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Raul

Know your prey !: Bass Senses II

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3.- Smell

There 's no doubt that fish can smell, some better tha others and depending on how important the sense of smell is to the fish you will see variations. For example pike have only one nostril, this means that smell is less important to them because they hunt by other systems, bass have two nostrils located above the mouth, this means that for bass the sense of smell is more important than it is for pike, the extreme would be catfish, catfish not only posses two notrils, they have came to the point where they even have olfatory and taste buds on the tip of their whiskers.

In the specific case of bass; bass can smell quite well, in a scale of one to ten taking pike as 1 and catfish as 10 in the order or importance we can catalogue bass in a 4.5, it does have 2 pair of nostrils, but it doesn 't have as much olfatory buds on the nasal mucosae and the olfatory bulb is not very large, so bass are not preciselly keen on the smell side, but they do smell.

For us as angler it means that scents do have a place, in the short range because in the long range they are as good as nothing. Besides, all that junk talk about a scent trail is just that, junk, after 5 casts in the same place there 's no scent trail, just a huge mass of dispersed molecules that overwhelms the sense of smell.

4.- Taste

Talk about something as controversial as taste and scent. The truth is: the sense of taste in fish like bass is so poor that adding flavoring to your offerings is like throwing your money to the garbage bin. Fish like bass can detect mildly salty flavors and bitter flavor but the ammount of taste buds is so little that is almost non existant, they are not like us.

5.- Tact

Oh yeah fish can touch, you can bet they can, but opposed to us where our skin is the most important organ when it comes to the sense of tach in fish the most important place where tact is located is inside the mouth, why ? beacuse their skin is covered in most of them by large scales and covered with slime, so the sense of tact on rest of the body is very poor. That 's the reason why soft plastic baits are very effective, they have the same "feel" live animals do.

6.- The Lateral Line

This is my favorite sense, it does so many things and is so sophisticated that it 's a true marvel of nature 's engineering, too bad for us, we don 't have it.

The lateral line is located along the body about in btween the dorsal fin and the anal fin, some fish have one continuos line others have "broken" lateral line, but the purpose is pretty much the same.

What does the lateral line do that it 's so important ? Well, a fish without a lateral line is as good as a dead fish. The system is formed by nervous terminals that emerge from the spine connected to the exterior through holes in the scales above them. The system does many things, part of the terminals are chemoreceptors that detect chemicals dissolved in the water, it also detects variations in the pH and very important for us as anglers, it detects pressure waves and low voltage electrical signals.

Living animals emit electrical signals because our muscles work with electricity generated in the nervous system, fish can detect in lower or greater way those low voltage electrical signals.

Pressure waves are generated when objects move through water, the lateral line can detect such pressure waves, it tells the lateral line te size, spees, size and direction of the moving object.

The most extreme case of this kind of adaptation can be seen in electric eels, not only the lateral line detects pressure waves, it generates a an electrical current, the recptors on the lateral line can detect distortions in the electrical field, if the distance is appropiate the system generates a high voltage current stunning the victim with an electro shock, that 's how electric eels hunt.

So as you can see bass don 't need the eyesight  to hunt, with only 2 systems ( hearing and the lateral line ) is very capable of targeting a prey with pin point accuracy, not even our most sophisticated targeting systems can do that.

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Raul,

I've read the two posts now several times and like them more each time! I have a question that might open my mind to other aspects of the various lures I use. I picked this particular bait because everyone knows that it can be very effective, especially fishing for big bass.

Exactly what does a bass find interesting about a jig? Which senses are triggered? How does the bass determine when and where to strike? Why would color be of any importance in deep water? When should you use a rattle? Why would you ever use scent?

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Jigs imitate the way darters and crawfish move when hopped along the bottom, whe swimmed they immitate the way baitfish move.

Which sense are triggered ? the most important two ones: the hearing and the lateral line.

When hoped along the bottom it emits sound when it hits the bottom, to us it may not make any sound but to fish it sounds like a thump when it hits a rock it emits a very audible clack, we can 't hear it if we are far away from the bait but under water it 's hearable.

In second place the as it moves the hair or silicone/ rubber strands emit pressure waves that are detected by the lateral line, add a trailer and more waves are emitted. Add a rattle and you add more sound. When swimmed the same thing happens pressure waves are formed and they are detected by the lateral line.

