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Fish use their senses to find food

3 Aug 2018
by Greg Hill
We lure them, chase them, fry them and eat them but do we ever think about how fish use their senses to find food?  Learning about how fish locate their next meal can help our lure be there next meal.

The most interesting sensory resource is the lateral line, it can be the fish's skin, the raised strip or bumps along the side, their underside or, if they are surface feeders or on their top like a bottom hugging flounder. The lateral line is like sonar, picking up vibrations to avoid predators, detect prey, and keep in swimming sync in a school.

With snapper, for example, you wonder how they can see a lure with the dust storm they must kick up when they are head down and eating worms and crustaceans. But they do. Is it a response to the felt, but unseen, vibrating lure movement? Is that why un-wiggly soft-baits don't work? We think that's why bottom-thumping inchikus and good butterfly jigs, which emit vibrations, work so well.

Does your lure sneak up on a fish and the hard bite you get is a defence response rather than feeding? Kingfish jigs that rattle surely make a difference; it's not so much the noise (which is a vibration). A rattling jig dropped among a bombing raid of static jigs, is the jig with a difference - it's sure to get a bite. The rattling, flailing "I'm a wounded easy meal" jig gets the bite.

Fish go from feeding ravenously and defensive/aggressive biting to lazy inquisitive pecking. That's when a slow jig works, with a tiny sharp hook.

So, two out of three times you can't go far wrong with a rattling jig, a buzzing butterfly jig or an inchiku smacking the bottom. That's got to be good. Hard-worked soft baits with lots of movement also work well, but in deep water or strong currents they suffer from lack of bottom time due to the lighter weight.