Look at the Big Brain on Bass

By: Michelle Armstrong

If you’ve ever visited Bass Pro Shops (my happy place) it can be quite overwhelming. The store is lined with thousands of lures that promise to catch fish. It can be hard to figure out what to select. Anglers take to the internet, YouTube, etc spending hours on research to find what fellow fishermen are “catching them on”. This can be helpful in eliminating alot of wasted time trying to go out cold turkey. Dock talk (talking among friends) is another way to learn but will kill you every time. Firstly, fishermen lie, (when will we ever learn) and secondly, it is almost impossible to fish another guy’s water. Their position in the water, speed of retrieve, boat manuevering etc, is mostly impossible to recreate. That’s not to say you can’t catch fish in the same spot as your friend, just don’t expect the hundred fish day that they tell you about.

Plus, fish learn. You heard me, fish learn. Perfect example is spawning areas. They don’t just aimlessly go back to these same areas year after year. They learn. They have a brain. Not a very big one, but it is still useful to them in many ways. They can tell if the forage presented to them is a little “off”. This is how they escape danger. If you’re throwing a crankbait that isn’t the color or size, or movement of the bait in season, it is likely that they will snub your bait. This is why you hear seasoned fisherman preach, “match the hatch”.

Bass have a brain, but their sight and temper are awful. This explains the proverbial “reaction strike”. Noisy baits will often come into play when the fishing is tough. But even then, they learn. Take the Whopper Plopper for example. A few years ago, it was THE bait to have. EVERYBODY was catching big numbers all the time. But after a few years, the bite died off. Why? Because they learn!

Fishing line? Yep, they learn. Once upon a time, the only way to use an “A rig” was on braided line. The bite slowed and a few anglers switched to Flourocarbon and voila, the bite was on again for them.

What’s the moral of this story? All of the baits at Bass Pro Shops work without a doubt. But that fish’s little brain will outsmart even the most seasoned angler. You have to constantly switch things up to stay ahead. What worked yesterday doesn’t always work today. Take what you learn and hear, and build on it. Stick with “your” confidence and knowledge. Don’t abandon your fishing hole because the day before you caught ‘em on a worm and today they aren’t biting. They are still in the general area. Expand, and try different baits. I’ll bet you’ll find they just changed their behavior for the moment. I know, that was a lengthy “moral to the story”.

Don’t be so sure that fish are dumb. If they were, then explain why you get outsmarted. So go “learn” and go catch a fish.