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Garry2Rs

Let's talk conditioning...in fish.

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In a couple of resent threads the idea that new techniques, new baits and especially shiny new equipment is primarily meant to catch anglers. Fellow gear-hog JohnF. pointed out that you can't "buy a game," and I learned a new description for my condition...G.A.S...WINK.

 

This all goes hand in hand with the old saw about the guy, in the back of the boat with his old tackle, out-fishing the newbie with all the latest whiz-bang toys. I won't dispute that experience and knowledge coupled with an ability to actually use the equipment are paramount, so there might be a grain of truth in those opinions.

 

However I am skeptical about the opinions of those who denounces high-end toys, but indicates they have never tried them...How do they know that their Timex is as good as a Rolex? Who said a Porsche 911 is nothing more than a souped up, stomped-on, over priced VW Beetle? Have they taken one for a spin?

 

Anyway, this whole idea of new and improved VS. tried and true got my off the couch to do a little research into conditioning...like Pavlov's dogs and all that jazz...but as it pertains to fish. Articles by professional anglers seem to discuss “conditioning” all the time, typically focusing on how Bass can learn to avoid the lure types used by the majority of anglers on any given body of water.

 

We can probably all recall some new bait, or colour, that was really hot one year, but faded to mediocrity the next.

What Happened?

I found a story that said that in the laboratory scientists have determined that Bass can distinguish between identical targets, learning quickly to strike the one that releases food and learning just as quickly to avoid the one that gives them an electric shock.

 

Okay that was in the lab, but what about in in nature?

Looking at the big picture, some fish will be harvested, some will be released, some will escape and some will be too cautious to bite at all. This would suggest that the most aggressive specimens will be taken out of the lake, and the survivors might become more and more cautious. Therefore I think that conditioning occurs, in nature just like in the lab.

Bass learn to avoid things that led them to bad experiences in the past.

Therefore, brother gear-hogs rejoice! the newest and latest baits just might catch more fish after all.

 

One last thought:

I read one time about somebody discovering that their Dad's tackle box of 40 year old lures worked great on his home lake. These old style baits probably hadn't been seen by today's crop of fish. And, that my gear-hog friends is our excuse to never throw anything away!

In time, everything "old" is "new " again...grin.

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I've always believed in tossing something totally against the grain on conditioned fish. Hell the musky I encountered at Eagle Lake were so conditioned to black suicks they treat 'em like plays toys....LOL

 

Anyway you might find this study intersting Garry. :D

 

Largemouth bass vulnerability to being caught by anglers a heritable trait

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Great point! Time for me to hit my dad's tackle box next time I go to the cottage! ;):D

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There's lots of evidence that small brained critters like fish can be conditioned. What is a response to a matched hatch but exactly that? So if the fish in a certain have become attuned to a certain colour or style of lure why not go with the flow. And if the aggravation of something new invading their space works, then go with that too.

 

There's a book that I was forced to read in university, The Territorial Imperative by Robert Ardrey, that deals with territoriality, instinct and conditioning in animals. I haven't read it for years but I think I might dig it out again just to see what he had to say about this sort of behaviour. Even if you don't care about fish conditioning this is an interesting read for hunters, animal owners, etc.

 

JF

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Well said and what you did say made a lot of cents . I was watching a older In-Fisherman video and Doug was discussing this older bass rig called the Swimming worm. He was using it and having great success, now same deal, a older bait/technique (20 years ago said by him)with great success. Something simple as a constant wide spin to a straight standard worm triggers fish. But looking at things now we need rattles, scent, suspending baits, erratic action, LPT and other feeding stimulants to trigger fish....baits on steroids is a better name for the "normal baits we use today". Taking a step back will put many anglers forward.

 

 

MTBF

Edited by Mike The Bass Fisher

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Maybe we should go back to the oldest baits of all - a worm, minnow, frog or crayfish on a plain hook. :unsure:

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Jocko brings up a good point. Live bait properly presented is a consisted producer. Why don't they get conditioned to the sight of the line, lead, leader, hooks, etc. ?

 

I guess maybe they do.

 

I can tell you though that after I catch two or three bass in a row off my dock I have a hard time catching another on that same bait unless I put it away for a couple of weeks or more.

 

Also, there's been a few times when fishing for smallies that I was only getting little ones. I noticed as my chum was fighting some of these little bass that as they puked up crayfish or whatever, that much bigger (possibly "conditioned") bass would shoot up and inhale the upchuck. I threw the same jig that the big ones previously refused in the wake of the puking little guy, and I would often hook one of the biggins before they could figure out my jig was something they didn't want. I guess you can always find a way to trick 'em.

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Hmm, i know that this thread is about conditioning in fish. But I was conditioned to buy gear :D.

 

man i don't know what I would do when carp decides that corn is no good anymore.

Edited by Victor

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Great topic!

 

I don't know the actual extent to which conditioning occurs and I know there are other variables included in lures being hot or not, BUT... I can say I've noticed the productivity of some lures decrease over the years on certain bodies of water, such as the spinnerbait for bass. Sure you still catch fish with them, but not as many as before (this is speaking on average, b/c there are still times when bass are extremely active and hit most lures). See guys throwing bright pink senko's and other plastics? Times change on certain bodies of water and techniques need to be adjusted. I bet in twenty-five years the thought of bass fisherman going to a tube or a senko will be a little outlandish to some and there will be new go-to techniques that will be the staple.

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Maybe we should go back to the oldest baits of all - a worm, minnow, frog or crayfish on a plain hook. :unsure:

 

Yeah... i like this idea... but how do I keep the damned frogs from jumping outa my back pockets :P

 

Those crayfish are a bit "touchy" too :angry:

 

Ahhh.. the lovely dew worm... yaaah that's it... that's the ticket .... :D

 

botbot and i love using them for just about everything we try fishing for..

 

except the pike of course... and soon I am gonna try one on them as i am getting awful tired ( see broke) from throwing lure after lure after lure away for those slimy buggers <_<

Edited by splashhopper

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it's all the fault of the catch and release crowd :D

 

botbot's grandma always looked at me like this > :blink: when i would "release " them

 

she said, "bring them home, don;t you know how many of our relatives back home i nthe Phillipines we could feed with those " ! :o

 

damned regs...

 

lol

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The degree bass become conditioned is dependant on the amount of fishing pressure with a given bait as well as overall pressure and the nature of the bait ie. they will shy from a spinnerbait more readily than say a senko due to the lateral line signature differences and the closer resemblance to natural prey the senko represents.All this being said I know one guy that will be doing alittle old school this yr. :) (red shad pwr worm:)

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Yeah... i like this idea... but how do I keep the damned frogs from jumping outa my back pockets :P

 

Try cutting a leg off your wife's panty hose and keep your frogs in it...I used to use a nylon stocking but you only see those in Victoria Secret catalogues and speciallty shops... :lol:

Edited by Beans

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Don't carry the stocking in your pocket when you go to town.

Stocking masks qualify as burglary tools!

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used to use a nylon stocking but you only see those in Victoria Secret catalogues and speciallty shops... :lol:

 

Try Walmart. You'll be surprised.

 

No kidding... there's a whole rack of stockings. (Maybe your wife steered you clear of it - didn't think of the frog-keeping possibilities). :blush:

 

Don't buy the black - they get too hot in the sun!

 

I remember those days when my wife and I were young (and a little more spry :D ), and you couldn't find "frillies" except in Frederick's of Hollywood adverts. Now they're a dime-a-dozen at places like Sears and Walmart.

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