTING PLACE. OK having said that, Ill say this about the seasonal stuff you mentioned...your exactly right. If you dont match up the reaction level with the right place and the appropriate color scheme your not going to see optimal results. So now I have to let the cat out of the bag. The project I am working on correlates general fish position based on time of year...relating to h2o temps and length of day. There is a shallow and deep component to each of 12 different distinct phases of bass movement patterns. There is a RANGE of areas...lake features....to be considered for each of these phases. Next you want t look at less static environmental features like cloud cover/precip/inflow/current/water clarity and so on and so on...all of the things have direct implications on the behavior of a fish...different fish act different to the same changes, and some dont react at all...there are no set in stone rules, only trends. I am attempting to quantify an average and then formulate a strategy on how to most effectively work both sides of that average. i had quite a few folks react to this in the way you did, so im not too surprised to encounter some skepticism, but I have found this to be an un-broken rule in the natural world...There is a trend towards staying alive and reproducing, it can be quantified and it does have exceptions, but there is a trend that can be quantified.

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SAM:

Ive seen a few matricies and they tend to go in a different direction than what Im looking toward. You are correct about the variable quantification being tough, but i think it can be done by expanding and tightening your ranges for each variable such that the limits are defined by amount of influence rather than by say for example exact barometric pressure readings. As to the different parts of the country..Ive considered that and since there are documented differences in temp and precip and wind direction and whatever else you can think of, I believe what I come up with for oklahoma can be adjusted by considering lat/long differences and environmental variable average differences as well as the correlation of length of day to spawn (considering h2o conditions are right).

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FIN-S-R,

If you have the time to collect the empirical data needed for such an in-depth study, more power to you.  You may discover something that will help you key on more fish.  It can't hurt as long as you stay flexible and understand you're tracking trends and generalities, not behaviors that are etched in stone.  From your last post, it appears you already know this.  

For me, I've found that when I analyze the behavior of bass too much, my success will often decrease.  Then, I'll settle down and go back to the basics, and, "Voila," I"m catching fish again.  But that's me.

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senile1: Your exactly right about the over analyzation thing I do it all the time. i just figure if..no no...when I can generally quantify what it is Im aiming at, ill be more proficient. What im trying to put on paper is the same thing that is in the mind of thousands of good and great anglers out there. but not all of it resides in 1 head at 1 time and most of em' dont even know they are using an analytic thought process to catch fish. I want to collect it and see how it works together. It does take alot of time to collect this info, but im lucky to live between two totally different lakes and collect data from both so as not to bias my observations to 1 type of water, but im sure there is stuff Im missing...this is just the first step in a lifelong addiction though, and one of these days im might actually figure out how to catch em'

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Fin, I hear what you are saying.  The variables are almost endless as once you break things into catagories such as season, water temp, water level, clarity, pH etc....along come literally hundreds of smaller sub catagories to consider.

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Right, but the amount of influence each of the sub categories has is variable and becomes less influential the more you break it down Thats why i wrote earlier that quantifying variables in relation to the amount of influence each has is the only way to ever wrap your head around this. For instance water clarity...do i use 3 categories or 9 or 12. Well what are the differences in fishing clear and gin clear...not much, or fishing dark tannic or muddy...not much, so although there are differences, its a balance of lumping and splitting. I started out with around 500 variables to consider...just brainstoriming up everything I could think of. Then I left it alone for a couple of months and came back to it. I did a lot of lumping, and in some cases Ive done some splitting. I now have my variable set down to a manageable 100 or so, and plan to do some more refining based on peer reviewed scientific stuff as well and my own observations. So it seems incermountable at first, but it really is manageable. Once i get the variables managed down a little further...if it goes that way, Ill start re-plugging them into my system and see if the suggestions make sense. This is a long term deal and is evolving.

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This would depend on how the lure was used. If you take a worm for example and cast it out and work the bottom with it you would not have a reaction strike from a bass but more of a feeding response. You take the same lure and pitch it into cover and force the fish to react to it or strike without thought. Same with a jig you can cast the jig and work bottom cover with it and get more of a feeding response or pitch it into cover a force the fish to react and strike the lure without thought. A spinnerbait you can do the same thing cast and reel it to get a feeding response or strike out of curiosity or you can throw the lure into its face and force the fish to bite it or react to it. A change in direction speed or sound can force a fish to strike. A crankbait the same thing you can cast and reel it past the fish for a feeding response or you can deflect the lure off of something to force the fish to react to it. You can also force feed the fish and make them bite by how you cast the bait in shallow water. Most of the lures you have listed depending on how the lure was used would depend on how the bass responded to them. Also the level of activity can change by the presence of a lure or how it was used. A neutral bass can become excited if you gear your presentation to the instinct of the bass. A bass that is in a negative mood can change their mood with the presence of bait or change in environment like wind. Bass that are positioned in ambush areas can be excited by a lure that acts real or acts like it is injured. The way a lure is presented does change how the lure is reacted to it and you can force a bass to feed even if it don't want to. On the low end of your chart you have weightless soft plastics on the bottom. You take a Mr. Wiggleys shad imitation and swim the bait by quivering the rod as you pull it and then spook it or let it drop and the reaction you get from a bass changes. The same with a Cream worm, or floating worm if fished in the same way or wacky rigged or any soft jerkbait. If I fish a spinnerbait with two blades on it and I fish it by jerking it and shaking it while reeling it I produce more sound and an erratic presentation that can force a fish to react. Same with a jerkbait that you just cast and swim compared to jerking the bait and making it dance. I catch many fish early in the year and in the winter burning a rattletrap or crankbait in cold water. So your dealing with fish that even if you think you got them pegged you still can catch them doing things that break the rules. I have also caught a bunch of fish using topwater in the middle of winter.

