Mindful of Bass' Thinking
Inside the Outdoors, June 6
, 2014

Before one can grasp how a bass may think upon seeing a bait, I read an article recently in the Bassmaster magazine, May 2014 edition, that a company in Illinois is selling carp hotdogs. A matter of fact, proprietor Mike Schafer of Schafer Fisheries is selling the product around the world for just $5 a package.

According to Schafer “They taste great!”

Many years ago, a chef from St. Louis figured out a way to make silver carp filets a delicacy. He was able to market the invasive species and restaurants served the meat in recipes all along the Mississippi River up to and including Illinois.

So, it is no surprise, someone has taken it one step farther to make and sell hot dogs from this fish.

Since Schafer is keeping it a secret as to how he makes his product, we have only to take the magazine’s word for it.

And now on with the column of the week. . .

In order for bait to be effective, it must catch the eye of the bass so the species is distracted from whatever it is doing and make your object, whether it be a lure or a plastic imitation, its key interest.

It goes without saying that every pro has his favorites and will use them repeatedly until something newer comes along that takes its place. It goes hand in hand with an old time saying, ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’ Similarly, if it has always has caught fish, is doing the trick presently, and will work in the future, why change?

For instance, Rapala crank baits are known for leaders in the industry. Their Original Floaters, Countdowns and their new Scatter Raps with the Scatter Lips are definitely going to invite action and challenge to the angler who properly presents these lures.

Arbogast definitely knew what it was doing when this manufacturing genius created the Hula Popper. One is almost guaranteed to catch a bass if he casts it along the shore line waters and retrieves it up one to two feet from the banks. This large-bladed jointed lure will make a splashing noise as it is drawn closer to the fisherman.

And it goes without saying, Leland Crank Lures have proved their worth ever since they were created. A matter of fact, he told me nothing goes out unless it is tested first. One has only to ask and I will tell anyone who asks, “I don’t swear at but by these lures.”

When it comes to bass, however, there are so many baits that seem to do the trick – crayfish imitations, frogs and smaller fish.

So, if one considers these facts that bass are attracted by the listed baits, then it has to be up to the angler to try to think as a bass may do when it first catches sight of whatever is at hand.

As noted above and restated here, in order to catch bass, ‘it’s all in the presentation.’

When operating my store, I used to sell a good many Kelly Worms. In as much as anglers always stated they worked well for them, I tried my luck with them only to fail. I was told, “Just throw them out and let them sit. Then twitch them with wrist action every once in a while. That’s all that is required.” I had to close my doors and get rid of all merchandise before taking on the challenge. Anglers always held them in high acclaim.

But the question remains – “What is going through the mind of a bass when it sees that plastic worm suddenly being pulled upwardly, erratically?” That should be easy – “Gotta grab that thing before any other bass gets to it. This meal’s mine!”

Similarly, the Gary Yamamoto Hula Grubs are going to have similar reaction. Throw it out and let it sink to the bottom. Since the plastic imitation has so much action because of its body makeup, a bass, mindful of this critter entering its space may gobble it up on the way down. If not, let it remain there. Then retrieve it at different speeds, allowing it to drop and rise as it gets closer to one’s bank.

Greenlick Reservoir anglers have shared the fact that whopper bass love stick baits suspended from bobbers. The plastic imitation, when hooked in the center, keep bass ‘on their toes’ when these worm imitations flounder in the open waters. Both fish and anglers alike are mindful of great dinners.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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