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Mattlures

Bass do learn!!! they are smarter then you think Read this

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Keep in mind Dr. Keith Jones is talking about bass in an aquarium

Associative Learning- Dr. Jones writes, is proven by laboratory experiments

Habituation-Examples would include fish in an aquarium

Spatial-according to Dr. Jones, bass in the laboratory

How many people fish in an aquarium?  ;)

Proven scientific fact and accepted widely through the scientific community are those creatures in captivity do not act the same as creatures in the wild.

I do agree bass learn to move around their environments, recognize landmarks or objects and stake out home territories; I also believe bass recognize prey images.

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Catt I used to fish golf ponds alot and I could edjucate a pond in about 3-4 trips. For instance, I would hammer them on a buzzbait but each trip I would get less bites. However these fish still wanted topwater they just didnt want the buzzer anymore. I could get them on a poper or wakebait or jitterbug etc. Each time though the bait would fade and a different top water bait would shine. I have no doubt that these fish learned to assosiate something negative or at least that the bait was not real food. The reason this was so obvious was the small population of fish in the ponds. In a lake there are thousands, maybe even millions of bass so even though you may edgucate a small percentage of fish it would take a verry long time and many many anglers using the same bait to "teach" the fish. I do believe this happens when a hot bite is well known. It ususly lasts for a while but then it tappers off. The fish got conditioned. This is also why big fish are harder to catch. Yes there are less of them but I am sure at leastone  big fish has seen joe fishermans offering almost every time he goes out. those big fish have learned not to eat lures.

This is one reason why ultra realistic swimbaits produce big bass. When a bass eats a Hudd it belives its eating a trout. when a bass eats a crankbait or spinnerbait it sees an oportunuty and reacts. The more realistic the bait OR THE MORE natural (worms) the harder it is for a bass to recognize it as a negative thing. I firmly believe bass are not dumb. the biggest and oldest of everysingle animal species has learned to adapt and survive. They are smarter or more experianced then the younger ones. Bass are no different. small ones are stupid and make alot of mistakes. The big ones have learned from their mistakes and dont make them very often. Its survival of the fittest/smartest

I see this all the time in the ocean too. If a paddy gets hammered the other fish wont bite. you get a few passes and the fish see the ones getting caught and they wise up real quick. This is with live bait in the ocean!!!! Throw out a chovie not attched to a line and they eat it. There are millions of example af animals getting conditioned and becoming more conditioned as they get older. I think it is illogical to not recognize this

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There is no doubt bass will turn off on certain baits, I've fished too many years not to understand this. I've started of the morning throwing a bait only to have the bass stop hitting it but change retrieval speeds or colors and have the bass start hitting it again.

My point on Dr. Jones research is at what point do the bass in an aquarium quit being a wild creature and become a pet?

Dr. Jones's whole research data is based on bass not in a pond, creek, river, lake, or reservoir but an aquarium!

If I put a whitetail deer in a 5 acre plot and the only food it gets is from me and I observe the actions of that deer is this a viable observation of deer in the wild?

Direct quote from Dr. Jones

There are certainly trends on the bass tours that would seem to suggest that. For example, spinnerbaits once a dominant presentation for top pros seem a forgotten bait now. Small worms, swimbaits, frogs and other newer trends have replaced it.

1902: James Heddon receives his Fish-Bait patent for a floating wooden lure carved from a barrel bung, or plug

1915: The William J. Jamison Co. introduces the Shannon Twin Spinner, a gaudy lure of red feathers, white bucktail, and two blades attached to a wire weedguard. This is the forerunner of today's spinnerbaits.

1934: Fred Arbogast carves his first Jitterbug

1936: Lauri Rapala invents the Rapala lure. Rapala lures are now sold in 140 countries and are responsible for more world record fish than any other lure.

1949: Nick and Cosma Crème of Akron, Ohio, melt plastic on their kitchen stove, pour it into molds, and create the first modern soft-plastic worm- the Crème Wiggle Worm.

1967: Fred Young carved the first Big O fishing lure from a block of balsa wood; he created a legacy that has endured for decades. After 30 years, the Cotton Cordell Big O lure is still an active part of crankbait and fishing tackle history.

Don't sound like they learned to well ;)

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Great info but I fish for Bass in Lakes, not tanks. I know I would behave differently if I were in a cell, I don't see why another wild animal would be different.

