Understanding Bass Part-1
(By "Roger Lee
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.
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, simi-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
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, it 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
1. Always wash your hands before you go fishing.....
2. Fill up your boat with gas and oil the night before you go fishing.....
3. Use natural forage formulas or a formula that has been tested and proven
4. 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! If you would like to enroll for the
3-Day Bass Fishing School or just take a charter (guided fishing trip) on
two of the best lakes in the nation (Lake Champlain & Lake George, located
upstate NY) please visit my site(s) at
information or you may Email me at
or you may phone me at (518) 597-4240
I hope this article may shed some light when it comes to applying
presentations, techniques, and knowledge in your future bass fishing
Until next time!..... Take Care & God Bless!..."The Bass Coach" Roger Lee