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#12253639 - 05/19/17 02:46 PM Difficult question...
twstephens77 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/08/14
Posts: 187
Loc: College Station, TX
Not sure exactly how to word this one...but as the bass move out to deep water this summer, how much are they relying on sight? Or in other words, how much sunlight penetrates to 30'-40' in dirty water? How about stained water? On a cloudy day? And when you're throwing a 10" worm on a Carolina rig in those conditions, how close do you have to get it to the bass for them to see it? I tend to overthink everything, but really wanted to know this one as I try to get better acquainted with the ol' ball and chain.
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#12253652 - 05/19/17 02:56 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
James Biggs Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/11/06
Posts: 2789
Loc: DFW area
Off shore fishing doesn't mean deep water necessarily. Water clarity & thermacline dictates how deep the bass will be. Unless the water is pretty clear I like 12-20' where I'm fishing. That doesn't mean I'm not sitting in 40' it just means the bass are 12-20'.


Edited by James Biggs (05/19/17 09:11 PM)
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#12253669 - 05/19/17 03:10 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: James Biggs]
twstephens77 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/08/14
Posts: 187
Loc: College Station, TX
Originally Posted By: James Biggs
Off shore fishing doesn't mean deep water necessarily. Water clarity & thermdictate dictates how deep the bass will be. Unless the water is pretty clear I like 12-20' where I'm fishing. That doesn't mean I'm not sitting in 40' it just means the bass are 12-20'.

I see that for sure. But even at that depth, how much light is penetrating and from how far can the bass see a bait?
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#12253686 - 05/19/17 03:22 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
dobbin Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 04/22/06
Posts: 531
Loc: hubbard
Wow I like it a real question on bass fishing in the bass forum. Not many of them in here any more.
The oxygen level will determine how deep the fish will go. I don't know a lot about how the fish pick up a bait but I do know that some of the fish I have caught have been in chocolate milk looking water. The lateral line down the bass can feel movement and sends them in search of what it is that is moving. When fishing a C rig I like it to make some noise and a heavy weight to stir the bottom a little. There are so many ways to fish a c rig and everybody has their favorite ways and add on's to it.
I'm sure more fishermen will chime in on this topic for us that would like to know more about this fish we love to chase...
Would love to do more catching and less fishing...
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#12253688 - 05/19/17 03:24 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
tsspencer2887 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 02/23/13
Posts: 654
Loc: GP, TX
There are too many factors to think about including water color, cloud cover, etc. In our muddy Texas lakes, I rarely focus on targeting fish based on what they can see because eyesight is not their most perceptive sense. In other words, where we get most of our information from our eyesight, bass get most of their information through their lateral line. Their next most perceptive senses are their sense of smell and hearing. In deep waters, I rely on baits that move, vibrate or make some type of noise. These things can attract bass before they are ever able to see the bait. Scents can help too because, like sound and vibration, scent molecules can travel through the water better than what a fish can see.

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#12253726 - 05/19/17 03:54 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
fouzman Offline
Methuselah

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 45888
Loc: Houston, TX
In my experience, bass will be on or near bottom in deep water when it's bright and sunny. They'll also be more likely to be in groups. When it is cloudy and windy, the fish seem to be higher in the water column and more scattered. As noted, they'll typically be at a depth where conditions are most favorable i.e. thermocline. That could be a 15 foot hump in 30 ft of water, etc.

As to whether fish can see at 30-40 feet, they sure can if they're looking up. It doesn't matter how stained the water is, sunlight still produces a silhouette of objects when viewed from below and the side, even at 100 feet.

But the previous posters are correct, bass rely on their lateral line to identify and locate prey. Maybe more than all other senses combined. Eyesight is probably last except in more clear or shallow water, especially when there is a reaction bite.

That's why lures like heavy c-rigs, football jigs, big cranks, swimbaits and big spoons shine in the deeper water. They all create a lot of water displacement which translates as vibration through a bass' lateral line.

I'd echo mister Bigg's definition of deep water, although on Fork in mid-summer it's more like 18-26 where the fish are positioned for me, though it varies from yr-to-yr.
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#12254050 - 05/19/17 08:12 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
Ken A. Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/02/06
Posts: 8672
Loc: Trophy Club, TX
Already some good 411 here. I will add this. 99% of the time you will get more bites on a 1 oz weight on a c-rig than a lighter one. The heavier weight bangs around more and kicks up the silt as you drag it along attracting the fish. Sounds carries extremely well under water and the fish can feel even slight vibrations through their lateral line.

As for the original question of how close do you have to get the bait for the bass to see it, I don't think they have to necessarily see it to find it.

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#12254282 - 05/19/17 11:28 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
Bobby Milam Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/13/14
Posts: 2990
Loc: Arlington
I know that I have been fishing at night in pitch black and set my rod leaning over the side of the boat with a lure tied on 2 or 3 feet out of the water and have had bass see it and come out of the water numerous times trying to get it. They had no problem seeing in the dark with nothing in the water for vibrations. I personally think that their eyesight is better than most give them credit for.

