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#11992993 - 12/19/16 09:25 AM some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish
SenkoSam Online   content

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 157
Loc: New York
When I think of the many lure designs that have caught different fish species, I can't but help think that strictly biological factors, unrelated to feeding, caused fish to detect and then strike in a flash, minus any thought comparisons to any prey animal.
All animals evolved with anatomical advantages in order to survive in the wild depending on the environment. Both cats and dogs have night vision, a keen sense of odor detection, speed, excellent hearing and brains that can think and that are capable of memory retention.

Fish on the other hand have senses that are strictly tuned to underwater factors in unique ways. Lateral line and inner ear vibration detection compare to that of senses animals use on land for hunting and protection. For fish, vibration detection and a unique vision, contribute to forming a 3D image and that detects the physical properties of objects such as size, shape, motion, speed, and distance.

The tiny brain of a fish is not evolved yet is programmed to react reflexively and therefore at times involuntarily, to strike objects that touch a nerve. The proof of this is when fish bite objects they have no clue aren't food but plastic and steel (hooks). This indicates that a fishing lure simply stimulates the senses in certain ways that provoke a fish to attack.

Similar looking and acting lures may not get the same response nor the same lure used by two different anglers catch the same number of fish. What is referred to as angler presentation can make all the difference when it comes to provoking fish to attack specific lures - especially those lures that stay in the strike zone longest.

Many of us assume lures must possess the following to get a fish to bite:
1. a round shape? (I've proven that a soft plastic grub with four flat sides works as well as one with a curved body)
2. solid body? (hair or feathered jigs do well and the only thing solid about them is the jig head hook they're tied to)
3. natural color? (fluorescent colors may do as well along with bright flashy lures (blades) lacking any color)
add to this:
4. Unnatural noises, especially made by surface lures or rattles within plastic lures which may or may not contribute to strikes

What the above indicates is that lures most likely do not and need not imitate anything in nature to get attacked.

Most lures look and move unnaturally and still get bit all year round. Because of years of exposure to the media, anglers want to believe fish think lures are one prey animal or another. But looking at it another way, good lures in reality have characteristics (coupled with angler input) that force fish to react, even when fish are quietly suspending and minding their own business.

I make soft plastic lures of my own design (no, I don't sell them) that I've found can catch seven fish species on the same day. Each of five designs has unique qualities that seem to be the reason for their success and this applies to many lures you've used that seem to outperform other similar lures. For example, crankbaits aren't all the same and some work better different times of year, some very rarely. Soft sticks that imitate Senkos usually fall short, though some are as good in their own way. Sassy Shad grubs I've found don't do as well as other designs though they have their moments.

Observe a lure that does well as compared to another in the same category and note how it swims, waddles, shimmies, flaps, quivers, vibrates or any number of many lure motions that make that lure design excel. Of the five grub designs I mentioned, one waddles (like a Zara Spook); another has a slight tail shimmy even when held still; one darts back and forth. These are examples of why I thing fish are apt to bite them over any other grubs I've bought in the past - including Twister tails. I'm not claiming other lures aren't as successful as those I make, but that not all grubs are equal just as not all crankbaits are equal.

Something to note next time you've done well on a specific lure on multiple outings. Those are the lures worth keeping on hand.

Edited by SenkoSam (12/19/16 09:40 AM)

#11993159 - 12/19/16 10:51 AM Re: some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish [Re: SenkoSam]
Banker Fisherman Offline

Registered: 10/11/16
Posts: 324
Loc: Sherman, TX
Very nice write up and detail about lure design...I also like to think there is a sense or excitement or a stigma around the process of lures. There is just something fun about picking and finding a lure/bait, trying it out and seeing what results you get. Once you find that bait that works great, there is just some sense of accomplishment...Not saying everyone is like this, but I have seen guys that love having every style, color, type of bait/lure...cause you just never know which one will get the next bite shocked

#11993427 - 12/19/16 01:40 PM Re: some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish [Re: SenkoSam]
SenkoSam Online   content

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 157
Loc: New York
Thanks. The thing about making lures that differ from the thousands massed produced for sale is that as you said, there is a 'sense of accomplishment' when a design proves itself beyond expectations. Plus, when I can't fish - like now with the temperatures in the 20's - I can putter in the basement, passing the time until I can launch the boat next year.

