John's Journal...


The Lure Test Continued

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“The next part of the test was to learn if the bass could discriminate between various types of artificial lures,” Dr. Jones explains. “When we retested the bass using soft-plastic baits, the strike ratio went up to almost the same level it was the first time the bass saw the crankbait. We learned that when we changed the lure type, and the bass saw baits they’d never seen before, they began to strike those new baits just as aggressively as they had the crankbait.” Jones and his team proved that bass could remember a lure for at least three months, and they believed bass might remember a lure for even a longer time. “We don’t know for sure, but I won’t be surprised if a bass can remember a particular lure for at least one fishing season and maybe even longer,” Jones says. “Additional research indicates that the longer a bass looks at a lure before he strikes it, the longer he can remember that lure and won’t strike it again. If a lure goes past the Click to enlargebass at high speed, and the bass strikes it but doesn’t get a good mental picture of the lure, the bass won’t remember the lure. Therefore, that bass still will be susceptible to striking the lure the next time the fish sees it. We’ve learned that the better mental image the bass gets of the lure the first time it spots that lure, the less likely the bass will be to strike that lure the next time.

“Rattling baits are abnormal. For instance, lipless crankbaits that contain a rattle don’t resemble anything in nature. So, these baits stand out like sore thumbs. We’ve learned that naïve bass have tendencies to be antagonistic, territorial and curious. When a lure gets in their faces, prods their interest and gets their attention, they’ll attack. The first time the bass sees a rattling bait, that lure often will trigger a strike. However, because lipless rattling crankbaits stand out like sore thumbs, bass have an opportunity to see those baits and form good mental images of them, making the bass much-less inclined to strike that Click to enlargebait the next time the fish sees that lure. If you use baits that don’t stand out but instead blend into the environment and are more akin to what the fish normally feeds on, the bass has a difficult time separating that bait and the memory of it from the food the fish feeds on every day. I think this reason is why the bass continue to bite soft-plastic lures, even after they’ve had negative encounters with them. The soft-plastic baits look, move and feel more natural to a bass when compared to some of the other lures. Crankbaits, powerful one-time lures that can cause bass to strike them the first time they see them, over-stimulate bass. They’re also easier for bass to remember and avoid the next time.”


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 3