To us it 's difficult to understand, you can 't see or hear or feel pressure waves, we are not used to, we can only detect pressure waves when they are really strong. To make it more clear when a bomb blasts the most damaging part of the blast is the pressure wave, it moves faster than the sound and in water, 835 times more dense than air, the pressure wave travels very fast. That 's the principle behind depth charges, to destroy the submarine with the pressure wave. You can see that herons and other ictiphagous birds dip their beak in a very particular angle when fishing, it 's the precise angle where the target fish can 't detect the pressure wave fast enough to escape, if they don 't do it at that angle the fish can detect the incoming pressure wave as the beak penetrates the water, it 's cuetion of angles and miliseconds, the wrong angle and the fish have extra miliseconds to escape.

Bass determine when to strike when they feel that all is working in unison, when all the sensorial indications are in the exact position. They will not do it before, it 's a waste of energy.

Color is important in deep water because UV light is capable of reaching very deep, fish see more on the UV spectrum than we. Maybe you have read about all those discussions about red, that red does this, that red light is the first one to dissapear from the spectrum bla, bla, bla, red under UV light GLOWS red. So all those discussions are mere hypthesis because nobody has taken the time to see how colors look at a particular depth under UV light. Green turns florescent green under UV light.

One should use a rattle predominantly when the turbidity and water clarity impair visibility, the fish can target a silent bait extremely well with the lateral line alone, but it doesn 't hurt to give the fish another element to target the bait on the contrary, it 's like giving the an extra reference point. To put it in other words: I can give you my adress, with that you have all the information you are supposed to need, but it doesn 't hurt if I tell you that 2 blocks away to the north of a Home Depot my adress is.

Personally I don 't use scent in my baits, never have done it, I don 't need it for the fish to locate my bait, but when the conditions are of poor visibility scent is another added feature tothe adress, lets return to the adress example: you know my adress, you know that my adress is two blocks away to the north, how about if I told you that my home is white ? that reduces more the search. The same thing happens with scents, they are just an added feature, but don 't put all your confidence in them.

Target the primary senses; hearing and the lateral line and add features as you need them. Baits fool the fish because they give the fish a wrong impression, it makes the fish think they are targeting a live animal, a bait is only a chunk of wood, metal or plastic.

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Raul... Since some of what you've written is contrary to other resources I've read, I'm wishing you would reference some of the resources that led you to these conclusions.  Thanks

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And those outher sources you have read were wrotten by whom, biolgists, zoologists, because mine were written by them, I needed accurate sorces because I was a teacher of Aquaculture in the School of Veterinary Medicine of the LaSalle University for 10 years, being a teacher I certainly cannot give inaccurate information to my pupils, the conclusions are not mine it 's a compilation of conclusions written by researchers.

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Raul:

AWESOME post!!

Who needs Bassmaster U?

This forum rocks!  What great information...

Thanks!!

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3.- Smell

.Living animals emit electrical signals because our muscles work with electricity generated in the nervous system, fish can detect in lower or greater way those low voltage electrical signals.

Pressure waves are generated when objects move through water, the lateral line can detect such pressure waves, it tells the lateral line te size, spees, size and direction of the moving object.

The most extreme case of this kind of adaptation can be seen in electric eels, not only the lateral line detects pressure waves, it generates a an electrical current, the recptors on the lateral line can detect distortions in the electrical field, if the distance is appropiate the system generates a high voltage current stunning the victim with an electro shock, that 's how electric eels hunt.

Would it make sense to manufacture a lure that emits the same frequency as an injured baitfish?  I remember seeing a shark special and they used such a frequency to attract them to the area.  Does this seem far fetched or sensible?

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The problem is finding the right frequency and the right hydrodinamic signature.

Bass strikes a lure for certain reasons:

Hunger

Curiosity

Defense

But there 's more than that, it 's what I call attraction vs triggering, the lure may attract the fish, like in the case you 're mentioning, developing a device that emmits a certain frequency but it may not trigger the strike, because it lacks of the rest of the elements that trigger the strike. It 's the blend between the attracting properties and the triggering properties what causes the fish to attack the lure, some properties are built in the design of the lure but others are given to the lure by the angler, that 's why fishing is as much art as it is science.

For example: hammerhead shark posess a larger ammount of electrical sensors than other sharks, hammerhead sharks can detect the electrical current generated by the beathing of the fsih when the fish is buried in the sand, so place a wire and generate current and the shark will bite the wire even if it 's buried up to a foot in the sand.