Any data acquired would be useless, even misleading, for me, as I don't target domesticated fish.

ex: My Oscar will eat a piece of broccoli out of my hand, I wouldn't expect that to happen if I go to the Nile or Amazon where they are found naturally.

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I have single handedly put serious fishing pressure on several golf course ponds, it got to the point where my success would depend on if the lure was some offbeat thing they had never seen before.

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I think its valid to tank test the fishes' response.  I also agree with Catt and Russ that any somewhat intelligent fish can be acclimated and conditioned.  The problem is when you test one small aspect in the lab, and then apply one huge grand concept as an explanation for the results.  I like those tests Dr. Jones did with fishing line and counting the bumps.  That was cool.  They bumped into FC more than any other line.  What does it all mean?  LOL.

After my experience in raising and breeding over 120 species of cichlids, depending on the species, it usually takes only a couple of weeks to domesticate a wild caught fish.  There are exceptions, and some take months, but for the most part, in about two weeks they will be "begging" when you approach the tank - for farm raised or tank raised fish, this takes mere hours after being moved.

But the more important question to me is, how long does that conditioning last?  What I mean is, the fish had a negative experience with a bait, and probably won't bite it again for a while.  How long is "a while"?

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I have single handedly put serious fishing pressure on several golf course ponds, it got to the point where my success would depend on if the lure was some offbeat thing they had never seen before.

x1000

A few of the small couple acre ponds I fish had no obvious pressure at least for quite some time. When wefirst started fishingthem it really didn't matter what color,what speed,what size,or really what lure it was as long as the location and conditions were correct for the lure choices.In on lake in particular we could expect at minimum 20 fish on the worst of days and on good days at least 10 of the fifty or more fish we caught would be between 4-8 lbs. Now one year later after countless lure changes,size changes,weights,depths,retrieves,it is extremely uncommon to even catch one 3 pounder.If I could get into a school of 2 lb fish and catch 10 I would call it a very good day.There is no one else fishing this lake except a couple neighbors that mostly bobber fish for pans and catfish. These fish do not live in an aquarium,and they didn't just pack up and move somewhere else.

  In a place like that i think it is more than just seeing and hearing the lures.The sound of the boat,the motor,the fishfinder,any angler noise whatsoever or shadows,anchors etc. they will associate with danger. The place is so chock full of shad,tilapia,and bit size bluegills that the fish are no longer interested in moving things that look out of place scurrying along or swimming erratically.They just want the real thing and know it when the sense it.

I agree however that we cannot give the fish too much credit for being such an intelligent creature.They can put 2 and 2 together and their instincts tell them the best way to survive.

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I have fished the same golf course pond for the last two years. I have use the exact same bait every time. Brown worm with neon green tail. The last 5 times I fished there I caught 2 fish in 2 casts and left. I now think I should stop using the bait so I don't catch all the fish. I one time caught 11 bass in one hour there.

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Interesting read.  I think it was InFisherman that did a simular study or published an article simular to this.  It was pointed out that not all baits get "learned" by bass.  An example is a jig and pig, seems there is something about the profile that so closely resembles natural food that they hit it time after time anyway.  

Did anyone else read about this?

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i will go a step further.  i think bass are not only conditioned to avoid biting certain lures on occasion, but i think sometimes they can even be conditioned to avoid biting, or at least biting as well,  during certain highly pressured times and/or at certain highly pressured locations.  i've seen all of that.  

what happens in a week in a tank may take a month in a small pond.  it may take 2 months on a big pond.  might take 4 months on a small lake.  might take 8 months on a bigger lake.  might take so long on a reservoir that it is hardly perceptible when you factor in (a) there is so much more water, (B) most fishermen typically fish differently during different seasonal periods, © to some degree, the fish typically get a break during the winter months or "off season" on all but our southernmost waters so for lack of a better term, they "forget" their education.  

i'm not saying that i think fish are geniuses, but to me at least, it's pretty obvious they DO learn and become conditioned.  i could list example after example with not only bass, but other species as well on some of the waters i fish.  

make no mistake though, like matt, i believe that fish are much smarter than we give them credit for.  yes, by virtue of our vastly superior intelligence, we should be able to outsmart them and "figure them out" 100% of the time.  but we don't.  we forget that they have "home field advantage".  we have to enter their world and "beat them at their own game" so to speak and that's not always easy.

