John's Journal...


How Bass Learn

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Keith Jones, director of fish research for the Pure Fishing Laboratory in Spirit Lake, Iowa, has been studying bass for over 16 years. He’s an expert in the field of bass behavior. Jones’ scientific research involves finding out what factors will make bass attack lures and baits.

Click to enlargeHow quickly do bass wise-up to a lure? Jones explains, “When we first set up our laboratory to study lures, we discovered that we were using a large number of fish. After each experiment, we had to purchase more fish to test new products.” Originally the bass used at the fisheries laboratory cost $3 to $5 for one 3/4-pound fish. Jones wanted to know if he could reduce his expense by using the bass for more than one experiment. He knew he had to determine:
* how bass learned about lures.
* how quickly the bass recognized that a lure wasn’t food.
* how long bass could remember that a particular lure wasn’t food and that they shouldn’t attempt to eat it again.

Click to enlargeIf bass couldn’t remember that a lure wasn’t food, then Jones could use the same fish repeatedly for his experiments. “Our tests rely on bass being naïve,” Jones says. “We purposefully buy farm-raised bass that we know have never seen lures and probably not natural bait before. They’ve only seen artificial food in pellet form. We want to use this kind of fish because they have no knowledge of lures or natural bait. These naïve bass enable us to learn what triggers their natural response to feed.”

Click to enlarge


Check back each day this week for more about BASS BEHAVIOR WITH DR. KEITH JONES

Day 1: How Bass Learn
Day 2: The Lure Test
Day 3: The Lure Test Continued
Day 4: Why Old Baits Catch Bass Today
Day 5: Why Aren’t Old Lures Reintroduced?



Entry 344, Day 1