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lurecrafter
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The visual effect is everything in my book. This old design plastic worm has been copied by many companies which features a flat body and tail with segments that capture light easily that are detected by fish:

The above is very similar to Mann's Jelly Worm which I shortened years ago, rigged on a light jig head and caught smallmouth in a river locally.

Being flat rather than round, allows the least imparted action to get the subtle quiver I feel makes it a great design. Good thing I recently found an aluminum mold to make them in any color.
 

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I love these type of threads because it gives me an insight on how anglers think. But what does it all mean in the end? Nothing (IMO) unless we can interview Mr. Bass directly.

Until then, my philosophy is to put the bait in front of their nose and you'll get bit the majority of the time (just my opinion/experience of course). So, in short, there are no right or wrong answers. Continue doing what successfully works for you!
 

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lurecrafter
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This is what I replied to an email to a friend who also makes and test lures:

As usual John you have a way with words in particular : Finding triggers in our lures for inciting fish reaction.
Answer:
The more we experiment with lure action and shape and the more fish we catch fish on any of a huge variety of lures, the more I tend to look at 'triggers' as inborn to all finny creatures, no matter the trigger, no matter the fish species.To survive, nature endows animals the senses required to survive. Cats in general have night vision and a keen sense of odor detection - same for dogs. Both animals are capable of swift responses to what may be food or danger.

But I consider fish responses to stimuli a bit differently considering their aquatic environment which can change by the hour as much as by the season. More than that, the sense of vision coupled with the lateral line and auditory sense are tuned to specific actions similar to a robot that has no choice but to follow its programming : DNA encoded provocations if you will.

Seasonal water conditions dictate where fish locate, when they spawn and when they move to deeper water. High fish activity is infectious, meaning when many fish are in a irritable state and strike lures, other fish become so in one or more areas. Choice is not the reason.

So when you (JohnM) and I come up with new strike-provoking triggers, we primarily come upon those already in a DNA encoded program that nature intended for fish to sense and cause (hopefully) an involuntary response. Lure recognition or thought of any kind is non-existent. (in our opinion)

For example: jig hair action in water is an example of a trigger that means nothing to a fish except that its programming indicates:1. vulnerability; 2. the oblivious state of the object being observed; and then 3. sometimes an instantaneous strike just for the hell of it! As a comparison to humans, consumption becomes my automatic goal when I smell and see a succulent T-bone steak after having fasted for a day, whereas a fish that has a lure such as a plastic worm in their gullets, sticking half way out of their mouths, may still attack a lure - gluttony NOT the reason. (I've seen this a few times.)

I by no means believe the lure or any characteristic of it represents anything -especially a prey animal considering all of the weird, unnatural lure shapes, actions and colors that provoke strikes. Whether or not fish know a real minnow from a simulated minnow in my book is immaterial and not relevant to the lure crafter (or at least it shouldn't be). It's like saying fish recognize a painted eye as a real eye.

In fact when I think of all the lures I've caught fish on for over 50 years, I now see the joke was played to perfection by every company as well as the lure designers working for them. Anglers dumb enough to fall for the match/recognition idea spent millions of dollars hoping fish are prone when seeing a lure swim by or hopping on the bottom is some specific animal. Absolutely nothing about the great majority of lures resemble anything in natural yet many have caught fish for over 100 years beginning with the first mass produced lures.

When companies discontinue excellent lures and promote new ones that maybe aren't so effective, money talks/ reality walks. It's left up to you, I and a slew of present day lurecrafters to find triggers that can never go out of vogue, as if fish are as fickle as humans when it comes to sense stimulating stimuli.

There are example categories of encoded strike provokers, many of which you are familiar with:
Fur: in that category are various fur types depending on the animal - each with its own action given the same presentation
Feather: different types

Silicone/living rubber skirts - totally different than hair or fur in action and profile
Jig trailer designs:
Pork Frog (still offered in plastic and just as effective)
Rage Tail design
Double tail Phenom grub

When referring to panfish soft plastic grubs, tail designs are very different. Here are some I found that are unique:
Thin straight tail
Joker Tail
Spike tail
Knob tail

When it comes to grub curl tails, there are types - all with different actions:
Mr Twister tail
Power Bait tail (thin attachment)
Kalin wide tail

Plastic Worm types:
Snake-like tail
Phenom curl tail
Kut Tail tapered bevel tip
Paddle tail

Sticks:
Senko
thin mini-stick with tapered tails
Ned rig half stick
less salt, more salt

Spinnerbaits:
blade type and size
arm length

Surface lures:
popper
Spook (waddle and swish)
jerk minnows or flukes

Crankbaits: not necessary to point out the many different designs of body and lip

The list is endless, but as Ronnie said if you find a lure that works, cast it, but realize that there's something about the lure based on its action, shape and size that is able to trigger strikes along with presentation - always in combination. Just as not all crankbaits produce that are similar, not all lures in any category produce equally well and all because of design differences.

If a smelly/tasty lure is your choice, consider the real reason fish attack it without presuming fish attack for any reason other than the above.
 

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Crass Angler
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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Going along with the triggering point here, I don't lump living rubber with silicone as a skirt material. To me, they behave very differently, and I fish each a bit differently. Living rubber "blooms" at rest. I can't say exactly what it looks like to a fish, though I use a slower presentation and consider living rubber as a larger profiled bait. I have seen fish race over, to get a close look and inspect a rubber skirted jig, before engulfing it. I wish there was some way to determine if a scent was the turning point here. I can't even say that it detracts - I never would think, hey, bite is slow, I should stop using scented baits. Ronnie is right, it is interesting to think about it.
 

