12/23/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Midges


Matching Naturals - Other Species
Continuing with Sir Hugo's questions,

Question #5:  Fish the Naturals, and the naturals action.  In Bass fishing:  the
Worm, the Pig & Jig, the buzz bait, The “safety pin” spinner bait, are NOT
NATURAL imitations of bass food. These baits” are used 25% or more of the time
in tournaments, whats going on, any relationship to trout fishing be made of these
un-natural bait catching a lot  of fish?

( footnote: in your 600,000+ words you’ve written in your articles, somewhere In
there you mentioned your approach is always similar, Match what the naturals eat,
whether salt water or fresh water)

Starting with your last note, you are correct in what you have found regarding
matching the naturals. It doesn't take anyone very long that earns their lively-hood
from fishing, to learn that the first thing you need to do is to learn all about the food
the particular species of fish eats. With only a few exceptions, when any fish is
caught by a hook, it was feeding. It doesn't matter if it's a carp or mullet that eats
grass, or a shark that eats almost anything. That's the entire concept of
sportsfishing - imitate the food the fish eats with the natural bait itself, a dead
natural bait or an artificial imitation of it. It's also the first and most important thing
for non-netting, commercial fisherman. Often, they spend more time and effort
acquiring the bait or food the particular fish eats than they do catching the fish. This
same thing can be true of sportfishing. Catching live poggies (menhaden) and
ribbonfish for king mackerel tournaments is an example. When you are fly fishing for
trout, or any other species, that should be your utmost concern - Imitating the
naturals the fish eat. The more you know about the food and how, when, where to
imitate it, the higher your odds of success. When anglers attempt to shortcut this
process and just select lures or flies that they hear are hot or that are
recommended without knowing much about what the behavior of the food the lure or
fly is suppose to imitate, it usually doesn't take long for them to be disappointed with
the results. The fact this method sometimes works, is what muddies up the minds of
many anglers. This is especially true of fly fishing the Smokies in fast pocked water.

Before I go any farther, let me point out that imitating any kind of food often
becomes more of a matter of imitating the behavior of the food than the replication
of the appearance of the food itself.

Now getting back to the first part of the question regarding bass fishing, the worm,
pig and jig and buzz baits do actually imitate food bass eat but there's another
important element involved. There are also factors involved that don't always
directly relate to some species of trout. First of all, in general, bass are far more
opportunistic than trout. Their behavior also depends greatly on their habitat. For
example, there's a huge difference in bass found in rivers than those found in lakes.
There's a huge difference in those found in coastal rivers with tidal influence.
There's a huge difference in the species of bass as well as trout, of course. There's
a huge difference in bass in different types of lakes. Basically, those in lowland
reservoirs are completely different from those in natural lakes. Deep clear, highland
lakes are also very different. To get into how these lures you mentioned function
greatly involves getting into the details of these various types of water. When
conditions are excellent, mediocre anglers can succeed quite well at times. This isn't
just true of the Smokies and of trout fishing. Success is sometimes your biggest
mental deterrent. If you rely to much on any one thing, it most likely will fail you.

In general, there's yet another big factor that's almost always involved. It's water
color and light penetration. The spinner and buzz baits you mention, in general,
function much better in off-color water. To shorten this quickly, when professional
bass anglers go to a lake, the first thing they look for is off-color water. It's a great
bennefit even when it's borderline pure muddy. The reason is simple. You can fool
the bass much easier. They are attracted by sound much more than trout and they
don't rely on closely examining anything they eat. As mentioned recently, they hide
and attack food that pases close by  such as a spinnerbait by a log, stump or bush.

In general, a safety pin type spinner bait and a buzz bait are baitfish to bass. The jig
and trailer (skirt, plastic trailer, etc.) part of the lure actually resembles a small fish
on both spinnerbaits and jig and pig lures. A bass isn't the smartest animal in the
World. It is attracted by the sound and flash of the spinnerbait blades but in layman
terms, doesn't have sense enough to know that's why it spotted the fish (the jig and
trailer). This works with other species like pike and muskie. Years ago, Ed Katric
and I invented a saltwater spinnerbait and sold them to tackle shops in Gulf of
Mexico area for king mackerel anglers. They outproduced other age old spoons and
spoon combination cigar minnow (round-eye scad) rigs. They were expensive to
make and tore up easily and were not liked that well due to the cost, but they
worked great. Back to the bass, just so I don't get clobbered by a bass angler,
there's another element to spinnerbaits that works in very clear lakes at times. I first
learned this from Charlie Campbell (Tracker Boats) thirty years ago on bull Shoals
Lake Arkansas, except we ran into Missouri where he was from. He buzzed white on
white spinnerbaits close to a vertical bluff in very deep clear water and when there
were low light conditions, cloudy, etc., the spotted bass would come up from deep
water a long way and blast the spinner. I'm sure the bass thought it was a shad. I
used that in clear lakes that were similar at times for many years successfully.

I heard Ray Scott, founder of BASS, tell it like this one time. His idea of how a
spinnerbait worked was this. If you were sitting in your living room in the dark one
nigh, half asleep watching TV and a stranger out of no where came through the
front door and ran right up to the couch you were resting on, you may jump up and
knock him in the head with your fist before you even realized what you were doing.
Ray could make it much more elaborated than that, but you get the point. This is
called an instinctive reaction strike and sometimes a reflex action strike. This type of
strike is one of the most important elements of bass fishing. For example, when a
bass in hiding in a bush and a spinnerbait runs right by its nose, it will often attack it
hungry or not. If the water is stained just enough to limit the visibility of the bass and
it happens in a split second, it works often. The Pig and Jig works best under this
scenario. It's best fished almost vertically by flippin in thick cover. In water with a
slight stain or low lighting conditions, it too can appear to a bass to be a baitfish.
This is a good cold water bait because when you cannot feel the often easy take or
strike, the pork rind feels natural to the bass and they won't drop is so quickly. I
could go on and on but is a trout website and I don't want my readers to all leave
disappointed with the subject. Just remember.....Presentation is the big factor and
everything gets down to timing. Toss your poor imitation of a sulphur mayfly dun in a
slow moving spring creek and watch the trout ignore it.











Copyright 2010 James Marsh