When you smell or taste food you generally eat what you like and reject what you don't like. In many ways fish are just the same with our fishing baits. In fact the palatability of your bait is often the deciding factor in whether you get a bite or not at all!
But what makes a fish bite at a bait and get near enough you hook to get caught anyway? There are very many reasons a fish will investigate and sample a bait or common object. Fish are very highly attuned to their aquatic environment having lots of specialised cells inside and outside the body to detect things like electric fields, sounds and pressure waves, light, movement, smells and tastes of things in the water giving-off myriad signals for the fish to detect.
It is any wonder that we get bites at all with all the aquatic clutter of distracting signals that fish experience all the time. But fish do respond to many things in very tiny levels. Many fish can detect the movements of tiny food items like water fleas swimming around them, and detect their size and density in order to decide whether they are worth the energy expenditure of feeding on. Many omnivorous fish are also opportunistic predators and many is the time carp have been caught on spinners and plugs.
Worms are a very successful bait for many species like catfish and tench, not least because of the movements they make in the water, and any angler who has ever used live bait will agree it works better when it is still actually moving and active! (Dead maggots on the hook do not match-up to fresh live ones for example. ) In the case of worms and maggots it is obvious that many species will reliably instantly chomp on them with no need whatsoever of introducing any free baits into your swim beforehand and this might pose a good question.
Apart from movement there are other things going on. Many fish species have good eyesight up close to things even if they do have an area directly in front of them that might be blind. As long as there is sufficient light then various colours and shades of bait can improve your catch rate and at night luminous glowing baits can make a difference.
Many fish depend on movement instead of sight at night but other signals are used such as reception of minute electrical fields issuing from live creatures for example. Carp depend predominantly upon chemical stimuli along with detection of tiny electrical fields and pressure waves for instance, which all enable these fish to orientate themselves in the water and to locate food. Fish can orient their preferred location by sensing the level of dissolved carbon dioxide (carbonic acid) present in the water, and they are very sensitive to water pH changes. (Fishing bait substances that can elicit pH changes when realised into the water column certainly impact upon fish nearby. )
In the case of bass for instance, they utilise whatever ambient light there is the atmosphere by sitting in dark shady position in the water and waiting for prey fish to silhouette themselves so giving themselves away to the predatory bass. Some fish have more highly developed radar which is similar to the side-scan radar of a submarine. Although dolphins are mammals, you might wonder how they detect sand eels hidden underneath the sand!
Hormones are secreted by fish to identify themselves, to find a mate, to enable tight shoaling behaviour essential for survival, as in young big mouth bass for instance.
But 2 of the most significant aspects of how fish experience their world which we can use to exploit in order to catch, are the olfaction and chemoreception systems. They sound complicated, but basically olfaction is the smell sense and chemoreception is the taste sense and although there is far more to this simplistic description, when combined together, the taste and smell of your bait can truly determine if you will catch or not.
Fish have special receptor cells both externally and internally which electrochemically interact with water-born chemical stimuli. It may not come as a surprise that you can sniff and taste a beef burger and love it one minute, then when you've had 10, a biofeedback mechanism from your stomach to your brain tells you no more please.
Fish have many biofeedback mechanisms and rhythms related to feeding habits and efficient food digestion. Like humans, they regulate how fish get turned on by food, in this case our bits.
What if you could get inside their heads and influence their behaviour from there, that would be cool right!? Well we can easily make baits impact upon fish senses and on their brain chemical and hormones to incite a favourable feeding behaviour response to our baits and hugely improve our chances of catching fish. Just consider this; when you drink plain water why do you prefer a sweet fruit juice or can of Cola. That is the principle I'm talking about.
In carp fishing, there is an over-used phrase that supposedly describes what baits fish prefer: “Sometimes they want ice-cream instead of roast beef. " But why is this an interesting phrase? Well fish can be stimulated into feeding by at least 6 obvious types of stimuli, from sound and movement to hormones and electrical fields, to sight, and others too, but more specifically these.
Fish feeding is stimulated by substances which approximate or mimic substances found naturally in their environment and also those that are not. So teamed with the substances they naturally respond as in their natural diet for instance, there is a gigantic range of substances you can use in your baits.
The trick in many respects in making fishing bait more exciting to fish is to match the stimulating substances found within their specific natural foods and use these perhaps in more refined and much more concentrated form. For example, when fish are processed one stage produces the water soluble fraction which is often high in quality easily digestible fish protein and fish oils. These 2 substances when used together in a dough or paste, pellet or boilie fishing bait work wonders as they are such naturally potent fish feeding triggers. Other aspects of fishmeal can be analysed to see what turns your fish on. Betaine is used very frequently in carp and catfish fishing baits for the same reason.
But do not forget that flavours substances impact upon and enhance the mass of flavours already inherent in a bait. These flavours and their individual components can be detected by the fish in various concentrations and depending on the fish species. One of the most important substances both flavours and betaine interact with and enhance are the amino acids.
If you add gravy or black pepper or salt to a steak it helps you enjoy it just as much as real ice-cream with that rich Tutti Frutti favour that makes you want more and more. The funny thing is that there is far more vitally essential nutrition in the steak and if you were lost in a jungle you would choose to eat a steak rather than eat an ice-cream as soon as you got out. Why you prefer the steak over the ice-cream is because a steak has nutrition you essentially need to stay alive and without the amino acids and trace minerals needed you body would start to rapidly deteriorate.
The fact that over the decades countless big fish from carp and catfish, to bass, trout, pike and even sharks, have fallen to protein based baits rich in fish essential nutrients means that this is a proven basis for big-fish baits. Add to this the benefits of flavours from natural to synthetic, nature-identical to mixtures of many forms, fishing baits can be made to be constantly unique to keep ahead of the fish and keep you catching!
This fishing bait secrets ebooks author has many more fishing and bait edges; just one could impact very significantly on your catches!
By Tim Richardson.
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Tim Richardson is a homemade carp and catfish bait maker and proven big fish angler. His unique bait making and enhancing fishing secrets guides are seriously multiplying their readers big fish catches in over 45 countries so visit this unique secrets site right NOW!