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View Full Version : Some baits are far better than others most times of year



Spoonminnow
03-21-2016, 08:51 AM
A friend came over to my house to see how I make my soft plastic lures and stated, "fish remember certain lures and won't bite them after getting caught". That's like saying fish store information in memory for future reference and that they can also avoid hitting certain baits based on a negative experience either they had or a nearby fish had.

The last statement is easy to disprove. Ever caught fish after fish in a school? I'll let you draw your own conclusion.

When fish don't seem to be biting a certain lure design, IMO it's for reasons other than "having been caught". The most important one is a lure's actual design. Not all grubs sold are equal in catching fish all of the time, which is applicable to any lure design, the reasons being:

1. fish can be picky when it comes to a lure's retrieve speed. Some lures must be retrieved at a certain speed to get the most action out of them. Two obvious examples are the Beetle Spin and the curl tail grub. Too slow and nothing happens except an unwanted drop into deeper water; too fast and fish may not respond.

(Note: this is my personal theory why fish bite lures).
2. Fish strike lures for one reason IMO: IRRITATION. Here's an analogy:
A flying insect is buzzing around your face at night, species of bug unknown. The more the bug touches your skin, the more angry you get and pretty soon you're slapping yourself silly trying to kill it. :bash

A fish doesn't know what that lure represents but it feels and/or sees it very clearly. The lure entered its personal space, stayed in it for a brief moment and then left. How long that moment is the key in catching that fish. Granted, certain times of year pretty much many lure types in different sizes can a catch fish of any species, but after the spawn of all fish is over, fish are no longer as active on a daily basis - they suspend anywhere in the water column.

You may say that the reason a fish struck your lure was because it was actively feeding like in the case when surface activity is seen. Unless I have a scuba diver observing fish in an area that I caught fish in, I won't ever assume fish are active.

So when it comes to fish in a neutral state - meaning that unless something irritates it into striking (real or artificial), it just hangs out until it does become active. This is where lure design is important: assuming fish are inactive, the slowest retrieve is many times the best retrieve. The reason the word finesse is applied to many baits is because of a lure's subtle action at the slowest possible retrieve even at dead stop. The longer a lure is in the zone, the more irritated the fish becomes and begins the attack sequence: follow, tracks, attacks and what's more - strikes again more violently on the second cast if a hook up was missed. It happens far more than anyone realizes!

What lures fall into the category of finesse action at the slowest speed? Hair, feather or Mylar fiber jigs, straight tail grubs, grub bodies minus the action tail, small straight and thin soft plastics (mini sticks), straight thin double tails. Any of these always have some kind of action whether retrieved on under a float bobbing on a rippled surface or jigged in place. More important, they stay put long enough to provoke fish aggression (same as that insect provokes you flying too close, repeatedly).

Some finesse lure designs are better than others for fish that need the most subtle action possible at the slowest possible presentation. I found this out in cold water a few days after Xmas last year when the surface temp on my sonar read 40 degrees. Was the strike less detectable? No - it was as detectable as in 70 degree water. Was a slow retrieve speed to the same spots important ? Most definitely! (At first you don't succeed, try, try again.)

Along with lure design is overall lure weight and size. In the above example, 1/16 oz ball head jig weight was a bit to heavy to maintain the same depth at the slowest practical retrieve, so I switched to a 1/32 and got more strikes and more hook sets. Most times, 1/16 does fine and allows longer casts to cover more water or to reach that surface ring made my a fish. I always have two rods rigged with those two jig weights. Lure length was downsized from 2" to 1 1/2". I've found that fishing in water above 60 degrees never needs downsizing.

Retrieve technique is a big part of presentation - pauses mixed with fast, 1/4 turns of the reel handle and rod motions that slowly pull the lure towards you.

Right lure speed, right lure action, right presentation = fish caught.

Concept fishing means abiding by certain rules that over time results in more fish caught. Live bait is nice, but less water is covered; lures that cover more water the right way gets seen by far more fish that may respond to an object that, simply stated, irritates then into striking.

Location, location, location.

glasseyes
03-21-2016, 10:20 AM
your saying a fish bites for one reason only, irritation. Sorry I don't go along with that at all.

slackline
03-21-2016, 12:33 PM
I will say that I think fish bite for multiple reasons. I have a 3 acre pond at my house and can usually catch the same fish, bass, several times a year on the same bait. I know it's the same fish because I put her in as brood stock and she is the only one that big.

smashdn
03-21-2016, 02:32 PM
Either the fish is hungry or it is a reaction bite.

Shad don't eat minnows, they eat plankton and stuff right, but I can get them to hit a rooster tail if I rip it through there at a pretty good clip. It is just a reaction to hit it.