someone who assumes fish are completely stupid and cannot learn or be conditioned must be either: (a) right in their assumption and can catch fish at will, better than all or most other fisherman, because after all the fish are equally as stupid for all of us, (B) right in their assumption but to some degree ALWAYS outwitted by a pathetically stupid creature, casting doubt upon their own intelligence, or © wrong in their assumption that fish are completely stupid and cannot learn.  sorry, but these are the only possible scenarios i see.      

trust me y'all, there have been plenty of times when i've left the lake feeling like i was the stupid one.  ;)

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"So much individual variation in learning rates exists that at one time, Texas Parks & Wildlife explored the potential of developing a genetic race of dumb bass."

They could just transplant a bunch of the fish from LBH's lake. ;D

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According to Uncle Homer Circle in one of his publications, he saw larger bass go into structure and not move when they heard a trolling motor.

This occurred when he and Glen Lau were filming one of their videos about bass fishing.

If Uncle Homer says it, then that's the truth.  Period!  ;)

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So Catt, you are saying that the aquarium data is not at all useful because the fish have learned about their environment and become conditioned to it? ;)

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To say the results are useless because it happened in an aqurium is absurd. Yes some of thier habbits will change but they dont become smart because they were put in a cage. They learned to aviod certain baits. That is the point. in this one fact the aqarium is irrelevant.

The fact that the bass learned to aviod those baits proves that bass learn. But this should have never been in doubt. its obvious. Every single animal learns to aviod danger or it dies and becomes extinct. bass are no different. If you choose to not except this then you are underestimating your openent and that just hurts you.

As for worms still working after years in a pond that is very explainable. A worm is so simple and natural it has very little negative ques. Try fishing that same worm using 50lb flourescent mono. The fish will learn to aviod that line. the more natural and realistic a bait is the harder it is for them to learn. If a bass has spent years eating dragon flies and make a fly that looks just like one, it would have a hard time learning to aviod that fly. However fish dont spend their whole lives eating crankbaits and spinner baits and buzzers ets. This becomes very obvious in small invironments like ponds. In a lake there are so many fish and they are continously reproducing that the fact that they are learning to aviod certain baits might only affect your fishing by a bite or 2 a day. However using an ultra realistic or new or different bait could result in extra and possibly bigger bites

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I believe Large bass do get conditioned to lures.  Dotti that 25lb bass the guy in CA foul hooked she was only caught 3 times in like 2 years.  If they didnt get conditioned i think she would have been cuaght more then 3 times.  I think this is really only for the larger bass as if they didnt have the smarts that the others dont they wouldnt get that big.  I mean a bass to reach 25 lbs has got to no when to say no to a lure

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Dottie was caught 3 times in 5 or 6 years and never because she ate a lure. She was only caught while spawning. She was way to smart to eat a lure. There are many big fish out here that we see but cant catch. They are known fish. they have learned to aviod us and ignore our offerings

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I'm saying a chicken can learn to play a piano does that make them smart?

If bass could learn lures to the point where they refused to strike them, then it would make perfect sense that sooner or latter they would never hit a lure again period?

This is the next part of the learning process isn't it?

But yet this never happens why?

Animals in captivity can be trained to do many things; Dr. Jones's use of captive bass meant he controlled all aspects of their conditioning leaving the bass little freedom. The bass had no choice between live bait or fake lures, no cover to hide in, no impact from weather conditions, just a choice of the lures offered.

That my friends are not natural responses but forced responses ;)

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nearly 19 years ago, after my wife and i were married, i discovered our landlord had a pond behind his house.  i asked him if i could stock it and he readily agreed.  so i put a bunch of bluegill in there along with some bass.  every once in a while, i would go back there to check on their progress.  one of the bass i put in there just seemed naturally curious.  he would swim right up to me every time i came to the pond.  so i decided to see what bass could "learn".  i started trying to feed this fish.  at first the fish was very cautious.  every once in a while, i would throw worms out to it when i had some left over from a bluegill or catfish outing.  at first it was very cautious.  it would look at the worm wiggling on the bottom, then at me.  back and forth like that for quite a while.  it was almost like, "man, this sure does seem weird, but that worm looks really good."  eventually it couldn't resist and went over and sucked up the worm.  the next time it ate the worm more readily, having had a positive experience the first time.  the next time, even more so.  and so it went.  it was quite obvious that this fish quickly learned to "trust" me and associated my presence with a positive feeding experience.  of course the fish quickly became a "pet" and before long it would be right there waiting on me in our usual spot when i came to the pond.  within a a few weeks, the fish would take a worm right out of my hand.  eventually i could even get it to come up out of the water and get a worm, bluegill, or whatever i had in my hand.  of course living the "easy life" quickly made this fish the fattest, healthiest one in the pond.  

