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jomatty

crawfish and their claws

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while reading another thread i ended up reading the articles at http://www.mwbt.com/the_old_fisherman.htm

which is basically some guys observations from watching fish in a big tank in his house for many years.  fairly interesting stuff i thought.

anyways he talks about how much more quickly bass eat craws when they have no pinchers and how they generally do not eat them when they have their claws up in a defensive position.  i have often heard that when fishing with live crawfish you will catch more fish when you pinch the claws off as well.  he specifically says that his bass would not hit jigs tipped with craws that had claws that would float.

This was kind of a surprise to me, although it makes perfect sence.  i fish a lot of jigs and my favorite trailers are usually the ones that have large claws (often chunks in the paca style) and the defensive position is often something that i think of as realistic looking and good.  im now wondering if i like that because it looks good to me or because it is more effective.  ive caught a lot of fish in this way but i cant really say that i do better than i did when i always used a grub (well i do better but i cant really attribute that to the trailers in any way)

i know a lot of others prefer jig trailers with big claws and am just wondering what others thoughts on this are.  Do you guys try to mimic or avoid the defensive position and prefer for your trailers to have prominent claws?

matt

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I have fished with craws both ways. I really dont see a difference weather you declaw them or not. If Im in weeds I declaw because the little buggers grab anything they can get there claws on. Like weeds. What I have noticed and for the life of me cant figure out why is why the ones I catch in the creek by my house with the hardest shells imagineable catch more fish than the softshells I buy at the baitshop. Go figure!

Jim

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Let's examine the jig or plastic craw at rest, the claws should be in the defensive position when the bass see it. Next thing you do is to more it (shake/short hop) causing the claws to move downward, when it stops and before the claws can return to the defensive position the bass will strike. All natural movements!

MaxumBass, to stop the claws from grabbing weed spray it with an attractant, not for scent purposes but as a lubricant.

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I have noticed I catch a lot more bass with a craw trailer than w/o one. I guess I can see catt's point, or maybe we are thinking too much about it, and bass eat when bass want to eat.

Tank animals for me, do not act "natural" since they are cooped up.

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MaxumBass, to stop the claws from grabbing weed spray it with an attractant, not for scent purposes but as a lubricant.

I think he was referring to fishing with actual live craws...

I am very, very new to fishing jigs; I have only fished with trailers having claws and have caught some fish. It is an interesting point you bring up, however i think that for the sake of realism, I prefer to let the claws on the trailer.

Wayne

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I'm no marine biologist but I am a Cajun from Southwest Louisiana and have seen a crawfish or two in the wild as well as in purge (2,000 gallon) tanks on crawfish farms. We eat a lot of crawfish which are bought in 35# sacks and the majority does in fact have small claws.

Jomatty asked about fishing jigs with craw worms that have large claws and I stand by the answer given above which imitates natural crawfish movements. As far this person stating his bass would not hit jigs tipped with craws that had claws that would float, he is talking about bass in his house. A 150 gallon aquarium is not a natural environment for the bass or the crawfish and given stimuli one can condition certain reactions from the bass or the crawfish.

While a crawfish will take a defensive posture towards a bass they are not fighters, they are simply bluffing, and their defense is to flee. Once the crawfish tries to flee the bass will attack inhaling its prey. What one wants to imitate with a jig or Texas rig is the crawfishes fleeing movements with short fast hops.

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Over the years I have caught a number of smallmouth with crawdads stuck in their throats (greedy guys, don't you think?) These native, wild dads all had claws, no exceptions as far as I recall. Maybe removing the claws when fishing live bait is "more" productive, but I assure you, bass eat dads with big claws, too!

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As Catt stated, the defensive posture of crayfish is essentially a bluff,

and while a crayfish is posturing he's contemplating his best escape route.

Consider this:

The Zoom Big Critter Craw has large claws that "float", and that was the same lure

that boated the all-time heaviest 4-day stringer in BASS history, 115 lbs, 15 oz!

Roger

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Craws are a favorite staple in winter time  for needed protien to develope the eggs.       Most live baiters will pinch the pinchers off to keep the craw from grabbing or latching on to something on bottom.

Never had a problem with live or plastic craws.    They work, and work well.

Matt.

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Most live baiters will pinch the pinchers off to keep the craw from grabbing or latching on to something on bottom.

Matt jogged my memory:

Green crabs are the favored bait for "tautog", a saltwater species also called blackfish.

We routinely remove the large claw from the green crab, but not because blackfish are afraid of large claws,

but because they live among rockpiles and snaggy reefs where the crab is apt to latch onto something

that either fouls the rig or keeps the crab out of harm's way.

Roger

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When trying to imitate a crawfishes movements it helps to know how a real one moves. When unalarmed a crawfish walks around on its little legs like any creature, it's capable of moving forward, backwards, and sideways. Once frightened it will flick its tail lifting itself upwards and backwards rather quickly, it will do this 3 or 4 times covering a distance of only 5 to 6'. Once back on the bottom the crawfish will return to its defensive posture of claws up warning other creature not to approach.

Since a bass is a predator its instincts tells it to strike the crawfish on the fall or to strike while the crawfish is on the bottom before it can make its next jump/hop. That is why you should pay close attention to your jig/craw worms initial fall, the bass believes it has caught the crawfish off guard.