Ketchn
03-21-2016, 04:29 PM
some fish actually have memories for sure ,Tom Mann did studies on that before most people ever thought it was so ....
the bass I tested seem to have about a 1 month memory .....if you fish a very controlled environment you will notice the same thing ...
in his article he states that carp have the best memory at about one year ....
and it went on to say some fish were smarter than others and some were dumber than others within the species ....
that I didn't study , but the memory thing exists

Spoonminnow
03-21-2016, 08:54 PM
Either the fish is hungry or it is a reaction bite.

Does it strike your lure because it believes it to be food? Anything is possible, but I know from observing fish in my pond that when I placed a lure near them and moved it slightly, eventually one bit it, was caught and more did also regardless of the fact that they just saw their buddy caught and released. I say I saw this because on that day the sun was bright, the water was semi-clear in 4' and the fish were just mulling around with nothing to do. Also, how many fish of different species that bit your lure had signs it was caught before?

The ol reaction bite we've heard repeated for decades. Reaction by definition means - a response to some stimulus among other definitions. When a fish chases a fast moving lure, it 1. knew it was coming and 2. was in a state of activity heightened by the stimulus of the lure's vibration. The reason fish react to lures and live bait is basic: both stimulate a fish to bite or better expressed - provoke a fish to strike regardless of physical state. Going one further, fish don't have to be hungry to hit prey especially when it's stomach is full and the same goes for lures. The expression reaction bite was made up by someone trying to sell something (book, merchandise, a name), knowing most anglers would not question the expertise of someone famous and further test the idea of a reaction bite which basically they define as a fish not being to help itself when a lure suddenly enters its strike zone. Some maybe, but the majority not so much.

Granted, fast moving lures have caught fish but usually only bigger species such as bass and pike willing to travel further to smash a fast moving object. But crappie and other panfish? Not likely. The speed of retrieve is generally slow most of the time which sets those fish apart when it comes to the top speed they will strike a lure. Even bass are usually not too keen on striking a fast moving lure much of the time, which is way slow presentations with finesse lures are now a big part of tournament fishing. Why? Read the initial post and plug in the reasons fish bite lures:

Right lure speed, right lure action, right presentation provoke fish to strike. Get any of those wrong and you may as well use live bait, tie your line directly to your big toe and take a snooze. Except, you have to be in the right area which the above factors will indicate after strictly observing them.

I don't need to argue the claims of Bill Dance or pro anglers I truly respect such as Denny Brauer and Kevin Van Dam because I have tested my theory over and over for all species and know that many came to the same conclusions long before I did. Even Doug Hannon touched on why fish bite and demonstrated his reasons with excellent underwater video. I still have a Homer Circle/ Glen Lau series why fish bite, with the same great underwater shots of fish striking various lures. Over and over the great majority of large fish took their time observing a lure - until their patience ran out. Test a fish's patience and see what happens. The rest is speculation that can not be proven and in fact may not improve one's catch while conceptually trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Believe it or not: one lure of the right size and action retrieved at the right speed can catch most fish species most times of year for the reasons stated in the first post and I've proven it to every angler I've ever fished with.

INTIMIDATOR
03-21-2016, 09:21 PM
I fish swimbaits from 40 degrees in the Late Winter/Spring until 40 degrees in the Fall/Early Winter..I don't ice fish.
My freezer is already full of Walleye and I'm working on filling my other with Crappie...they are all gorging for the spawns...they are not irritated, just hungry! They hit a swimbait because they are trying to eat it.
The do react to a lure, bait, etc...they determine if it is an easy meal. They are wary, and will use the least amount of energy possible. Read about triggers, you are triggering the IMPULSE TO FEED!

Spoonminnow
03-21-2016, 09:25 PM
No comment.

Yaker
03-21-2016, 10:15 PM
All this is pretty interesting,but I'm not really convinced we can conclude much of what goes on in a fish brain.Lets talk trout for a moment ( they are a fish )so all this should apply.Anyone who has fished trout expecialy in mountain streams,has more than a few times threw everything but the kitchen sink,to no avail.I myself have watched an assortment of lures and baits literally bounce off the noses of wild trout over and over with nary a nibble.
If the irritating gnat therory were true,those trout would have had no choice but to bite,we sure irritated them.Our party of 8 couldn't force a bite despite our efforts,a few weeks later we went back to the same water and limited out,go figure? My conclusion,if they don't want to bite,they wont,if they do,they will,I enjoy it either way

Spoonminnow
03-22-2016, 08:04 AM
Agree - sometimes the ability to ratchet up a fish's sensitivity is near impossible even using live bait. It could be that the fish that hit my lure was surrounded by those inactive fish in suspended animation. (pardon the pun). Stream fish may differ than lake fish in that a stream's velocity moves a bait at a speed that won't allow the super slow presentation I mentioned - one that is essential at times in cold water or after a front. Lake trout may be more susceptible to the technique, but not having caught any lake trout other than stockies, I wouldn't know but would like to find out.