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lurecrafter
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284 Posts
Good technical observation. Skirt materials used, the way the skirt is cut as well as trailer designs can make all the difference - same for spinnerbaits. I still tie jigs using LR but prefer silicone for color selection. Should be interesting your experiences this year testing scented and unscented lures using different presentations. If both equally catch fish on different outing, then the advantage is unproven - especially lures slowly worked on bottom with pauses.

When it comes to what fish strike, I go with design, action and size. I found that Uncle Josh's pork frog did no better than the soft plastic replica I made thereby shooting down the idea of salt and meat as more effective for keeping fish on longer. Then I found out that Gary Y doesn't use salt to sink his wacky sticks. I found the stuff he always used and caught just as many bass last year using it in sticks I poured from molds. The action is the same and it's that unique action which is the strike trigger - the same for 3" mini-sticks I use with a wacky rigged ball head jig.
 

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Crass Angler
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9,924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Color selection is better with silicone. Many of the designs I use employ a bit of silicone for just that reason. One in particular matches my favorite trailer, per my design. Siebert Outdoors makes them in regular production now - Bama Craw. Not sure they have living rubber like mine, though. Mike will make them that way for you too, if you want that.

I guess I'd have to alternate between, scented and unscented baits, though any trailer I use technically already has scent. I typically use Megastrike, though any trailer I use probably already has scent added from the factory. I still go back to those times when we first used Powerbait in the very early 90s. Fish really held on to them longer than a Culprit worm. Maybe it was the texture or softness. The plastic seemed softer on those, and they seemed to tear easier than Culprits.
 

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lurecrafter
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284 Posts
Wasn't a fan of Culprit worms for the same reason - too firm which killed the tail's action. Producto Worms though thicker were soft and had a nice action when jigged. Too bad so many excellent plastic worm designs were discontinued when their companies went out of business. Good thing I still have quite a few in storage. The only problem is that I tend to fish faster than most, so scented lures would not be applicable to the lure types I cast. (Haven't fished a plastic worm in years nor a fan of the drop shot rig - would rather use a jig and soft plastic.)

Rage Craws are one of three favorite jig trailers, especially if I swim a skirted jig three or more feet; this along with the pork frog copy #1 and #11 in size I made a molds for.

My obsession is finding as many DNA strike triggers I can discover unique to different lures. If I can't pinpoint why a specific lure excels, at least I have them on record as highly valued/ never to disappoint. I emphasize this idea in every forum I post but it doesn't seem to mean much to the great majority. At least I have a few angler buddies that agree and that are also blown away when they catch fish on different modified lures I send them.
A never ending search .....

Note: If you believe scent is a trigger, it should be so for different soft plastic lure designs used with different presentations. Tom Mann was big on scents and swore by them decades ago, though I'm not sure they helped considering the really strange scents he advocated and sold.
 

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Rubber vs Silicone

When it comes to my #1 lure (jigs) I vary between the two materials depending on fish activity. As John stated, rubber “blooms” so it’s much livelier and therefore my choice when the fish are more active and/or when they prefer a larger profile.

I prefer silicone (not for color selection) when I require a more subdued action and a compact profile for those times when the fish are less active.
 

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Crass Angler
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9,924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #50 ·
I think I agree with you about fish activity and skirt material. What's interesting, I do less with a rubber jig, so it feels like I'm finessing a bite, but in reality, they may be active and keyed in the bigger profile, and all the added action is inherent in the skirt. Just shows that it's easy to jump to conclusions.
 

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lurecrafter
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284 Posts
but in reality, they may be active and keyed in the bigger profile, and all the added action is inherent in the skirt.
You said a mouthful and so accurate in my experience. Ronnie is one of the most skilled jig anglers I've ever witnessed catching large bass from the voir we fished, but he knew what to try when the jig bite was off in an area for the reason you just gave and what is used and how used and can apply to all species that can be coerced to strike in the same water on the same day.

It has seemed on many outings that the fish - almost by consensus - strike similar lures having the same action/size and shape fished the same way in the the same part of the water column. If a claw tail catches bass, it also catches most everything else:


ditto for crankbaits:


Most of the above were caught in shallow water/ horizontal retrieve:


On another day, the wacky rigged stick that fell vertically did better:


Lure profile and action matter.
 

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lurecrafter
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284 Posts
This an example of a vertical design spinnerbait. Notice the two swivels and blades attached to two arms:


I caught bass in the Wappingers Creek on a slack tide off the Hudson R. on the vertical drop in 10'. The lead weight was 1/2 oz. allowing the blades to flash above one another and the fuller silicone skirt fluttered all the way to the bottom. Bass clobbered it! Would a jig & trailer have worked as well in the area? Maybe. How about a rubber skirt vs the silicone? Don't know.

Short arm spinnerbaits have also done well on the drop - the difference between them and a jig & trailer: slow drop speed / flashing #4 Colorado blade though using the same pork frog trailer (plastic trailers not made at the time that I liked using for skirted lures). The skirted jig did catch fish in other locations but on different structure.

There is IMO a strike consensus in a body of water that indicates 1. the number and type of strikes, 2. lure design(s) and presentation(s) possible with strike coercion range the main consideration.
 

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lurecrafter
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284 Posts
There is IMO a strike consensus in a body of water that indicates 1. the number and type of strikes, 2. lure design(s) and presentation(s) possible with strike coercion range the main consideration.
Here is an example of a strike consensus for day and times:

Written notes were kept for every outing before digital cameras made life so much easier and included:
water fished, date, specific lure information, location(s) used. As you can see, on some days many different lures caught fish and in many different locations.

Every one of these lures might have caught fish on that day as well as other designs:
 

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Crass Angler
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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Looks certain Maxscent baits (Flatworm, in particular) are getting upwards of $25 per pack due to supply and demand. I don't recall a soft plastic ever having this much hype around it. Sounds like people are catching on to the fact that these baits do work well.
 
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