In my last article “Understanding Bass Part-1” I covered a bit of information about a few of the “key factors” that an angler should really know about the bass when it comes to becoming a more successful angler such as: Food, Oxygen, and Cover which a bass needs to survive, as well as water temperatures and how it effects bass, along with a few others to help you increase your knowledge in the field of Bass fishing. In this article I will cover a few more key factors to give you a broader knowledge when it comes to understanding bass such as the senses of a bass. All of these elements and factors are extremely important to know if you wish to become a more successful angler. Just look at it this way, it’s like a jig-saw puzzle. The more pieces of the puzzle you put together, the more you will see the picture as a whole. “What’s that mean?” Putting it in simple terms, the more you understand the bass, why it does things when it does, where it goes during different seasons, how a bass reacts under certain circumstances, and areas where bass are more likely to be found on different bodies of water will definitely help you when it comes to saving precious fishing time as well as being a much more productive angler.
To start with we will cover just how important the senses of a bass really are and try to gain a better picture of why bass acts certain ways by the use of their senses. SIGHT….. A bass has a very acute sense of site (or vision) and can see very well in just about any water color condition as well as being able to see at night. How well can a bass see at night? For example, sometimes on a full moon when it really gets bright from the light of the moon to where you can almost read a newspaper outside, a bass can see that good in the darkest of pitch. How is this possible? The eyes of a bass have rods and cones which naturally adjust under different light conditions (the cones and rods will retract and extend making a natural adjustment for their vision.) Another factor is that a bass doesn’t have any eyelids like you or I and because of a bass not having eyelids overlong exposure to the suns rays will cause a bass eventually to develop cataracts and go blind. (One reason why cover is so important to a bass during bright sunny days or (Bluebird Sky conditions!) A bass can see in most all water colors (clear, semi-stained, stained, murky, and even muddy colors) but when the vision of a bass is restricted the other senses will take over. HEARING & FEELING….. A bass’s hearing and feeling are synonymous with each other, in other words I guess you might say that they hear and feel at the same time.
Unlike you or I where we may hold a conversation with another person understanding what is being said, a bass hears and feels the vibration from the different sounds and movements in the water. Now, different sounds will cause different pitches that send vibrations and a bass will get familiar with certain sounds such as pitches and vibrations made from natural living forage, as well being able to feel any displacement of water within a close proximity of a bass caused by even the slightest movement. I’ll give you a example: Let’s take a “Carolina Rig” for instance. The Carolina Rig has several different purposes as far as pattern and technique goes but the most crucial part of this rig is the sound! (The TICKER!) that’s on the rig. We talked earlier in the prior article “Understanding Bass Part-1” about the most desired food of a bass being a Crawfish (Crawdad, Crayfish, etc.) When a Crawfish moves in the water it will cause a clicking sound (vibration) from the cartilage in it’s tail. This clicking sound sends a vibration through the water and alerts a bass that a natural food source is in the area, the bass moves closer to this sound, then if the presentation of the bait is just right you can probably catch the bass. A bass has a natural radar system built within it and can zero in on just about any movement or sound made within the water. Now, when you work a Carolina Rig in the water, the slightest movement of the ticker made by either: “Glass & Brass Beads”, “B-B Chambers”, “Two Glass Beads” Etc…. this sound is designed to replicate the movement (vibration) of a natural live Crawfish and will alert a bass that a natural forage bait is in it’s area. As far as noise (or sound) baits go, like (Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Spots, Rattled Spinnerbaits, etc.)
Sound travels further in the water than a displacement of water caused by a bait without any sound added to it. The reason noise baits work so well is that a bass can hear them at greater distances and can travel further to investigate the sounds made from these types of baits, then when close enough to the bait, the sight and taste senses will take precedence over the feeling or hearing senses….. TASTE & SMELL….. A bass has taste buds outside it’s mouth as well as inside of it. Now just think a minute!…. that means that a bass can taste an object before it even gets in it’s mouth. The taste and smell of a bass are once again synonymous with each other and that a bass smells and tastes at the same time. Now, how acute is a bass’s sense of taste and or smell? A few years back a study was conducted of the taste and smell of a bass in a tank of 100 gallons of water. In this study the bass was found to be able to taste (or smell) 1-200th of a drop of a substance in the 100 gallon water tank (what an amazing sense of taste and smell.) Well, what does this have to do with bass? If you want to be a successful angler it means a great deal. Now let’s put this in anglers terms okay? If a bass can scent a bait that is not a pleasing or acceptable taste or smell, if it does put it in it’s mouth it will spit it right back out within 1 to 3 seconds (not much time to set a hook right?) but, if the bass accepts the taste or smell and puts it in it’s mouth it can hold it up to as long as 30 seconds before spitting it out (much more time to set the hook!) To sum up the taste and smell segment, here are a few hints to help you understand why you may be getting those quick hits and not catching any fish: Always wash your hands before you go fishing….. Fill up your boat with gas and oil the night before you go fishing….. Use natural forage formulas or a formula that has been tested and proven to work….. Try to use a odor free soap or a scent neutralizer….. Just these steps can make a world of difference when it comes to catching more bass. I have had many students at my bass fishing school that use these steps above and can’t believe the difference it can make. Understanding a bass is just as important to a angler as having his or her fishing rod in their hand. So many anglers seem to have a rough time not knowing how to fish under different conditions, how to use baits properly, what to buy and what not to buy, how to locate bass, what type of equipment is really necessary, and on and on! I teach all this and much more at my 3-Day “On-Water” Bass Fishing School. It is worth an education in bass angling, especially if one wants to become more successful at it. I am very proud to have helped some of my former students because some of them are constant money winners in tournament fishing as well as being much more consistent at catching bass. Most anybody at any given time can catch a bass but they usually can’t tell you why!
Roger Lee Brown