But your post reminded me of something regarding lure choice and the reasons for casting them. When a white curly tail grub, Rapala (original floating) or swimbait catches fish, one would say, 'it must be because fish were feeding on shad or some other bait fish'. But if only one of those lures that supposedly simulates a fish works, than it comes down to the lure and the presentation unique to each as the only other variable to consider.

I've fished side by side with anglers that were casting grubs or other lures they had success with in the past and blew them away with my own creation. We switched rods and I did not do as well using their choice of lure, but they did much better using mine, along with the presentation that brought out the best fish-catching quality of the lure I showed them how to use. I think many of us have had that experience and it should make someone pause any wonder why. Unfortunately most don't.

Cane Pole
03-22-2016, 08:11 AM
Fish in my area like McDonalds. I accommodate them with minnow burgers.

NIMROD
03-22-2016, 08:44 AM
My opinon is baits with little action like tube jigs work best most times because fish don't get lure shy as bad . I've seen times where too much action actually hurt . There have been studies with Bass where lakes were total catch and release and over time catch rates continued to fall . Then sampling confirmed fish were still there but had gotten lure shy . Some say fish don't have memory over a few minutes but who really knows . I've caught Crappie on some lakes with tremenous fishing pressure that had more than one hook or torn spots in their lips .

Tony the Tiger
03-22-2016, 08:45 AM
I don't if or how much a fish remembers but the fish in my pond know that foot steps means food

INTIMIDATOR
03-22-2016, 09:21 AM
I don't if or how much a fish remembers but the fish in my pond know that foot steps means food

Exactly...stupid, brainless fish....they sure have a good memory when it's time for the fish feeder to turn on and shoot food to them...it amazes me that stupid fish could learn something like that.
Heck, if they can learn when the dinner bell rings, what else is possible???:):):)lol

river scum
03-22-2016, 09:25 AM
you got it tony. anyone ever around fed ponds can attest to that.

i remember that manns study. it was rattle traps in a couple ponds, if i remember rite. showed that they remembered the loud baits even more than subtle baits.

what we really need to know is how they reason.

RCC
03-22-2016, 10:02 AM
I don't have a clue what the fish think or do. You can check my cooler and verify that:biggrin

lowe175
03-22-2016, 12:14 PM
Fish have a great memory. Ever noticed that a new bait or color will catch the heck out of fish the first year. Next year it's just like everything else.

Royalwapiti
03-22-2016, 12:30 PM
I fish swimbaits from 40 degrees in the Late Winter/Spring until 40 degrees in the Fall/Early Winter..I don't ice fish.
My freezer is already full of Walleye and I'm working on filling my other with Crappie...they are all gorging for the spawns...they are not irritated, just hungry! They hit a swimbait because they are trying to eat it.
The do react to a lure, bait, etc...they determine if it is an easy meal. They are wary, and will use the least amount of energy possible. Read about triggers, you are triggering the IMPULSE TO FEED!

Don't mean to hijack the thread but am wondering what are your two favorite swimbaits for crappies?

INTIMIDATOR
03-22-2016, 01:14 PM
Don't mean to hijack the thread but am wondering what are your two favorite swimbaits for crappies?

Pm sent.

CrappiePappy
03-22-2016, 03:56 PM
Foot steps and "feeders" turning on have one thing in common ... vibrations that can be felt by the fish. Even fish in the tanks/ponds at hatcheries "remember" that splashes on the surface mean "food is served". But, I believe that once put back into the wild ... and not having those triggers on a routine basis ... the fish will eventually "forget" and instinctively go back to their "opportunistic" ways of feeding.

... cp :kewl

INTIMIDATOR
03-22-2016, 04:29 PM
Foot steps and "feeders" turning on have one thing in common ... vibrations that can be felt by the fish. Even fish in the tanks/ponds at hatcheries "remember" that splashes on the surface mean "food is served". But, I believe that once put back into the wild ... and not having those triggers on a routine basis ... the fish will eventually "forget" and instinctively go back to their "opportunistic" ways of feeding.

