pikeman

Reality vs abstract

22 posts in this topic

so ... here is the fact...as we strive to obtain a lure as natural as it can be why the fishes sometimes go for the most crazy color combination...let's take for example a fire tiger, looking more like an exotic fish sometimes acts as a magnet for the predators . That makes me wonder why they attack the wooden fish instead of the natural prey ... so I came up with a simple answer: the lures have something different then all the other fishes around it and this triggers the attack, maybe it's plain curiosity , maybe it's easier to go for the lure, who knows...

The question is do you consider that striving to obtain the most realistic lure possible will give a better result then a crazy combination (from the bottom of the imagination:lol::lol::lol:) ? Does it worth the effort?

P.S. I know that the color choices depend on the water turbidity this is not an element to consider in giving the answers ;)

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maybe it is the way we retrieve the lure. I try to make it different in the retrieve. Sometimes when I crank it really slow the bass hit it. It doesn't seem to matter the color as much as the way we fish them. Also slow rolling a spinnerbait seems to make a difference.

If I throw a crankbait (any color) into a school of shad I will try to make it look like the wounded one. This is where you have to stop it or make it go really slow and make it stand out. If there is a bass there he will bust it and not the shad.

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Another thing to consider is this: Fish don't have hands, or arms for that matter. They are extremely limited in how they evaluate something they are curious about. Also, I would guess that well over 50% of the strikes we get are reaction strikes. I fish in dirty water a lot, so the detail of the bait is, shall we say, not as important as the overall color scheme or action.

Just a thought.

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Fish have 2 bite modes: active feeding and reaction. I think most crankbait bites are reaction mode where the bait approaches the fish and it instinctively bites, for territorial reasons, opportunistic feeding, or just becaue it's programmed to bite things smaller than it is. The color scheme may not matter much in this mode, except related to water clarity and visibility. The depth of the lure, direction, speed, size, and wiggle are more important. For actively feeding bass, I think the color scheme gains some importance. All crankbaits look injured compared to their model species when swimming and you're hoping the bass picks yours out from the healthy crowd to actively feed on. The more it resembles the other prey, the better. The 2 bite modes are theoretical constructs that simplify the real world, which is filled with an infinity of gray zones. But it can suggest some crankbait choices and eliminate others in specific circumstances. Alternative theory: You'll never ever know why pea brained bass behave like they do. Just keep throwing different stuff until you get lucky or your arm falls off :)

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Just an FYI...

I used to get into major, lengthy discussions with friends of mine in the Musky circuit about that subject. My theory is "that it is more so the shape and action of the bait that induces the strike" Other seemed to think it was the color, or type or whatever.....so I did an experiment and included in my spread one of my trolling crankbaits made of cedar, left unpainted without and detail and clearcoated over the sealed wood. That summer and fall we caught 6 Muskys on that bait. Not as many as some of the others, but we did get one 51" pig that went on my friends wall. :yes:

Rod

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I think it depends on the fish (type)- trout which I fish for quite a bit, are pigs - they seem to focus on a color, size or silhouette and gorge themselves on it to the luck of anything else that swims past.

I liken the color response to you/me in the back shed, looking for that screw driver, the one with the blue handle- can't find it anywhere, then later you do find it and it has a green handle not blue- Our brains simplify things down from shape / size, silhouette, to something simpler like color, so we fail to see it because there is nothing blue in the entire shed. I do this all the time and even I am smarter than a fish (I think).

I feel this theory could also be applied to size and silhouette also, but I think scent and movement are a different matter.

Movement of a lure could be seen as an "on" "off" of a certain color as a lure wobbles, generally a slow wobble seems to work better than fast- a fast wobble probably has more to do with vibration than movement. Look at the plain angular red and white pattern most manufacturers / home builders make, this color can be dynamite. I think this color (red) is only made for our (the buyers) eyes. Under water (5'-6') the red goes to black, what better contrast is there than black and white which would be like night and day swimming past to a fish. We could use this on- off reasoning, to a lesser extent for any two or more colored lure.

Silhouette, who knows, except again maybe it is the shape they have imprinted on for that day/night - nothing better than a very slow retrieve at night, with a jet black lure to get a response, the black shape against the moon lit sky, I suppose this is contrast and silhouette at work.

For what it's worth, these are some of my thoughts, which keeps me coming back, just to try and fool them. If we knew for sure what "turned them on", we would soon get sick of catching fish and start throwing bricks at them to amuse ourselves, or just stay at home and take up quilting.

After years of convincing myself that, at least some of this may be true, I still don't seem to catch any more fish than the next guy! ! .Pete

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The reaction bite thing is way over rate as far being something different than a feeding strike. Especially from the post-spawn period, through turnover, about 99% of a bass's energy is spent replenishing fuel supply. Anytime you do anything to your lure to make it look vulnerable you're indicating to a bass that he has better than average odds of coming out on top of the fuel-obtained versus fuel-spent equation. A wild cold-blooded predator that doesn't maintain his metabolism on the plus side is a dead predator. Conserving energy during times of high metabolic activity rules the world of the bass during the warm water period. Most fuel for least effort means finding dependable forage and feeding on it during the least stressful (high oxygen content) periods of the day and reconciling this activity to when the feeding advantage is at its peak. During these times bass can be very forage specifc, always opting for their highest return in the metabolic equation.

