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Personal opinion what to base lure choice #13371656 12/13/19 07:59 PM
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Again, it's only my personal opinion unlikely shared by others. But as a lure designer and tester (especially soft plastic), I don't want to limit myself bases on what fish may be eating. anything to do with prey or what appears natural. Here goes:

Fish IMO fall into an activity/aggression range regardless the water or country. Fussy = fish suspending, less likely to be provoked by our lures or even live bait. At the other end of the range are highly aggressive fish that go into a feeding frenzy, though feeding may or may not be the reason.

IMO fish don't have motives or reasons they attack lures. That would require a thought process such as:
that lure with hooks dangling looks like (by comparison) something I'd usually eat. That fish are dumb creatures is proven by the various unrealistic looking and acting lures we cast yet still catch fish as long as their aggression level is high enough to provoke them to strike.

Another theory I had involves fish senses. Most of us know of the eye sight fish have underwater - even in dim light. The lateral line is a fish's sonar and can detect and track object motions from a distance. Catfish can track a scent trail yards away and then close in to attack. Considering the pea size brain of a fish, nature has possibly provided a simple process that is automatic - almost reflexive if or when certain lure related characteristics are evident.

Given a hypothetical range of 1-5, 5 being the easiest aggression level to provoke, say for example a lure passes into a level 5 fish's personal space. The lure may be moving fast (trolled or retrieved), yet the senses are hyped up, overloading the brain of increased activity with sensory information. In effect, it's a no-brainer (pardon the pun Wink) and 1 + 1 = a strike. Many lure designs and actions as well as even large lures will get hammered. Here are a few tykes that couldn't help themselves similar to a muscle reflex:
[Linked Image] [Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]

I don't believe a fish's brain is any better in the fifth year of life than the first month after being spawned. It can't and doesn't learn by experience as many of us have noticed after counting the holes in a previously caught fish. You may say, 'fish are bullies and strike because they prefer to overwhelm a lure that tresspasesses'. The only correlation is that bullies are at times as dumb as fish, not taking into account the danger an object (ie person) my possess to end his life or do serious bodily damage.

Consider that the 3 sets of treble hooks hanging from a 4" Rapala, retrieved with twitches and pauses don't deter a fish from striking. If a fish had half a brain, it would think twice before taking that whole thing in its mouth !!

Fish are at level 5 when in a school that becomes active whether in deep water, in shallow water pre, during or post spawn. You can cast to an area an easily catch fish after fish. A level 1 occurs when the senses and brain are suspended from most activity except to flee. The brain in a sense ignores what its senses sense and no lure nor live bait is able to provoke an attack. Level 1 fish may be in a school being followed by a level 1 predator also not in the mood to attack.

Coming back to lure features that provoke fish, you'll notice from all the photos, specific lure shapes and sizes decide a lure's action. Just as not all crankbaits catch fish, neither do all soft plastic lures in the same category - IE grub group or plastic worm group. In fact, the Gary Y Kut Tail worm shown above is as unique as the Senko in action and totally dependent on its shape-by-design. All species strike it more than most other soft plastic worms. The lure/fish photos I post are real and are proof that design matters no matter how slight the difference between two of the same type. So in conclusion I would advise the no angler limit him or herself to ANY particular lure based on the knowledge passed down through many years, but instead consider lure action, size and shape as the basis for lure choices.



Note: What really pisses me off is when a certain lure is discontinued such as Rapala's Risto Rap crankbait. It's been one of my best producing crankbaits for over 25 years. I have not a clue what it is about it that is superior to 98 % of all the crankbaits I own, but it simply is, proven by the numbers of fish caught retrieved or trolled. My search is ongoing when it comes to unique lure actions and shapes that provoke fish. I will continue to share those discoveries. Stay tuned.


Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/14/19 02:08 AM.
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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13371732 12/13/19 09:13 PM
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Interesting write up Sam. I always appreciate someone's hypothesis concerning fish behavior and lure design. I for one will look forward to your continued installments.


Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13371737 12/13/19 09:17 PM
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interesting post for sure . I have been chasing bass for 45 years . I put it in simple terms , bass are either active or not . Where I tend to get stuck is thinking that fish that are NOT active , will remain that way for some longer period of time than I want . Bass that might be inactive when you arrive in the early AM , might turn on later that AM --- and hence you can throw different lures .
Here's a good example --- my best day ever , 5 hours of fishing , 35 bass , best 5 went approx 34 lbs ( without a DD ) ---- all caught on white 1/2 oz spinnerbaits . Two days later , same lake , same conditions , same time of day --- 4 bass , nothing over 3 lbs ----WHY ??? I have no clue . I assume that those bass gorged themselves previously and just didn't want to slam a spinnerbait . It was possible that a full moon affected them the on the good day , then two days later they were " full" and didn't " need " to eat .
After all these years , I suck at trying to get a reaction bite .

Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13371986 12/14/19 01:39 AM
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SenkoSam, I have enjoyed your posts since you commented on my artificial bait question! Your insight is fascinating. Thanks again.