... cp :kewl

Hee Hee...they can't "forget"...remember, their brain is so small, it only provides for bodily functions.
So a dumb fish "learns" out of nowhere, that a "certain" vibration means food pellets (not a natural food), will be spun out at a given time? AND, they remember that??....Dang, that's just like a dumb dog, or cow with a dinner bell?:);)...So, we have trained brainless fish to come to the dinner table for pellets with a special vibration or Footsteps! Maybe we can irritate a fish into biting for the heck of it!;);):)
They go back to "Instinctive" feeding because they are programmed by their DNA, to EAT AND SURVIVE!

High Tide
03-22-2016, 04:53 PM
Definitely more pieces to the puzzle than irritating a fish, and if you bring flying fishing into the conversation, it would really disprove your theory. For the sake of conversation we can keep it a crappie. First, they're known to want to see the bait if possible over smell or feel. However, they're also sensitive to light, so sometimes even when they want to feed they can't because they simply can't see it (especially in clearer lakes). If the fish is accustomed to muddy water, they grow up relying on feel and smell. I'm not going into all this, but once you start going to this path and throwing in barametric pressure, oxygen levels and seasonal hatches... It's just so much more than memory and irritation IMO.

lowe175
03-22-2016, 05:01 PM
2 what high tide said.

CrappiePappy
03-22-2016, 05:27 PM
Hee Hee...they can't "forget"...remember, their brain is so small, it only provides for bodily functions.
So a dumb fish "learns" out of nowhere, that a "certain" vibration means food pellets (not a natural food), will be spun out at a given time? AND, they remember that??....Dang, that's just like a dumb dog, or cow with a dinner bell?:);)...So, we have trained brainless fish to come to the dinner table for pellets with a special vibration or Footsteps! Maybe we can irritate a fish into biting for the heck of it!;);):)
They go back to "Instinctive" feeding because they are programmed by their DNA, to EAT AND SURVIVE!

Yep ... and "bodily functions" include eating, plus the "fight/flight" response.
Fish aren't "dumb" ... just not as "intelligent" as we give them credit for.
Fish are born with "instincts" (like eat & survive, swim away from bigger critters) so saying they "learn/retain" anything or "remember" anything (over an extended period) is crediting them with a greater capacity than is likely plausible.

Food pellets are not a LIVE "natural food" ... but, hatchery raised fish are never given (live) "natural food". The food pellets are dried components of the fish's "natural food". If they weren't able to instinctively go to eating their "natural food", once released into the wild, they'd soon starve to death !!

And yes, I do maintain that footstep & feeder vibrations (& "food" splashing on the surface) can trigger a feeding response ... as long as it's maintained on a continuing basis. Turn the feeder off, or stop walking down to the pond and throwing food into the water ... and eventually they will "forget" the association and go back to their natural instinctive behavior of feeding.

I put quotation marks around the words forget & learn ... to associate the meaning of the words to humans, not the fish. They run on instinct (DNA programming, as you put it).

And as far as "irritating" a fish into biting a specific "bait" vs the sight/vibration pattern of that bait "triggering" a feeding reaction .... IMHO that's splitting hairs, or the "6 of one and half a dozen of the other" ideology. I don't know for sure, and doubt you do either :Rofl

... cp :kewl

Cane Pole
03-22-2016, 06:26 PM
Some fish are sapiens and go to school. Some are ignorant and get caught.

INTIMIDATOR
03-22-2016, 06:37 PM
Yep ... and "bodily functions" include eating, plus the "fight/flight" response.
Fish aren't "dumb" ... just not as "intelligent" as we give them credit for.
Fish are born with "instincts" (like eat & survive, swim away from bigger critters) so saying they "learn/retain" anything or "remember" anything (over an extended period) is crediting them with a greater capacity than is likely plausible.

Food pellets are not a LIVE "natural food" ... but, hatchery raised fish are never given (live) "natural food". The food pellets are dried components of the fish's "natural food". If they weren't able to instinctively go to eating their "natural food", once released into the wild, they'd soon starve to death !!

And yes, I do maintain that footstep & feeder vibrations (& "food" splashing on the surface) can trigger a feeding response ... as long as it's maintained on a continuing basis. Turn the feeder off, or stop walking down to the pond and throwing food into the water ... and eventually they will "forget" the association and go back to their natural instinctive behavior of feeding.

I put quotation marks around the words forget & learn ... to associate the meaning of the words to humans, not the fish. They run on instinct (DNA programming, as you put it).

And as far as "irritating" a fish into biting a specific "bait" vs the sight/vibration pattern of that bait "triggering" a feeding reaction .... IMHO that's splitting hairs, or the "6 of one and half a dozen of the other" ideology. I don't know for sure, and doubt you do either :Rofl

... cp :kewl

Memory retention for them IS finite...they can correspond pain to a color, certain shape, etc....but you are correct, it is not long term. That is the reason for some fish being "lure shy" for a season or two, and then the lure or color working again later.