So sometimes when you have to pitch particularly tight to cover with an exact presentation with a specific shade of shad color lure on a sunny afternoon to get the fish to hit, doesn't necessarily mean that the fish was inactive or neutral and you made it react by instigating a fight or flight reflex; It most likely means that the fish was in a very positive feeding mode, and the bass was utilizing one of his highest percentage feeding behaviors by simply waiting for a gizzard shad to come feeding down the log and the bass simply sucked it in in an ambush that required almost no energy expenditure besides lying in wait in the shade utilizing nature's countershading, while taking advantage of the high oxygen content of the water due to all the plankton producing it in the sunshine.

So just because Joe Pro thinks he was forcing these fish to react, and the bass were shielding their eyelidless eyes from the sun beneath the shade of the log, and that's how he won the big tournament, doesn't mean his reasoning was right, but merely his fishing method, despite telling a nationwide audience how his Berklet Strike Thing made the bass quiver with an irresistable reaction.

Any lure giving cues that it is an easy meal will oftern evoke a strike from a feeding bass, and the cues can vary from a disoriented baitfish caused by all manner of things, or like in my example, a baitfish completely secure and unsuspecting are cues for an easy meal. Bass will also let color fool them into thinkin they have an easy meal because the prey is not utilzing its natural countershading for concealment and can be easily picked out among other prey--you've distinguished it from the difficult to see meals.

Bass feeding behavior wherefores and whys is a huge subject rooted in biology. Many anglers would do well to think of the fish's behavior from that standpoint as opposed to, or combined with the latest popular buzz words flying out of a tournament winner's mouth.

Dean

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To answer Pikeman's question directly - yes, I think natural color baits catch more fish. Wild colors may whack'em occasionally but over time, I believe the natural colors will outfish them. I'm not necessarily talking about photo realism here, just getting the primary forage colors on your baits. Something resembling shad, crawfish and sunfish here in the S.E. Besides, I refuse to carry an endless variety of colors of any bait. It just promotes sitting in the boat re-tying lures and second guessing yourself all day instead of keeping your line wet and catching fish.

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To answer Pikeman's question directly - yes, I think natural color baits catch more fish. Wild colors may whack'em occasionally but over time, I believe the natural colors will outfish them. I'm not necessarily talking about photo realism here, just getting the primary forage colors on your baits. Something resembling shad, crawfish and sunfish here in the S.E. Besides, I refuse to carry an endless variety of colors of any bait. It just promotes sitting in the boat re-tying lures and second guessing yourself all day instead of keeping your line wet and catching fish.

I think you are right, I'm not carrying a ton of lures cause I think I must give time to each one to prove it's capabilities :) usually I go for combinations of black - white - silver - some green and I have an obsession for yellow , or copies of fishes or animals (like pikes and frogs :lol: ) crazy color combinations I mostly use for topwater lures or for special water conditions, sometimes they can save the day.

Now , do you consider that carved details and scales will improve the visual effect over the predators? Sometimes I think that the fishes don't have time to study this problem :lol: they take a quick decision if it is a good moment to attack, and if they must consume energy for attacking the bait , they don't come up closely to study it ...

The main idea of this thread is that the lures catch us first before they catch a fish, of course that having this passion of lure-building means that I give plenty of time to details, just wanted to know your opinion cause I want to focus on imitating different types of fishes without photofoil methods ... THX

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I got carried away on feeding cues etc, and didn't finish my earlier answer: Nature use the principle of countershading for concealment. Understand, that when you do imitate pray precisely, you are also imitating its natural concealment perfectly. This type of lure works much better in very clear water where you want the visual cues given off by the bait to simply be as natural as possible--all prey is difficult to see in this situation, so the predator sees the bait as he sees all other bait: It's not put off at the last moment by looking unnatural. However, in stained water, You can do more to help the fish locate its prey by doing less countershading and giving the fish somethin easier to see when it gets closer to the lure after probably picking up on its presence initially through the lateral line--We don't want full concealment when the fish is about to hit.

One of the best lessons on this occured during the 1970's bass lure manufacturers in en masse began replacing their old standard colors with natural colors, lure colors with very detailed, realistic finishes,including photo-finished lures imitating specific prey, discontinuing the old colors such as coach dog, red-head, frog, sucker, black and silver, Pearl black-back, perch, etc. The new colors sold like crazy, and within a few months, there was an outcry across the country from fisheman realizing they were catching fewer fish, for the manufacturers to bring back the old colors, which happened the following year, and the next--the industry generally admitted they'd made a mistake. Of course, some of the new colors did work, especially in clear water, but generally everyone learned that the new lifelike colors were too well hidden from the fish, and that the old bolder high-contrast colors worked much better, day-in and day-out.