Not sure what you meant about the stigma around the process of lures, but I have experienced the closed mindedness of some resistant to anything except the belief that fish identify lures as a prey animal even if that animal is rarely if ever eaten.
The first plastic worm I ever caught bass with was a Texas rigged 6" Mr Twister plastic worm - purple with fire tail. It didn't occur to me that the bass caught should have figured it out: no worm on this earth has a fluttering pink tail or translucent purple body.

I watched the Senko drop next to me after I caught my first bass on one and noted the fast tip wobble on the way down. I figured the design consisted of salt in soft plastic as the main reason, along with the slim body and tapered tips. I bought a mold and produced a reasonable facsimile that does as well at a considerably lower price than $.70 a worm/stick.

What a waste of money spent buying all types of lures in many colors. I should have enough to open a tackle shop, most of which will be around unused long after I die, though I keep promising myself to use them next year. Probably won't because I love catching numbers of fish, covering water with lures that have proven themselves year after year. Those are the kinds of lures everyone should want to cast and know their limitations, if any, and versatility.

I always carry my grubs and a supply of jig heads in different sizes, skirted jigs with different trailer designs, swimbaits I pour myself and other lures I rarely use just in case....

#11994398 - 12/20/16 02:18 AM Re: some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish [Re: SenkoSam]
Tony from Oak Point Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/23/05
Posts: 2175
Loc: DFW, Texas
Some good points. Thanks for sharing your ideas and experience. I recall a prior post where you shared some pics of your custom plastic and they looked effective. It's cool that you take more of a scientific perspective and evaluate what actually works.

One thing about Texas though is that it never gets too cold to catch crappie. If it is 20 degrees that is the BEST time to catch crappie as this is when the shad start to go into a death spiral and the crappie concentrate and pig out. However it does get too hot (for me) and that heat makes it easier to make hand poured baits :-).

#11994523 - 12/20/16 07:33 AM Re: some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish [Re: SenkoSam]
SenkoSam Online   content

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 157
Loc: New York
Know what you mean about the heat! Was stationed in Wichita Falls for four years and it got so hot, windshields cracked if the windows were shut tight. Call me nuts, but I fished even when the temp was near 90 (like now in summer) and was amazed at the fish I still caught in water at least 85 degrees.

Course I wasn't too thrilled to see water moccasin swimming about but was blown away catching a 3' alligator gar in winter - neither of which exist in the north!

The scientific method has served me well when it comes to discovering what fish bite. The why they bite will always be controversial, but no one can argue results and those that have fished with me found that out in one outing. One friend even started making his own lures after I showed him how to make the different designs we caught fish on.

Love crappie when schooled. 100 are just too easy to catch!

Edited by SenkoSam (12/20/16 08:01 AM)

#11995877 - 12/20/16 08:42 PM Re: some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish [Re: SenkoSam]
SenkoSam Online   content

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 157
Loc: New York
Another thought occurred to me about why fish strike lures when not actively feeding (which I believe is maybe only 1% of the time).

I compare a fish hanging out in weeds or near other fish holding areas to a coiled snake. The snake won't strike unless something gets too close to provoke it. In the same sense a fish is also like a spring (coil), that when provoked, strikes out uncontrollably because its in its nature to do so. I'm referring mostly to sedentary fish, not those swimming around with other fish (though swimming fish will at times take notice and then also track and attack).

At the same time, aggression is contagious. Turn one fish on and others soon want to join the fun, none of which were feeding just before.

Underwater videos and what I've seen with my own eyes in my pond confirm this, plus fishing heavy weeds with heavy lures to catch inactive bass. Many like to believe or even insist that the lure they caught a fish on was perceived as food, not taking into consideration that fish can sense the difference between live animals and unidentifiable objects that plainly irritate or trespass too close not to respond to. I can't even say it is a temper tantrum in that fish don't know enough or feel anything personal when striking lures, just as reflex actions aren't personal.

Edited by SenkoSam (12/20/16 08:55 PM)

#12034633 - 01/11/17 06:59 PM Re: some thoughts on lure designs that catch fish [Re: SenkoSam]
SenkoSam Online   content

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 157
Loc: New York

Note: no curl tail, no shad tail (boot)
Different designs produce different subtle actions when used with certain presentations. As far as I'm concerned, using lures successfully is all in the details.


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