Elvis knew how to use shock and gyration (and sound -- I’ll get to that) to attract attention. You can too……to attract Largemouth and Striped Bass. And, yes that’s not really Elvis. Seems there are no free pictures of him.If you ever fished for Largemouth Bass you are probably familiar with spinner baits and buzz baits, or Mepps spoons for that matter. They all use a rotating blade to reflect light, and more importantly, to make noise and vibrate. Think of a mini explosion under water. Water transmits sound approximately five times better than air. Sound and vibrations are just different frequency “signals” passing through the water. Think of them as AM and FM radio channels and the fish as the radio. Noise is a lot “louder” underwater and the “signals” travel much further than they do in air. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here but fish can both “hear” and “feel” sound and vibration and use it to navigate their environment and locate food. That’s why buzz and spinner baits work. They attract the fish’s attention and ultimately evoke a reaction strike, not because they look like any naturally occurring bait fish. They don’t.
Striped Bass are the ultimate God-made radio receiver, or one hell of a sophisticated result of Darwinian evolution, depending on your point of view. Their lateral lines are actually an array of sensors culminating in the fish’s ear that the bass use to sense sound, vibration, and water pressure. Imagine you could use most of our body to hear, not just your ear -- a Striped Bass can.I’m ultimately going to get to how to fish with a new line of Striped Bass fly fishing products I’m helping to design, but for now let’s stick to a common technique used around Cape Cod and New England to catch bass: wire line jigging. Do you really think that a pink parachute jig looks like a squid? I’ve never seen a squid wearing a pink skirt. That is an oversimplification, and yes they do have the right profile and if you jig them right, they “swim” like a squid……………but probably more importantly the wire line acts like a piano wire in the water (it makes sound) and the jig sets off a shock wave when you jerk it through the water……….and by the way, most tackle shops rig wire line reels with long monofilament leaders because tying a leader to wire line using an Albright knot is not easy for the average fisherman. Long leaders are convenient because changing lures typically necessitates shortening the leader. A long leader will last a while before you need a new one. But you are perhaps shooting yourself in the foot if you use one. Mono stretches by nature and every time you catch a fish it weakens a bit, and, long leaders stretch more than short leaders. This results in less “snap” in the jig and correspondingly less of a shock wave. Think of a dinner bell with an attenuated ring. You might not be able to hear it and thereby miss dinner. In my next blog post I’ll discuss how to avoid that.
P.S. Big Striped Bass are all females. Hence the “attracting females” references in the blog post title.