Dean

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I have some of the early Bagleys Baitfish series baits in Bluegill and crappie. I use them every once in a while still just to see if I can actually catch a fish with them. In 25 years those hooks have never stuck anything. I have won money in 2 tournaments with the non natural looking crankbait in my Avitar. It did meet a demise last weekend however, I caught a trot line and couldn't get it back. Trot line fisherman should be stripped and beaten!

In my opinion, which is only that, the action will get the attention while the color makes it easier to find.

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So ,as a conclusion I should not get carried away trying to imitate the natural bait as best as possible since the predators go for the simple pattern :lol:

I recall that once I was pike fishing in clear water with the little pikey from my gallery and it was the only lure from 4 fishermen to produce results although we tried different types of lures including topwater and gliders.

OK, in summer on clear water I'll go for realistic baits with details , and in rainy seasons like spring and autumn with stained water I'll go for classic combinations of black - white - silver - dark green .... :wink:

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Scales and 3D details: I do feel detail can make a bait more attractive to fish in clear water situations. For me, it's a balance between the trouble it takes to do versus the fishing results I expect. It can certainly make some fishermen more confident about the bait. I use scale netting and stencils to paint body details. I have a crawfish bait on which I like to carve out the body segments. None of it takes much time or trouble and that's the balance I feel is right for the baits I like to fish.

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I don't believe any of us will ever be penalized for detail in our painting designs. With color, that's a different story, but detail.....it never hurts.

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When the bass bait industry went natural one of the things their lures gained was more muted color transitions, in turn, losing many of their high-contrast color juxtapositions. I like detail also to a cetain extent, but not to the point I create lures that disappear in their realism, which is what nature intended for the real thing.

Dean

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Details,details,details. Here in the Detroit area , most of our lakes are clear. And i must admit that i have a ratio of about 6 to 1 in favor of "natural" looking crankbaits as opposed to "unnatural" finishes. I think that suspending jerks should be a natural color, but how well do fish see a crank that is usually moving pretty fast? Soft plastics, being retrieved alot slower, or even sitting still ,should be as natural as can be, right? Then explain bubblegum,methiolate,metalflake,etc. Colors and details are fun for us fisherpersons,but are they important to bass & pike? THE FISH BIT BECAUSE YOU RETRIEVED YOUR LURE IN IT'S VICINITY. You could throw live bait around for your entire life and not get bit, if you are fishin where the fish aren't. We don't need all the details, but that is half the fun. GO FISH!

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My opinion on color and details seem to be different than most of the posts so far. I do not think that details matter that much to our finny friends. How many details can a fish see while trying to decide if that bait streaking by is edible or not? I don't think they care, and if they stop to mull it over - the bait is gone. Suspending jerks and soft plastics surely should look natural because of their (usually) slow or stopped rate of retrieve. Well, no. We have caught fish on colors not found in nature herself. Lures are just tools. It is more important to use the lure in the manner that it was designed, in an area that potentially holds fish. You can drown live bait all day and not catch anything if your fishin where they aint. Location, depth, and speed control (Mr Buck Perry),light penetration,water temp,and even lake traffic, to me , are more important than color or details on a bait. The colors and details are for our entertainment only. To the newbie goes the the pretty lures- we old farts can catch fish on just about anything or any color. GO FISH

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Hey Detroit

If you know the speed and depth, you for sure have the largest piece of the puzzle done. But I've seen color make the difference between catching and not and I'm sure you have too. Having grown up around predominantly stained to murky to muddy to algae-bloomed hard pounded waters, I've often seen lure color or shade, determine success perhaps much more so than in very clear water. It is more than for our entertainment only, it is very often an essential piece of the big picture, even if it is just using black when a strong sillouhette makes for more bites on the bottom in stained water, when the pumpkin color worked best the day before when the water was clear. A good fisheman will certainly catch more fish on black and white only lures than a lousy fishermnan using every color in the rainbow. But the good fisheman who knows how to use color to its best advantage, will catch more on more days.

Old fart Dean

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well said Dean, I pick the colors depending on the water conditions, it ain't always a rule but sometimes it does the difference

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I don't think a valid scientific study about crankbait colors exists. At least those lab coated Berkley "scientists" haven't published it yet. :) I'm not sure one is possible (too many uncontrolled independent variables) so what we're left with are anecdotes based on experience and what guys believe to be true. You can hardly find a statement about color from anyone (including pro fishermen!) that isn't diametrically opposed by an equivalent authority. What works for me is trying to strike a balance. Not too wild, not too "natural". I want the crankbait I'm fishing to be seen but not so different from real prey that it's glaringly obvious. There I go again - what do bass see as "obvious"? I haven't a clue, nor does anyone else! But to me, balance means using classic crankbait colors but playing with details like color strength, shading, reflectivity and color accents. It's still crustacean dark brown or green for crawfish. It's still silver or white with a darker back for shad, etc. Basic, but playing with the details can make a difference.

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