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I currently own a rather large tank and have housed a bass in it for sometime.  Now to bring up the point that someone made that its not a natural environment, I think thats the key.  Once the bass adapted to tank life it didn't matter what I put in there, he ate it.  I could drop a chunk of chicken in there and he would eat it.  I think if you toss a live or fake craw in front of a bass he is going to eat it, no matter what size.  They are not going to pass up the chance of a quick meal.  I have a rod that I keep a Yum Craw bug tied on and it doesn't ever come off. Thats my go to bait!  If I can see a bass, 9.5 times out of 10 he wont pass on it.  

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Catt is dead on the money in regards to craws.

My Dad fished for bass with all natural baits. He mostly used minnows, crawdas and worms. He hated lures but would use them if he thought they'd put food on the table. For a long time he pulled the pincers of craws for bass bait but he would use sinkers in a Carolina rig fashion to keep the craw in place so it wouldn't move around too much. He would catch bass on occasion but also catfish. When we moved to Arkansas a good ol' boy told my Dad how to get some action with live craws and his success went up...and so did his injuries from live craws nippin' at him while he rigged 'em up. ;D He didn't use 'em often for some reason...Hehehe

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YEARS AGO WE USED TO GO UP TO INDIAN RIVER, MI. FOR A WEEK OF PIKE, WALLEYE, AND SMALLMOUTH FISHING. MY WIFE'S COUSIN WOULD WADE IN THE RIVER AND CATCH CRAWDADS BY THE BUCKETFULL TO FISH FOR THE SMALLIES AND WALLEYE. HE WOULD ALWAYS BREAK OFF THE CLAWS BUT NEVER SAID WHY.

I WILL SAY THIS, IT WAS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BAIT UP THERE.

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According to the book "Pure Fishing"  nomal crawdads with pinchers attatched were used in a scientificlly controlled environment in the Berkley Labs to get a baseline. Then the pinchers (only) were removed, new fish were introduced and the strike rates almost doubled. New fish and the tails (only) removed with few changes from normal ,New fish, then heads (only)were removed with normal results. This is why tube jigs work so well. They closely resemble a pincherless crawdad. Look at the bait isles, you will find fewer baits with pinchers on them. I am a believer!!! Good luck.

8-)

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thanks guys,

my thinking was similar to catts original post that they may be less likely to hit when the craw is in a defensive position but would attack as soon as the jig is moved.  

catt was also right that being very familiar with how a crawfish moves is very important when fishing jigs.  i always think about craws first in a defensive position and then about the way they swim.  i spent a lot of time when i was a kid catching craws in the creeks and rivers and always think about them first taking up the defensive pose and then shooting off backwards.

matt

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I have fished the creeks and streams of central Alabama for like 10 years now and I have use almost exclusively tubes and craw works for my soft plastics. I have noticed that the craw worms were less effective after a bass had pulled a pincher off. I also noticed that when they didn't work a tube did. To me that tube looked more like a minnow trying to hold its position on the stream bed. I am a big beleiver however in the idea that a fish most often eat the bait that is different. They do this in nature, the minnow or prey that moves differently is SOL!

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Hmmmm, tank raised fish and wild fish? I would say there is a difference. I have read lots of articales on this subject, for example, " The fish in the tank chose the 2" crawdads first". You know what, baa, hummbug. I think that a bass in the wild does not care if the crawdad is in a defensive posture of not. If they are hungry and foraging for food I feel that it will be bye-bye crawbug. I have caught literally thousands of smallies from the rivers here and many times they have spit up crawbugs with claws. I say " Myth Busted ".

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jim,

i certainly didnt mean to imply that there was even the slightest doubt if a bass would eat a craw with claws.  the only question is if they prefer them to ones without.  

i cant remember having a bass spit out a craw that didnt have claws but that dosent really mean anything to me, as there are relatively very few craws without claws so it would make sence that there would be few getting spit out.  it dosent necessarilly mean that if given the choice they wouldnt prefer the clawless ones.

anyhow im not sure it matters at all just clarifying what i meant.

matt

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Let me see, I hate to think someone else may have said this, but bass are oppurtunistic feeders and they do not discriminate between free meals, they are much like in-laws!

Bass by their nature will attack the odd man out first. That is as a rule. If I recall correctly Lauri Rapala said that he would watch minnows in a pond and the one that didn't behave like all the rest was first to be eaten. I think that qoute may have been on this site. Catt is 100% correct when he says that the action of the bait is much more important than the look, and tests agree that action triggers better than appearance. All men know this, if she walks good, she well.... anyway! Areas that have extremely high populations of craws perhaps might make it so that the one claw or no claw works better.

The real trick is that that fish is looking for A crawfish to enter his strike zone. Let me tell you what that is all it takes, rather it has claws or not, ask the craw fish.

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zoom critter craw.jpg

This is an image of a Zoom Big Critter Craw

This lure has large pincer-like appendages that float upward at rest.

This is the very lure that boated the heaviest stringer of largemouth bass.

This record was not a fluke, not a one-day record and not even a one-year record.

The Zoom Big Critter Craw set the all-time heaviest "4-day" stringer in B.A.S.S. history.

In a scenario of professional angler versus wild bass, this feat has never been paralleled

by any plastic worm, plastic lizard, plastic tube or any other bass lure.

In my opinion, action speaks louder than words.

Roger

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Hmm...

I'm thinking I might pick up a couple of those.

Thanks for the tip, Roger.

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Hmm...

I'm thinking I might pick up a couple of those.

Thanks for the tip, Roger.

RW, the critter craw works real well in Florida, and Preston Clark made history with them in South Carolina.

If anyone can make them work in Tennessee, it would be you :)

Roger

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