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#12254300 - 05/20/17 12:11 AM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 13918
Loc: Justin, TX.
Bass don't have to see it to get it; although there eye sight is much better than we thank. That is why their eyes are positioned the way they are as to allow them to look up for the images better.

Bass don't have to hear a dinner bell ringing on the bottom to get it in 30 ft. of water. I find that stealth and the natural vibration of a bait that best represents the pray they are looking for to be the best.

Scent is a must have on all my baits and it must also be natural and best know to the Bass.

I wish I knew how many miles I have dragged a Crig. all these years. I like light and will let the wind tell me what that needs to be; any where from 1/8 oz. to 3/4 oz.. The depth does not determine the size of weight I use. On a calm day 1/4 oz. is just fine for me in 30 ft. of water. I use ABU 5500c's so line is not a problem. I drag it 3 ft. then strip line to let it set, then repeat. I am following contours that go in and out so it want be long until the boat is changing directions and some of the long line can be taken in. I feel for the weight of the fish and never the strike.
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#12254347 - 05/20/17 05:28 AM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
redskeeter190 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 1798
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I fish the Tennessee River system.....ledge fishing, here, is a little different than in Texas....here, the current is the deal.....you can catch fish on just about everything....however, when there is no current....the fishing is tough.....I've caught fish 40 ft deep using a small shaky head.....I don't know how the see/hear it...but they do.....I do know....when there is abundant sunlight....they "hug" closer to the sharper drops....cloudy conditions.....go to the bank, until they start generating current.....having said all of this....in Texas.....I suppose you'd have to rely on the wind to make current...otherwise...."deeper" fish might be difficult to catch....IMO....

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#12254360 - 05/20/17 05:55 AM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
CoachCBA Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 6842
Loc: Whitehouse, TX
I've been catching a lot of fish after dark for weeks now dragging a rig in 12-25 feet. It surprised me, but the bait that has been the best is a fluke. I doubt they are seeing the bait, but somehow they are finding it.
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#12254381 - 05/20/17 06:35 AM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
Brad R Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 1569
Loc: Texas
A good discussion, I think, because it blends science with experiences.

Biologists would rate sight as the primary bass sense. One article mentioned that one of the obvious tell tale signs of this is you won't find as many trophy-sized bass in dingy water. Anyway, we always struggle with what does a bass actually see. But, scientists know they have a large portion of their brain dedicated to sight. And, their eyes have rods (to distinguish shades from black to gray to clear) and cones that can distinguish color. One study says that when bass see something from one eye only, off to the side, they have to orient themselves from a monocular view to a binocular one to locate the object. Sort of like triangulating and object. Many of us know that, for humans, depth perception is dependent on two eyes to a degree, so maybe something similar.

Next, biologists would rank sound and feel and they are closely related for bass. Since they live in a medium that transmits sound about 5X as fast as air, you'd have to think a couple of million years might sharpen that sense. Sound is just energy and bass have dedicated processes to pick them up. Bass can and do feed in low to no light conditions.

Regarding taste, biologist note that bass have quite a few taste buds so it makes a difference to them, too, this after something is in their mouths. For some other species, like salmon, the fish can actually use "taste" to find their paths back to their "home." But, for bass it is not as developed as it is in many fish. Catfish have a very developed sense of smell compared to bass.

I sort of think this is the likely order of senses they use to find food. But, they eat all year long, at night, too, at different water depths.

Brad

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#12254512 - 05/20/17 09:20 AM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
dallasdawg Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 6757
Loc: Plano, TX
Excellent topic and discussion. The only thing I can add to the conversation is a book recommendation. The Book is Knowing Bass: The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish by Keith A. Jones, PhD. It is currently out of print, but you may be able to find it second hand.

After reading all the technique books, I began to wonder more about why bass were like they are. This book proved to be a great source of answers. Here is a quote from the summary on the back: "Topics covered include bass biology; Life history; the Bass's organs of vision, hearing, smell, and taste, including the smells and flavors bass like - and don't like; how smell and taste control feeding behavior; the best kinds of lures to trigger the attack response in certain situations; and even minimizing stress stress on caught bass that are to be released."

If you really want to get into the mind of a bass, I highly recommend this book. Now that I've been thinking about it...it is probably time for a refresher reading of the book. smile
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#12254519 - 05/20/17 09:25 AM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
tsspencer2887 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 02/23/13
Posts: 654
Loc: GP, TX
Here's a great article on the subject of a bass' senses that I read several years ago. I'd love to find something more recent but this is the closest thing to an actual study that I could find.

How Do Fish Sense

While studies will say that sight is the most informative sense for bass, I still say that this is not normally the case here in Texas where our dirty lakes usually only have good visibility for a few feet at most. It's my belief that the lateral line is the most active/important of the senses.

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#12254790 - 05/20/17 02:45 PM Re: Difficult question... [Re: twstephens77]
twstephens77 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/08/14
Posts: 187
Loc: College Station, TX
Awesome info guys...much appreciated! I'm wanting to spend the summer getting more confident in the C-Rig, and this definitely has given me more confidence in that.
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- C.S. Lewis

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