There is an old saying about fishing that goes “a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.” Although any seasoned angler is likely to agree with this statement, a novice is just as likely to think a bad day fishing is a good reason to find a different hobby.
So how do you help insure that your fishing experience is a positive one? For starters you want to catch fish and the first step to catching fish is insuring you are using the correct lure.
What does a lure do?
All lures are designed to do two things. First, attract fish by getting their attention. Second, convince the fish that the lure is an easy meal. This is accomplished by appealing to the fish’s senses of sight, sound and smell. Sight
Like most predators fish use multiple senses when hunting their prey. However, fish also have well developed eyesight and when possible will identify prey by sight first. Therefore, your offering needs to resemble something the fish are already interested in eating. This is accomplished by doing what fly fishermen call “matching the hatch”. Simply put it means using lures that match the natural food you can see in the water when and where you are fishing.
Matching the hatch is especially important when fishing in clear, shallow water as this is when visibility will be greatest. In darker water the fish may use other senses to initially locate a meal, but in the end sight will be important in zeroing in for the kill. Silver and gold are always good choices when it comes to color, as this matches the color of natural bait. If you decide to add additional color to your lure a good rule of thumb is dark in clear water and bright in dark water.
While fish do not hear in the same manner as your or I they do feel the vibrations sound and movement produces. When bait is not readily visible, either due to distance or water conditions, this vibration may be what bring the fish close enough to your lure to see it and decide it may be a meal.
Crank baits, spinners and buzz baits often incorporate vibration into their design. The internal rattles or beads hitting each other and the propeller spinning are what make these lures perform better in particular conditions. If a lure does not include a vibration mechanism you can add one by simply adding plastic beads, or even sliding weights, to the line so they bang against each other when retrieved.
Sharks are the greatest predator in the fish family and are said to be able to detect a single drop of blood from extreme distances. While this sense of smell may not be as refined in fresh water game fish it is still present. Like sound, adding smell to your lure can be the extra little bit that draws fish out of cover or from a distance so it can see your offering.
Artificial scents are most effective when used in conjunction with slow moving lures, such as soft plastics. This is not to say that adding scent to another slow moving lure will not add some additional fish to your live well, but you cannot soak your buzz bait in fish oil and expect a bass to cross an acre of open water to take it.
Liquid scents should include two properties – a scent the fish will want to eat and the ability to leave a strong scent trail while not washing off the lure after a cast or two. In most cases the best answer is a fish oil based scent. These substances tend to leave a strong, long lasting trail behind the lure, allowing fish to track it, and being oil based tend to stick to anything you put them on. They also offer a scent that fish are familiar with, although adding garlic or cheese “flavor” often makes them even more appealing.
Good luck and good fishing!