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Bass In The Rivers
Moving waters mystify many lake and reservoir bass anglers. With a little effort to learn the current, you'll catch more and take your show on the road. (June 2007) ... [+] Full Article
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Texas Sportsman
Don't Tell The Bass It's Old-Fashioned!
They may be old-fashioned lures, but the bass of today don't know that some baits are flashes from the past. Let's see what these experts say about catching bass with some of the old-time favorites. You could be surprised!

Some things never go out of style -- manners, rock and roll, old fishing lures and catching more bass than your buddies, to name only a few. They live on through the years, displaying a life of their own. If anything, they get better with age.

Old redheaded Jitterbugs can still fool bass. This largemouth didn't know the lure was out of style! Photo by Ed Harp.

We can't do much about manners and your appreciation for rock and roll. You either got 'em or you don't. We can, however, do something about old fishing lures and out-fishing your buddies. It's a matter of changing your perspective, of looking at the fish's world through its eyes -- eyes that haven't changed much for about 1,000 years or more.

To make that change, it's important to understand why lures run hot and cold, or why some catch fish for a while and then seem to lose their appeal. That's really not as complicated as it may sound. It really isn't so much that the lures lose their appeal as it is that circumstances change.

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First there's marketing. The fishing industry offers new products on a continuous basis. We all think they are better than what we have. In many cases, that's true. They often are better and catch more fish. But there can be a place for older lures, as well.

We can't discount conditioning the fish either. Modern fishing pressure is heavy. The fish see nearly every lure on this planet every weekend. That's no small thing. They may not be as smart as us, but they do finally figure it out. It's a form of learning.

Throw the same lure in the same spot, retrieve it in the same way day after day and they finally get the message: "This isn't something to eat. My friends got stuck, and something happened to them. I'm not sure what it was, but it didn't look like fun to me. I'll avoid it next time."

And so we switch lures. That's not hard to do in our sport. There are bazillions of lures on the market; all we need to do is go to the local tackle shop or discount store.

The thing many anglers forget is that "new" to the fish means something different than it does to us. When it's new to them, it means that they haven't seen it before, haven't been stuck by the hooks and haven't watched their cousins go skyward. They learn only from what happens to them in the here and now, not by what others pass down to them from generation to generation.

And therein is the difference between them and us -- or maybe should be the difference is the better way to put it. Unfortunately, some of us learn no differently than the fish, in that we don't learn from past generations. But some people do learn. That's what makes them different. Professional bass angler Kevin VanDam is one of them. His experience at the 2005 CITGO BASS Masters Classic should teach us all a lesson. The fishing was real tough. Few limits were weighed and the fish were small.

VanDam understands that lures are tools and that the fish don't care if they are old or new. The fish only cares if a particular bait evokes a predator response. And so, to fool bass that were relating to current-breaking structure, he reached for a lure that was old, had been around for years and that he didn't use very often. It was old to him, but not to the fish.

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