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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2010
Do not buy this book if:
1. You are looking for a practical, `how-to' bass fishing book with lots of techniques
Do buy this book if:
You want the best book out there to know the how, why, what, etc. of bass so you can apply the science and principles in this book to your already existing techniques, lure-bait presentations, fish locating skills, etc.

The critiques of the other reviewers are understandable if they did not read the product description before buying it. This book is very much unlike other bass fishing books available in that it hardly gives any practical fishing techniques or lure presentation at all. Even though the title broad enough in interpretation to mislead someone into the expectation that they're going to get a book with an arsenal of how-to's on fishing techniques or lure presentation, the title does actually hit the exact target that the title illustrates the book is about.

This book truly deserves every bit of the 5 stars rating I'm giving it because it delivers its weight in gold as it relates to understanding the fine science behind the what, how, where, & why's of bass. The total, complete science behind bass is explained & illustrated here in this book better than anything I've ever read. Even if you don't read the content, the very numerous amount of color graphs & pictures illustrating the points that the author is making or illustrating lab test results is worth triple the price of the book!

Yes, this book is hard to follow at certain points & does not give many fishing techniques to employ as a result of the science. However, the book is a more than adequate to provide a treasure trove of information for the novice to professional level bass fisherman to incorporate into what they already know. That's because this book will provide a TON of key knowledge for the experienced fisherman to apply to their already existing bass techniques and approaches while using the science in this book to also explore many new techniques not used before. But you will have to use your existing knowledge & fundamentals to create new ideas or make adjustments as to how you will try new presentations & approaches based on the science learned.

In others words, this book is likened to a 300 or 400 level college course in bass fishing. One would almost have to have a minimum knowledge base and experience with bass fishing for the content to make any sense at a level that can be translated into practical use for bass fishing. A novice level or more experienced bass fisherman will be able to mentally translate most the myriad of useful information in this book into many successful changes to their current techniques and even lots of ideas for new approaches in their lure/bait presentation.

This book is probably the closest that anyone of us who are not on the pro circuit are ever going to get to having a sponsor-paid scientist do lots of research and testing for us to be able to develop the strategies that gives us the best chance to win a huge tournament. The information in this book will definitely put you ahead of others in bass fishing, but only if you already have a good, solid bass fishing skills foundation to apply it to.

If you are just beginning to learn or enjoy the sport, then this book is likely to confuse you and maybe even frustrate you. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone who does not have a passionate commitment to bass fishing & at least a novice level of experience with it. If this might be you, you'll find a lot more satisfaction and useful content in one of the In-Fisherman books out there such as the Critical Concepts series or anything from Gene Kugach.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2010
More than simply another book about bass fishing, Knowing Bass is an up to date compendium of fish physiology and behavior perhaps making the subtitle, The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish a more accurate description of the book. To be sure, most of the research presented by Dr. Jones was carried out at the Berkley Fish Research Center in Spirit Lake, Iowa (Pure Fishing Corporation) on largemouth bass, but his melding of behavioral science and fish physiology will allow a better understanding about how to fish for any species. Dr. Jones has a chapter on each major sensory system (lateral line, taste, chemoreceptors, vision, temperature, pain and stress etc), which he describes with the exactness of a careful researcher and still provides practical observations pertinent to fishing practices. Dr. Jones exhibits unusual writing talent by combining the accuracy of a scientific researcher with a lively style of engaging prose.

He dispels many false hoods of our traditionally superstition bound sport. Such as the effectiveness of fruity flavored plastic worms or that natural prey shapes make the best lures or that lure color makes a difference.

I am a saltwater fisherman and find plenty in his writing about bass to help me. Thus, when he says that the DEET in mosquito repellants and PABA, the active ingredient of many sunscreen brands are powerful repulsive agents to bass, I assume that they have similar effects on marine fish. His tidbit about adding a few drops of over-the-counter oil of cloves to a live well as a way improve bass survival has also improved survival of baitfish in my saltwater baitwell.

I suppose the overarching take home lesson for me is "that fish obey the laws of probability; their behavior shows numerically describable tendencies, traits, and habits." In other words bass (fish in general) can't change what it is and must operate within its physical limits.

In many respects the book could serve as a textbook of fish anatomy, physiology and behavior. It is lavishly illustrated with electron micrographs, photos, and multi-colored diagrams and tables. It is a great read for better understanding the complex world of fish whether or not you are a fisherman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2009
Keith Jones' book, "Knowing Bass" is a great book and serves an important niche. Jones' book is not so much a book about fishing tips and techniques. Although, through careful reading of the tests and the experiments you will learn great things about bass. If you purchase this book expecting tips and techniques you will be disappointed. If you purchase this book wanting to know details previously unknown to the general public then you will be greatly satisfied.

However, this book does a great job of explaining the physical intracacies of the bass. I highly regard this book and would urge all serious bass fisherman to read it a few times.