one day i decided to catch my "pet" just to see how big it had gotten.  of course it was like taking candy from a baby, and i even felt a little guilty doing it.  i admired how this fish had grown for a few minutes and then put her back.

after that she was a totally different fish.  her "attitude" was extremely different towards me and it was quite obvious from her body language.   she would not eat out of my hand anymore.  eventually i could get her to eat the worms i would throw in to her, but it was like starting all over from square one.  just as the fish had learned to "trust" me, it learned to "distrust" me and associate my presence with danger.  this was the key difference though, and don't miss this point.  it took weeks for this fish to eat out of my hand, i.e. to "learn" through positive experience.  but it only took one incident to "learn" through a negative experience and abandon this behavior.  

i could give other examples, both my own and other folks.  i've seen catfish gobble up pieces of hot dog or liver thrown out to them but completely ignore the pieces thrown out attached to a hook and line, and even completely vacate the area as soon as a hook and line enters the water, even though it's attached to the same food they were just gorging themselves on.

it's pretty obvious to me from observing fish behavior over time in one of the clear lakes i fish that there even seems to be distinct "personality types" among a given population of fish.  some aggressive, some cautious, some curious, some smarter, some dumber.

like matt said originally, they are much "smarter" than we realize sometimes.  don't try to tell me they can't learn.

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But yet this never happens why?

You answered your own question

Dr. Jones's use of captive bass meant he controlled all aspects of their conditioning leaving the bass little freedom

In an environment as large as even a small pond, you could never pressure every single fish hard enough to make them completely stop striking.

But you most certainly CAN turn them off to certain lures to a degree that you are less likely to get bit than you were the first time they saw it.

You ever shot a turkey as soon as they come down from their roost? Bet you the rest of the flock won't pick that spot to land tomorrow.

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once caught the same 8# bass (markings) off the same point on the same lake on the same bait (frog subwart) 3 straight saturdays in a row.

bass are kinda like people.

some got the smarts.

some don't.

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I think most of mine are the dumb ones, but the others ain't too smart!

Maybe the California brontosaurus are different, but for the

rest of the planet, if it swims it eats. To catch the World Record,

maybe all of the planets have to be in alignment, but a double

digit or the biggest fish in your water only requires a bait in front

of its nose!

In some Kali lakes they may load-in enough stockers that the fat girls

may, literally, never move. Catching those fish would be a challenge.

They seem closely related to aquarium fish. Wild bass are easier to

fool.

8-)

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I think most of mine are the dumb ones, but the others ain't too smart!

Maybe the California brontosaurus are different, but for the

rest of the planet, if it swims it eats. To catch the World Record,

maybe all of the planets have to be in alignment, but a double

digit or the biggest fish in your water only requires a bait in front

of its nose!

In some Kali lakes they may load-in enough stockers that the fat girls

may, literally, never move. Catching those fish would be a challenge.

They seem closely related to aquarium fish. Wild bass are easier to

fool.

8-)

<------

"Scratches head and ponders: Do I really want to get banned tonight?"

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I bet certain "age group" bass learn to avoid a lot of baits. The reason all the fish in a large body of water do not learn all of them is for one they can't teach each other, the body of water is so large that an individual bass may not have had contact enough with a lure to learn it and finally when you start catching a lot of 2 to 4 lb bass on a lure that went cold for a while I bet it's just the next age group coming up and they haven't learned the bait like their older cousins

 Every lake in the US is not as Big as Toledo, or Fork and a lot of lakes do not have shad in the north and a lot of the lakes I fish ( 1000 acres or less) have bass showing way different behaviors than you big /warm lake guys see in those fish down there.

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