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There is no way of us telling whether a fish has a conscience or thought process. There are things that make me believe they do that people just say are conditioning, but there's no way to really tell.

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Interesting.....

How would you figure in different bodies of water across the globe. In my experience, a Northern bass is much different than a Southern bass. Not so much the fish but how active it is given season and water temps. I hear soo many Southern anglers speak of how their bass get lock jaw under a cold front or how inactive they are until water temps get above say like 55 degrees.

Northern bass will bite even when the water is in the 40's or 30's on some occasions.

OR, smallmouth vs. largemouth vs. spots.

It seems to me that you would have waaayyy to many variables to have a common baseline, but your thoughts are interesting.

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After reading this post a few times to make sure I understood it before I replied I will say the rankings have very little to do with a bait catching fish. The enviroment of a fish has way too many varibles that allow some baits to work and others not to work on any given day and set of conditions. You can't take just the level of sound, vibration, etc to even get a good starting point. The best way to figure out how to catch fish has always been the same. Spend time on the water suceeding and failing with different lures under as many different conditions as you can so that when you encounter near the same conditions again you will have a better idea of where to start depending on your strengths and experiences.

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FIN-S-R, I'm an engineer and I really like any kind of quantitative analysis like this.  So I hate to rain on your parade, but there are just too many variables, with too much error in each one, for this to work.  I think you're better off just going with the rules of thumb that we all use to pick a starting lure.  There are just too many experienced anglers out there who have already done the "experiments."  I don't think your analysis can beat decades of collective experience from thousands of fishermen.  

But, like someone else said, if you've got the time to work on it, go for it...

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Fin S , I am not totaly sure I understand your list but it seems like you listed them by how many ways a bait can trigger a strtike. I like everybody else agree with the too many varaibles. I do have an interesting bit of info for you though.

It has been my experiance that the order of your list was made for poor visability. As far as fish catching abilities, out here in clear water CA the baits with the highest scores are the worst. And the baits with the lowest scores are the best. Now fish the same baits at night or in a dirty water lake and they are reversed. Now Of course these only apply to smaller average sized fish. Big fish act diferently. Conditions determin how and when to use a bait. Also on any given day there are many diferent succesful patterns hapening at the same time. Just because your wacking them on spook doesnt mean you wouldnt have caught more dropshotting.

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You are also dealing with a group of individuals. What is good for one bass isn't good for another. Different fish react differently and it takes different things to get those fish to respond to the bait. This goes well beyond a defined pattern. You can have a group of fish relating to cover or structure but it will take different presentations to get them to bite within the same school. You might end up catching fish on a verity of different lures worked in different ways to maximize the amount of fish caught in a small area like a brush pile. Fishing pressure also throws a wrench into the works because conditions changed and forced the bass to reposition and change their feeding habits to survive. Lets say you have a brush pile and you have been catching the fish on a dropshot rig. The next thing you know the bite stops. Those fish that you where catching stopped relating to the bottom because of fishing pressure and have relocated to suspend above the brush pile. The next guy stops to fish the same brush pile and hammers them on a jerkbait or crankbait. I do understand that it would be nice to know what list of lures would work under a set of conditions. You have a problem what one fishermen would define as clear water to another fishermen is stained water to another fishermen they would say it was murky. They base their judgment on how clear the water is by what they fish the most. If one guy fishes mostly tap water anything that has some color to it in their eyes is stained to murky. If the guy fishes mostly mud then anything that has 3 ft visibility is clear water. If I am fishing in 3 ft visibility water and I am catching fish in 1ft of water tight to shore I would say I was fishing in clear water. I would also choose clear water lures but if I move out 5 ft I would choose lure colors for darker water. I would also choose lures that work in less visibility water over clear water lures while fishing 5ft out from the shore. Sometimes lakes get almost a stack effect where the top layer is clear then 5ft down is mud or in some cases the reverse. The top layer will be mud the bottom layer considerably clear. It would be the blind leading the blind and neither one would know the correct answer from lack of information as to what the conditions truly are. I wish that it was as simple as you take the conditions and what the fish should be doing so this select lures at this depth will work. I know for myself as an accomplished tournament fishermen there are very few rules that dictate what I will do from sun up to sun set. I go by instinct and it is close to impossible to teach that. You either got it or you don't. Then you have the mental side of fishing. The guys that say I will never win, I will never be as good, I will never learn that bait, Oh the conditions stink I will never catch anything.  The fact is your right because you already beat yourself. When you plant doubt in your mind, doubt in judgment, or abilities you let the gates wide open for defeat. 90% of fishing is mental if you care to believe it or not that is up to you.  ::)

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