There are a few well known fishing axioms when it comes to bass. I’m going to discuss one of them that was recently explored by a study and proven to hold water.
It is simply this: Bass learn to avoid certain lures
What does this mean to the average angler? It means that in a given body of water, you need to throw something that the bass haven’t ‘seen’ before. For example, I have fished in my local ponds for years. Every so often, I’ll try a bait that I’ve not used before, and it’ll work like magic for a few outings, then the bass just won’t hit it anymore. Granted, there are many different styles/classes of baits, and so many other variables that you’ll need to put a little thought into the class of bait and presentation you should be using to fit the conditions. Once you’ve settled on a presentation method and style of bait that you think will work well in your current environment, you can experiment with a variety of similar baits. It could be one of the same baits you’ve always thrown, but as simple as trying it in a new color. It could also be a competing bait from a different manufacturer – one that is just different enough in leg placement, action, etc… One example for me is that I’m a fan of Zoom’s brush hog baits. In my local ponds, the fish hardly bite a brush hog anymore. Probably because my friends and I have caught tons of bass with it in those same ponds over the past few years. My wife bought me a few baits as stocking stuffers last Christmas. One of them was a package of Strike King’s Perfect Plastics KVD Game Hawg. It is a very similar style of bait, but just different enough from what I’ve thrown in the past that I now catch fish with a hog style creature bait in my local ponds again. This doesn’t just apply to creature style soft plastics. This translates to any style of bait you usually throw – hard baits, swim baits, spinner baits, lipless cranks, jigs, etc…
This is even more important when targeting large or lunker bass! These fish are older and more experienced – I.e. they’ve seen a lot of baits in their day, and they’ve learned to avoid what has caught them in the past. So you’ve really got to throw something at them that is pretty different from what everyone else has shown them.
Think about it. This is why there are always 100 different variations of essentially the same basic lure design, and different manufacturers make essentially the same lure in exclusive colors. This is where trying similar baits from smaller manufacturers can really pay off big! They can’t just copy a bait outright, due to patents and all. They have to add a few variations to the basic lure design to make it just different enough to avoid a lawsuit.
Use this knowledge to your advantage. Find and use a competitor’s lure of similar design at your favorite fishing hole next time. The more variation from your favourite lure design, the better.
Keep in mind that what I’m talking about here applies to all sizes of water bodies (E.g. Ponds, Lakes, Rivers, Streams), and the lure avoidance becomes increasingly pronounced in smaller bodies of water such as ponds and smaller lakes.
Good luck out there, and let me know if it works out for you!