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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13372229 12/14/19 01:01 PM
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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13372270 12/14/19 01:44 PM
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Looking forward to more.


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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13372435 12/14/19 04:43 PM
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Superb replies and very much appreciated !!!!!!

It's so satisfying to swap ideas with anglers that are open to concepts that may come in handy especially when the bite is slow.
We've all been exposed to ideas over the decades that limit what we cast by those insisting what we should cast to get more strikes. I've been very fortunate to test different lure designs and presentations and caught all sizes and species of fish, giving up on the idea long ago that anglers should target this or that species by using this or that lure. Dispelling myths and fallacies - either personal or handed down - is an ongoing obsession, the reward being that feeling of nothing at the end of my line, instantly wondering what struck, how big and what species after the hook was set and the fight was on. The first time I saw my float charge towards the bottom with a soft plastic lure stuck in a fish's mouth, I was ecstatic nearly falling overboard ! Ten fish later and I wished it would never end. (Crappie school in 8' of open water).

Having caught 15 lb carp, over 7 lb catfish, 15" crappie, 7" sunfish, 11" yellow perch and other spectacular fish - many on micro lures - has opened up a tremendous amount of possibilities to all anglers of all ages and experience levels. No more sticking with one or two lures to catch fish, but usually 10 or more lure designs and types on a single outing as 1oldbassguy gave a prefect example of.

Okay, now for a few more ideas you may consider using:
Roland Martin won a river tournament localling using a spinnerbait modification, replacing a smaller Colorado blade with a single, giant chrome willow leaf blade. That modification caught many LM and SM bass for me the first year I fished it. To test an idea about skirt color, I brought along 7 willow leaf spinnerbaits with many different skirt colors - each catching just a many fish, proving that color is in the eye of the beholder and that fish strike most likely for these reasons:
1. the super bright flash and fluttering skirt was all it took to provoke bass into no-nonsense ambush strikes.
2. the fact that 8 or more bass were caught in the same areas told me that other fish got turned on (from activity lever 1 to level 5) just by seeing one fish having some fun being a bully. This worked in different sections of a local the river miles apart for smallies and near weed pockets in shallow water in large ponds and lakes
Note: I usually attach a small trailer hook

Another shallow water tactic - especially near the drop off to deep water, is to use a 1/16 or 1/32 oz jighead with 2/0 hook and a 6" Kut Tail worm. As you jerk the lure the lure with pauses near weeds, bass can't help themselves but smack the lure like no tomorrow ! This combo has worked everywhere I've fished it the reasons being:
1. a whip/ slither action allowed by the tapered shape of the worm all the way down to a tail shaped like a knife blade
2. the plastic recipe used is unique and allows such an action
3. the light jighead allows a horizontal swim even when paused for 2 seconds

Interesting observation regarding bass in my pond:
I would save panfish in my bass boat livewell and drive parallel to the shore's edge at a certain time of day (4-5 pm) in one location.
Bass would emerge from the weeds to be fed, facing me about 10' away and wait for fish to be thrown to them !
Time was important because before (ie morning) or after 5pm, and no go. Believe it or not !

Sunfish would school nearby when I would chuck Japanese beetles no more than 6' away from where I was standing not remembering who put those fish in the pond to begin with. I learned the drop shot presentation from yellow perch that watched my soft plastic suspended no more than 5' away in 5' of semi-clear water, near weeds. I caught 6 perch and then a bass came out of nowhere and slammed it ! That's all it took to have confidence in something I wanted to learn.

The above proved to me that fish can be trained or conditioned in a positive way, forgetting the negatives when it comes to lures (proving fish amnesia is a good thing). The fish in my pond were caught over and over - including bass over 3 lbs.

Finally in closing, discover whatever catches fish in specific shallow or deep location types and never assume anything. I always keep in mind that lure speed and action matters - ALWAYS.






Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/14/19 10:56 PM.
Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13372698 12/14/19 11:08 PM
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One thing I forgot to mention about lure color:

I'm superstitious when it comes to colors and as we all know superstition much of the time isn't based in fact. There are colors I may have a feeling might work better than other colors for certain lures, test them and if they do catch fish I stick with those regardless of those other yucky ones I can't bring myself to tie on my line. Of course if a fishing partner starts catching fish on a lure the color of vomit, I would take notice and update my opinion. (...though I doubt I would ever use THAT color.)

Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/16/19 02:08 PM.
Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13373053 12/15/19 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by SenkoSam


I don't believe a fish's brain is any better in the fifth year of life than the first month after being spawned. It can't and doesn't learn by experience as many of us have noticed after counting the holes in a previously caught fish.





LOL, I had to stop reading at this point. All of the fish in the pics you posted are within the first year of their life.

Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13373073 12/15/19 06:52 AM
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Senko, I enjoy your posts and reading about the theory behind fish behavior. Keep it up. Thought you might find this article interesting. I'd also recommend the book, Knowing Bass if you can get a copy. It was written by a biologist who worked for a major lure manufacturer.

