Lure design! It's about CONTRAST !

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Lure design! It's about CONTRAST !

Post by SpoonMinnow » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:57 pm

I was sitting at my work bench making a few soft plastic lures, thinking about why certain lures catch fish. Is it color, size, action, texture (softness, fine appendages or salt grain), scent/ taste, natural appearence, vibration or a combination of all or any of them? If so, which and why?

Then it occurred to me that of the hundreds of plastics I've bought or made that have worked at one time or other, those that work year after year, have something fish notice, become curious about and eventually may decide to eat. You can see what I'm talking about on YouTube from the many underwater videos using AquaView. Just do a search.

First of all, artificial baits rarely have to be a detailed copy of the real thing to catch fish. An example is that Mad Man Craws never outproduce, usually underproduce a skirted jig and trailer and they are exact copies of crayfish!

Scent is a 50/50 proposition as an attractor. I know that after one fish hits a live worm, others soon come around. Is it the bait or something about the turned-on fish that infects other nearby fish to a higher aggression level? Feeding frenzies start from somewhere and most likely with one feeding fish!

If you want to see a perfect example of this, a YouTube video pictures an inactive perch going after a salted minnow after staring at it for a minute and then finally attacking it when jigged off bottom. A half a dozen others soon join in like sharks to chum. Some insist the salt in the minnow is a factor, but I've disproven that idea time after time using salted/scented and unsalted/scented plastics with no difference in catch rate.

This leaves the other things - size, action, appearence such as shape and color, texture and vibration.

When a company markets a new lure, the hype is usually about how natural the bait is or what it represents to a fish. If fish could speak English, I still doubt we could comprehend them or come away satisfied with why fish hit artificials. Nature is somewhat random and generalities are all we have to go by, therefore, I chose to go with CONTRAST as the most applicable generalization of why all fish bite lures.

Fish feel a lures presence with it's lateral line and can locate prey with it in the dark or in muddy water. A proven FACT! The lateral line indicates size, speed, direction and action of whatever swims within range, similar to SONAR but more advanced. Fish sight can not produce 3D images detecting an objects length width or breadth like that if humans, but one eye and the lateral line do so in combination. (Remember, bass's eyes are on both sides of it's head and have limited forward range of motion or view.)

The closer in proximity a fish is to a lure, the more both lateral line a vision together allow it to feel, see and evaluate the lure as a potential food source.

Active fish aren't chossy (most of the time), so why would a food-bloated or semi active fish eat a lure? - lure CONTRAST and the fish's nature combined.

Look at all the designs in any catalog and note which lures have worked for you. Most don't resemble anything in nature any more than my little pinky. Also, bullies abound in the wild and many eat their victims just because they can! In any predator/ prey relationship, size matters and not in a match the hatch kind of way. Small prey is easily captured and swallowed and it's believed fish conserve energy like no hybrid car ever made so they'll always have reserves to eat or run. The easier to swallow and slower the meal, the more attractive to a fish. Most freshwater fish do not like the chase or chase very far (except pike).

Is natural motion important? I think it can be far more important than lure appearence or color at times. For example, I pour my minnow type bait, usually in one or two colors. I could catch fish in most water clarities all day long in green pumpkin with green and black flakes, so using a natural color is not all that important. It's the incredible minnow-like motion that generations of fish have imprinted in their brains that they recognize and accept the lure as prey, minus visual details such as scales, color and eyes.

A minnow alone stands out (again high contrast in an area with no other prey) and fish will at least eye-ball an intruder (your lure) with curiousity - the first step in the bite sequence,not as important for a reflex strike.

But unnatural motion, noise, color patterns and shapes are also attractors. Creature baits such as Zoom's Brush Hog or the Sweet Beaver exhibit an unnatural profile and tail action. Again contrast is key and the general appearance of both designs is buggy if anything. When you think about it, anything that is kind of like another thing is an abstract of it and nature's abstracts (lures) are what fish fall for.

Noise in nature contrasts with natural peace and quiet like a bullhorn at a funeral. Certain noises attract attention, especially strange noises. A swishing Zara Spook, a plop plopping Jitterbug, a clacking Rat L Trap and sputtering buzz bait all exhibit irritating noises fish seem to be attracted to. Use your imagination to compare what in nature any of them sound like, but I'd just as soon not. Those lures have caught thousands of bass and pike for one simple fact - they all produce vibrations and a rukus not found in nature.

Forty years of fishing has demonstrated a thousand situations where contrast matters. Consider the idea of the potential of CONTRAST of a lure design and be skeptical of manufacturer or sponsored pro claims. I own over a thousand lures and will probably give away most of them to friends and relatives having fallen for the hype myself year after new year.

Too many choices make life (and fishing) confusing. Far better using your time locating fish with lures you have confidence and experience in than load you tackle box with 60 pounds of lures, many which do the same thing.

Formerly known as SenkoSam

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