For those interested...Pellet fish food is like any other pet food....there are good products and bad....some food contains things a fish would never eat, because they try to amend the food with CHEAPER different sources of vitamins, minerals, and fillers...but their are a few very good ones that mimic a predator fishes natural diet.

Aquarium fish react like "pellet lake or pond fish" or a dog at feeding time also....I have 3 large tanks, and all of my fish follow me when I walk by and grab their food...they will all group up and follow you back and forth...they are also very "polite" to each other when the food is introduced.

Hatchery fish here are fed live food, so they are ready to go when released...the outdoor tanks are set up to grow zoo-plankton, and other little critters for fry...Minnows/baitfish are raised to feed fingerlings and larger hatchlings.

During the time after the spawn, when Males fish are guarding the nests, they will kill or chase off intruders..."most" times they will not feed on the intruder. This is NORMALLY the only time they will kill and not eat. White Bass follow schools of baitfish and kill and kill, then go back to feed on the dead, dying, and wounded! At our home lake, you will find the largest Walleye and Crappie swimming at the very bottom of these slaughter-fests!

Spoonminnow
03-22-2016, 08:07 PM
My opinon is baits with little action like tube jigs work best most times because fish don't get lure shy as bad . I've seen times where too much action actually hurt . (Nimrod)
That's what I've been trying to convey and that's why straight tails that barely quiver much of the time have the advantage over baits with more action and speed. It's not what fish think the lure is but what it's senses reveal. Putting it in a natural light, most aquatic life forms glide through the water - especially fish. Flutter is a key motion. No flash, no noise, no rattles - just a quiet flutter.

Remember, I'm talking about crappie and other pan fish; bass and larger fish species in general have their own set of lures and presentations that trigger strikes - finesse being one of them.

Creature baits came out ten years ago starting with lures like the Sweet Beaver and Brush Hog. I looked up the definition of creature : it can be an animal of any type or indeterminate. Fish IMO see our lures as creatures and possibly feeding opportunities (we'll never know), but beyond that as long as the lure gets and hold their attention long enough to provoke them (like a bull charging a cape after being taunted), I want that lure at the end of my line. I want lures that taunt them into striking and lures that stay in the area longer usually have more success of doing that.

BTW
Every time I pulled by trailered boat along side the shore of my neighbor's pond, at least four or five bass would come out of the weeds waiting for me to throw pan fish to them. But it had to be around 5-6 pm! Not sooner, not later. Most fish of all species in his pond were still susceptible to lures and most had been caught more than a few times using the same lures.

RCC
03-22-2016, 11:27 PM
I know a local fellow that "invented" some kind of a spoon/jig for bass that he said stimulated the bite. The day I saw him on the lake in the hot summer, he was flat wearing some bass out. He also showed me video later on that day. He would not let me see what he was using. He was trying to patent. He said he figured it out while raising the Florida strain of bass and he clipped minnow fins until he found the "magic" movement to trigger the bite, then he duplicated it with an artificial.

Cane Pole
03-23-2016, 08:32 AM
I have caught fish on a dried minnow on a hook for a previous outing. The minner was petrified. Musta been the smell.

Billbob
03-23-2016, 08:51 AM
is Moose 1 am back ?

INTIMIDATOR
03-23-2016, 10:18 AM
I have caught fish on a dried minnow on a hook for a previous outing. The minner was petrified. Musta been the smell.

Spoon is right though, there are times when ANYTHING will catch Crappie!

During the pre-spawn and spawn in Our area, all of our so called "professional" fishermen show up to catch their limits on every "miracle" bait possible. You never see them catch fish at any other time, and most never fish again!
After having to listen to the Perfect Baits conversation for hours, I picked up a torn piece of a hook bag, with the paper insert, I put it on my jighead with a crappie Nibblet and without and out fished all the "Miracle" Baits!
Plenty of shocked "Professionals" that day!:)

It had to be the flutter of the wet paper!

Cane Pole
03-23-2016, 12:55 PM
I have caught crappie on yellow kernel corn. I don't blame the crappie from wanting corn for a snack. I kinda like it myself.

I fish year round. I don't put a lot of effort in fishing anymore. I ain't got a lot of effort left.

Ketchn
03-23-2016, 04:40 PM
today was the day it didn't matter for me ....I used a black jig and a chart jig and an orange jig and some other things as well ...
they bit them equally in my opinion .....so no bait was better than anything else IMHO ....
bites were every cast on every bait I tossed ....