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Would it make sense to manufacture a lure that emits the same frequency as an injured baitfish? I remember seeing a shark special and they used such a frequency to attract them to the area. Does this seem far fetched or sensible?

I thought thats what that biosonix thing that KVD is pushing now did. So that thing does work. It just won't trigger a strike, right?

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Raul, great post, AGAIN!  I am just sitting here, trying to apply this information to a C-Rigged lizard. (One of my favorite baits)   I need to make more noise with it and more pressure waves, per se. (Tickers and lizards with curlier tails to make the pressure waves????

Is this the proper application of your info to real time C-rigging lizards?

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I donno if this is a far fetched question...  

is it known about how far away a bass can laterally feel the pressure waves of a texas rigged lizard?  (just as an example....)

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Hearing a lure and striking a lure are two different things. A Bass can hear a lure from a great distance lets say and as the lure comes close it can pinpoint where the sound is coming from but if its not in the strike zone the bass knows that it has little chance to effectively hit the lure with accuracy. But when the bait runs or drops into the "zone" it's accuracy goes up and can strike the lure with accuracy. Most of the time when a bass knows something food related is making a run towards there zone they take up an ambush position. The bass needs to decide the capture reward benefit of the pray. If the prey comes flying by the bass is not going to leave its zone to chase down a small snack but if something is slow moving and easy to catch it might leave the zone because the percentage is high that it can hit with 100% accuracy. If you put the bait on their nose they don't have time to decide and they react. The zone changes as conditions change. Visibility and pressure systems change a bass's strike zone. In clear water a bass might have a strike zone of 10 to 20 ft. In heavy stained water it might be 1-3ft. Can a bass hear your trolling motor or you banging around in your boat yes they associate  that noise as danger and their strike zone gets even smaller. A bass has been chased its whole life and it still reacts to danger. Sometimes they get closer to cover or in it and sometimes they take off to a deeper safe zone.

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Sometimes they suspend. Remember that Classic that KVD won. If you where watching he hit the same bridges that others caught fish off of. The other guys fished a dropshot. Well, as the fishing pressure got more and more throughout the day the fish moved up and suspended and KVD caught fish from the same bridges on a jerkbait that others where using a dropshot on. This happens everywhere not just the classic but on your home lake too.

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Great information Raul!!

I've just about finished reading John Weiss's

book, Advanced Bass Fishing.

A lot of what you have posted here is right on with what is in his book.

So please keep the info coming.

I'm soaking it up like a sponge!!!  

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Raul... Yes some of my contradictory resources were biologists.  My college profs (some years back) drilled into me to check research references... I respectfully assume you are of the same mind.  If some of your sources were available to me I'd like to read them... that is why I ask.  You have a good day.

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Great posts Raul,

 Everything you've mentioned is right in line with other things Ive read from my NAFC library.  And come to think of it, some of your comments are even more specific and educational.

 Excuse me while I return to your posts to read them again... Simply awesome.

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Wow Raul, THANK YOU! Very thoughtfull and well said.

To add to what Raul said. I read in a book that in a "controlled study"(take it for what you will) that bass had cups placed over there eyes and where placed in a tank of water. Minnows were added to the tank and sure enough the bass ate every single one using the lateral line and sound.

As for a lure creating a "fishy" sound, the rattle trap claims to recreate a bait fish almost exactly.

Do they really? I have no idea. I do know that they emit sound and look like a bait fish and seem to work pretty good. :-*

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I have Cajun red fishing line on one of my rods, but it's the one I use for fishing junk and lilly pads, so sight might not be an issue, BUT...if I'm using it in say 6 ft of water, do the fish see a glowing red laser beam being emitted by my jig or worm?

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Good stuff on Lateral lines

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[quote author=Low_Budget_Hookers link=1125601642/0#7 date=1125626059voltage electrical signals.

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The Biosonix emits a sound that supossedly attracts fish. With sharks the story is differen, they posses Lorenzini 's ampule, an organ used to detect electrical currents connected to the enviroment through numerous specialized pits in the skin where cells that can detect electrical currents, most of those pits are located in the head around the mouth area, the hammerhead shark is an extreme example of that system. Electric eels detect the deformation in the electrical field they generate through their very specialized lateral line.

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Are we trying to catch bass here or what?

It would certainly be not only good, but also proper to put resources when you cut and paste other's work.

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