John's Journal...


The Lure Test

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Keith Jones, director of fish research for the Pure Fishing Laboratory in Spirit Lake, Iowa, has been studying bass for over 16 years. He’s an expert in the field of bass behavior. Jones’ scientific research involves finding out what factors will make bass attack lures and baits.

Click to enlarge“We bought 50 naïve bass and divided them into 10 groups of five,” Jones explains. “We placed the first group of five bass in the tank, attached a camera to the robot to see how the bass approached the lure, put a crankbait on our robot and ran the crankbait in the water around the tank for five laps. We counted the number of strikes and did 10 repetitions of the same test, using five new bass for each repetition.” Jones learned that during the first lap around the pool, the bass went nuts, and all five bass attempted to eat the lure. Some of the bass struck the lure repeatedly. The lure received an average number of 12 strikes. The second time the lure went around the tank, the average number of strikes dropped from 12 to eight. As the lure continued around the tank, the number of strikes dropped drastically. Each group of bass averaged about 25 strikes, or about five strikes per bass. Jones found the hooks on the lure so bent that they couldn’t hook the bass. The next part of the test determined how long the bass could remember their encounters with that same lure. Jones and his team put that same group of 50 bass aside for two weeks, let them rest, continued feeding them pellet food and didn’t expose them to any lures.

Click to enlarge“After two weeks of resting and eating nothing but pellet food, we took half the group, 25 bass, put them back into the test tank, got them accustomed to the tank and then repeated the same test with the same lure,” Jones reports. “Then we put the bass in the tank in groups of five fish at a time to repeat the experiment. We measured the average number of strikes on that lure when it went around the tank five times. Remember that during the first test, the bass averaged 25 strikes on the lure for the five times it went around the tank. On the second test, each group of bass averaged attacking that same lure only twice. We realized that the bass had remembered that the lure wasn’t food, even though 14 days had passed between the two experiments. We decided that two weeks wasn’t long enough for the bass to forget about the first test.

Click to enlarge“The 25 bass that weren’t tested after the first two weeks of seclusion remained isolated and were fed only pellet food for three more months. After three months and two weeks, the remaining 25 bass were divided into five groups and then were retested using the same lure. We wanted to learn if after three months the bass had forgotten about the lure they tried to eat that didn’t provide them any nourishment. The group that had been held for three months and two weeks showed a better strike response than the bass that hadn’t seen the lure for only two weeks. However, the strike response from each group of bass averaged only five strikes after the lure had gone around the tank five times, whereas during the first test the bass attacked the lure 25 times. We concluded that even though these bass had been held for three months and two weeks, they still remembered their encounters with that lure.”


Check back each day this week for more about BASS BEHAVIOR WITH DR. KEITH JONES

Day 1: How Bass Learn
Day 2: The Lure Test
Day 3: The Lure Test Continued
Day 4: Why Old Baits Catch Bass Today
Day 5: Why Aren’t Old Lures Reintroduced?



Entry 344, Day 2