shades of red

SHADES OF RED in clear water work very well. Unscientific?

The Rolling Stones have been more candid about science and bass fishing, than any other monitoring agency in the nation.

While most of us still give credence to the “scientific method” we learned of in elementary school, yet today, much of the great laboratory of on-the-water experience of millions of actual fishermen is deemed unreliable.

The great lab-coated slur toward all bass anglers is that insights from our experience are “anecdotal.” By definition, that means: “(of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because [it is] based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.”

Specifically, I address much of the information published about bass’ sensory perception.  I have no doubt that “facts and research” have been employed to reach conclusions about how the fish perceive our baits, including hints on why their activity levels may vary from hour to hour or day to day.

But the problem with laboratory science, with a live, wary animal, is the lab creates its own environment for the subject species while testing. But out on the lake, the only people in white coats are chasing butterflies–not bass.

I know I’ve been assailed over the Color-C-Lector, (for its development has similar flaws) but it hasn’t stopped helping me catch fish. I repeat, “helping me catch fish,” and by now, that’s thousands of them.

The tool doesn’t do that by picking the absolute right of the color Roboworm to throw. It helps me by quantifying light penetration in various water clarities, and from “tests” by the late Loren Hill (regardless of any intent to create a lure-selling gadget) shows what at least one sampling of fish could identify various color hues.

And you don’t need to be magna cum laude, to see that if the anecdotal statement: “a bass is a bass is a bass” were true, then even one sampling would, at least, exhibit some degree of common behavior with others, in or out of a lab.

What the Color-C-Lector does (and in odd conditions, still does) for me, is confirm my personal experience (anecdotal as that might be) of 20 years or so at the time, 40 plus years total, of making lure color choices when I ran into those corresponding conditions. Do I put the probe in the water much anymore? Don’t have to. My experience has taken over.

Does that add confidence to the equation? Well, yeah. But in case you haven’t noticed over the last 25 years, as an example, the use of shades of green plastics, has increased since the Color-C-Lector needle first suggested “greens.” There was a day when I didn’t own a green worm–and now shades of green are the top sellers.

The fact that university studies dating back to the 1960’s, onto Berkley’s lab (with Dr. Keith Jones) since the 1990’s have reported differing results on what or how bass see. (Was it through an orange shade, blue appearing as gray, and assorted other suggestions?)

And while I’m poking the Pure Fishing scientists, that Berkley Power Bait was what–5 or 10 times better than conventional plastics? I still recall one anecdotal test in San Diego where Fluttercraft out-paced Power Worms 62 to 3. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, if the label so brazenly stated my worms were inferior. I called ’em on it.

Dr. Jones wrote in his book (I’ve got it somewhere in my office, but I’m done with it) that bass vision or nerve pulsations produced a fish’s view that was akin to strobe lights in a disco! Now, I have no reason to doubt that’s what the research concluded–he’s the scientist. But I am 98 percent sure that little tidbit of information does not mean jack diddly to my fishing!

And that is where science has let me down.

So sing along with Mick and me:

“When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
And he’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination…”

Because when it comes to science and bass fishing, I really can’t get no satisfaction.


3 Responses to “When science doesn’t help, then what?”

by Chris Nietzel

Gotta give Metallica credit for their song about green pumpkin, “Nothing Else Matters”. 🙂

by George Kramer

Nice reference, Chris!

Really well put George.

Bill Murphy talked about the only way or the best way to gain understanding of bass behavior as an angler – is with a hook and line.

Just as you stated a lab by definition alters their environment and accordingly – their behavior.

Likewise diving with them also has its limitations, etc.

As far as the Stones – with my fishing circumstances lately – “Tattered” seems appropriate.