Do fish want it completely "natural" all the time ?
You either beat yourself up with trying to work it all out or you could just accept that as a species we are never going to truly get to grips with those things that swim in what is such an alien environment to us. Those "things" are of course fish. If there is one thing that getting big time into lure fishing has really taught me it's not to say the word "never", as in "that's never going to happen", or "that will never work" etc. I kept my eyes wide open on my recent Seychelles trip for example and not once did I see a small fish smashing across the surface that might look remotely like a massive 200g plus popper, but the GTs were more than happy to come up and chow them. Make that kill them with relish in fact. Is that massive popper remotely "natural" ? Nope, but it caught lots and lots of big, nasty fish for the guys I was photographing.
Think about some of those weird and wonderful lure colours that some of us are drawn to buying. When for example did you ever see a little baitfish swimming around that looked remotely like the lure in the mouth of the bass above ? I know the IMA Komomo II is a killer, but what on earth is it imitating in those garish shades ? But then that opens up a whole bunch of other stuff - we are always looking at these lures with "our" eyes, and for all the research that might have been done, who on earth really, really knows how a bass might perceive it through their eyes ? Only a bass or some other fish can truly know that. That is why I think that we have to accept as anglers that it can't hurt at times to throw logic out of the window and just try some leftfield stuff out from time to time.
When for example did you last see bass hunting prey off the top ? When in fact did you last see baitfish twitching across the surface on their own like a surface lure might ? But bass smash surface lures like my IMA Salt Skimmer above. Why ? Well I reckon you either tie yourself up in knots trying to work out why a bass might be inclined to take something off the top when they don't seem to usually, or otherwise you could simply go with a "what the hell" attitude and accept that it's fishing, and in fishing we ain't ever going to come close to knowing it all. If you applied cold hard logic to fishing surface lures for bass then you would never actually cast them out there, but personally I don't believe there is anything as exciting in fishing as a fish taking a lure or indeed a bait off the top. And bass seem to be inclined to from time to time - even though they shouldn't if you really think about it. If you looked at it from the purely imitation point of view, when did you last see a lonesome little fish (your surface lure) twitching, walking, spitting, pausing and popping on its own along the top of the water ?
So for all the logic we need to learn more about for our fishing to make us better and more successful anglers, I am going to strive to keep my "what the hell" attitude and make sure to take a punt from time to time and just throw some stuff out there to see if it might work. I can assure you that there was not a shred of logic for example when I first discovered that the IMA Komomo SF125 in that mad, bright cotton candy colour could sometimes produce a bass or two for me when conditions got tough (bright, calm, clear etc.) It makes no sense if you think about it, and it made no real sense when I first went and cast it out a few years back and started catching fish on it. But it works - for me that is, and I can't see a shred of (human) logic to it. Which I have to be honest makes me feel rather good about things..............if fishing was 100% logic then you would never have that luck or chance element that keeps so many anglers utterly enthralled. Like me.
I was reading Keith White's excellent blog post here, but I am going to have to admit that I have never tuned a hard lure for example, and the numbers of bass I have caught when I have stopped (suspended) a sub-surface hard lure dead in the water are very few. That though is 100% down to the fact that I have not built up enough confidence to really go at it. Never say never though as I said earlier, and I am more than happy to admit that I have so much to learn. Those guys do catch though, and they catch a lot of fish by doing it. But then I know an angler like Ger Carey in southern Ireland who also catches a serious amount of bass - and very often by simply casting out a minnow and winding it in (watercraft, watercraft, watercraft though, as with all good anglers). Some anglers say twitch and pause them, some anglers say cast them out and crank them in. I am also coming to the opinion more than more that although fish are creatures of habit (like us), in certain areas they seem to either pick up, develop or just plain have some different habits (like us). There is no right or wrong, and still I come back to throwing perceived logic out of the window at times and just giving it a go. And by just thinking what the hell and giving it a go you might just stumble on something that really helps your fishing out and catches you some more fish in 2012.........