Leory Brown

Last edited by sdavis24; 12/15/19 06:54 AM.

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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13374156 12/16/19 01:48 PM
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sdavis24 - Didn't know that about Tom Mann - sad that he was broke before he passed away. A true innovator of lure design before Gary Y exploded on the scene. I still use some of Mann's lures and modify them at times to work better. I also remember seeing a photo of Leroy Brown in Mann's giant aquarium. That was one BIG FISH and male to boot ! Interesting article. Glen Lau/Homer Circle underwater videos (a collection I still have unfortunately on VHS tapes) were very instructive when it came to large bass responses to various lures in clear water. Circle was popular long before Jones made his name writing for Bassmaster Magazine, but Jones was more scientific in his approach - usually.

I've read and reread Knowing Bass by Keith Jones for over 15 years and see the logic of his findings regarding fish senses and behavior. Too bad it was taken out of circulation. From a fish biologist's point of view this stood out, though many may disagree:
Quote
...it's ironic that modern day bass anglers chose lures based on what they think bass might like to see. Aside from the obvious strategy of "matching the hatch" (not always the best approach by any means), anglers often have no reasonable idea about the best lures to use. All too frequently our choices are based on what looks good to us, and we can only hope fish agree. .....what anglers believe a bass (fish) sees and what it is likely the bass sees are often miles apart.
p.136

This describes the above:
"Little wonder that lure designers (working for lure companies) cater to what might politely be called the "jewelry effect" - designing lures that catch the angler's eye."
"...whether a lure's sound is natural or artificial, bass don't know the difference but in the end fish only see what it was designed to perceive." and
" a lure's effectiveness depends on an animal's capacity for response."
Capacity for response includes everything such as activity level, degree of an angler's ability to coerce/ provoke/ incite fish to strike lures, which lure types to use and when, water quality, etc.


Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/16/19 02:20 PM.
Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: balazs] #13374169 12/16/19 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by balazs
Originally Posted by SenkoSam


I don't believe a fish's brain is any better in the fifth year of life than the first month after being spawned. It can't and doesn't learn by experience as many of us have noticed after counting the holes in a previously caught fish.





LOL, I had to stop reading at this point. All of the fish in the pics you posted are within the first year of their life.



Yeah, this is just wrong man. There are a bunch of scientific studies that have been done on this. These will be easy to google up. There are certainly some fish that are prone to be caught over and over again, however there are some fish that rarely if ever get caught. Again, lots of studies done on this with trackers, tags, and in ponds they've drained. Also, fish absolutely "learn" lures. Go throw a spinnerbait in a new pond and count how many fish you catch. Then go again and throw it. Count. Overtime your catches will go down because the fish start to associate the spinnerbait with getting caught. Switch over to soft plastics and low and behold your numbers go back up. I've looked at tens of thousands of data points on this. It's definitely a real thing.

I don't think fish are smart, but like most creatures with a brain, even a simple one, they can definitely learn to associate certain movements, sounds, etc... with pain or a bad experience and thus go out of their way to avoid them.


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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: Jpurdue] #13374245 12/16/19 03:22 PM
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Quote
I don't think fish are smart, but like most creatures with a brain, even a simple one, they can definitely learn to associate certain movements, sounds, etc... with pain or a bad experience and thus go out of their way to avoid them.


I've read this too but also that fish memory is short term for some fish meaning, not associating a negative experience with a certain lure or having even been caught in the same or one year later. Here is a quote from Knowing Bass:
Quote
...some fish learn to renounce lures very quickly, whereas others never make the mental connection between lures and trauma. In one four year study of a recapture rate after catch-and-release, the average bass was caught twice each season. However, some fish were caught up to 16 times in a single season.


Quote
Though fish have the capacity to learn, they do not learn all things equally well. Some sensory stimuli leave strong memory traces; others weak ones suggesting that some stimuli link together easily through mental association (associative learning) while others do not. Different fish have limitations on what they can learn and associate.
...(like most humans LOL)

What all of this means to me is to cast different lures that are different - even subtly different. That's the nice thing about lure modification - there are an unlimited number of possible designs you can cast that can insure that fish of all mental persuasions are more apt do strike. Of course it has been suggested by Jones that some fish learn to avoid lures in general. Thank God the fish I've caught haven't! LOL

Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/16/19 03:34 PM.
Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13374291 12/16/19 04:11 PM
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I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to base decisions on data and not intuition. It is a real eye opener. But it is a tough book to find.

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Re: Personal opinion what to base lure choice [Re: SenkoSam] #13374295 12/16/19 04:15 PM
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for years i've been marking fish i've caught...bass / crapy / perch...by using a paper hole punch, creating a hole in the tail, even in the anal fin and dorsal fin if i catch them 3 - 4 times...the hole grows back, looking/feeling like a wart...i caught crapy last week and on the next day, caught one that i'd caught the day before...kinda interesting thing to do, even in a lake


Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. —Debbie Macomber
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