--Chad Battles
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2004
This book is a bit to hard to follow sometimes. It reads like every reader/angler is a scientist, this is not the case. Most of the books content comes from scientists who have run tests in labs and in controlled enviroments owned by large tackle makers. Don't get me wrong there is usefull info in the book but like the title says "The scientific approch to catching more fish." this is true. I would consider buying a different book to get basic info and tips. Like I said the book can be usefull but a bit to indepth for the average angler looking to better his catch. So overall average book. Good luck on the water!!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2006
This book's title sounds good. Who wouldn't want to know the results of controlled studies on how fish react to different techniques. Well that makes up about 10 pages of this book. In case you want to know: putting a flavor on a lure seems to work, scent not really, and bass will hold on to soft baits much longer than hard baits. Most of the book reads like a biology lesson charting out various organs in the fish and describing their functions. The problem is that there is no real connection made between this and fishing techniques. Does it help me to know how different sense organs attach to the Bass' brain? for me not really. If you are really interested in Bass physiology perhaps this would be worth reading, otherwise I would not recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
You need this so open up the wallet and buy this while they are still available.... Forget reviews that state that it is too scientific or dry. The author has a great writing style so it isn't like reading a textbook. Yes, it's full of technical subject matter, and yes some of it may or may not be familiar territory for a lot of anglers, but anyone who reads this book can immediately pick up some serious tips that will help with selection of lures, colors, scents, etc.
This book isn't going to describe techniques or tactics, but provide you with the information to make your own decisions. It will also dis-spell myths and overly hyped products that are only marginally successful. I didn't know anise and garlic scents are only minimally attractive, where as night crawler scent is off the charts! I didn't understand how different colored lures will look in clear water, versus tannic, versus muddy... who knew? Buy it, read it, and you won't regret it. At the time of this review I shelled out about $120 bucks for this book (with a $20 original publication price) and it was worth every penny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2011
I'm a bio-chemist by training, so I suppose I am geared toward this type of information. This book is like taking a college course in bass biology. If I taught such a course, I would use this as the classroom text! It contains the most comprehensive collection of scientific bass information I've ever seen, and I own hundreds of fishing books.

As others have noted, the author does not always tell you EXACTLY what lure to use and when to use it, but that is not the intent of this book. Frankly, the studies in this book are so comprehensive that if you piece the testing data together you will find yourself starting to get an idea of what lures to use based on the results of the studies of bass sight, hearing, feeding behavior, etc... as reported in this book.

I find myself looking at new lures and thinking back to the different studies to determine whether or not the new "magic" bait is special (in most cases it is not).
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on July 28, 2013
Knowing Bass is a book about... you guessed it, bass. Keith A. Jones, Ph.D, has been the Director of Research at the Berkley Fish Research Center in Spirit Lake, Iowa, for eighteen years. In Knowing Bass, he details the science of bass fishing, with an eye to helping the angler improve his chances of success. Most of Dr. Jones’s research has been done on largemouth bass, with some references to smallmouth and the other black basses. When necessary, he references research done on other fish species to offer as complete a picture as possible.

Knowing Bass may bring you as close to a college textbook as you have been in years. Don’t stop reading here! Every avid bass fisherman should acquaint himself with the contents of this book. They include the general biology and development of bass, followed by detailed anatomy and physiology of the bass nervous system. The meat of the book is devoted to the particular senses of the bass: chemoreception, hearing and vibration detection, vision and the senses of the skin.

As interesting as the angler may find the anatomy and physiology, the book is made readable by the way Dr. Jones incorporates this science with practical aspects of bass fishing, as in this passage:

If there are sounds that attract bass, there are also sounds that repel them. Indeed, avoiding some sounds is so imperative that bass come equipped with a special startle reflex for this very purpose. A unique pair of large nerve cells, called Mauthner cells, run down either side of the back and drive the startle reflex. The Mauthner cells connect the auditory portion of the brain to the spinal cord. Their sole purpose, apparently is to aid escape from attacking predators by jump-starting the bass into action. A sudden, loud noise near the bass fires the Mauthner cells. These in turn trigger a violent flip of the tail, propelling the bass forward like a rocket.

The startle reflex is evoked by a sudden change in acoustic intensity, not necessarily by the degree of sound. Sounds that have the fastest rise in amplitude evoke the strongest startle responses. Single strong pulses are most effective. Stopping or starting a boat engine or trolling motor, dropping objects in the unpadded bottom of a boat, scraping the boat along the bottom, bumping into logs, and splashing down a lure too loudly are all examples of sudden sounds that startle bass. Talking, or even screaming from boat to boat, will not repel bass since the vast majority of sound energy made in air is reflected back at the water’s surface. High-frequency sounds are less liable to startle bass than low-frequency sounds. Bass are particularly susceptible to being spooked in clear or shallow water, where they perhaps feel more vulnerable; bass in muddier or deeper waters are less responsive. Once startled, bass tend to shy away from the area of disturbance for some time.

Dr. Jones consistently presents valuable behavioral information logically associated with its anatomical and physiological bases. The chapter on vision includes 20 pages discussing how bass are equipped to appreciate aspects of visual lures such as size, shape, color and contrast, flash, and action.

Jones, an angler himself, also addresses the issue of whether bass feel pain, acknowledging the concerns of some animal rights activists. Although he admits that anglers, scientists and activists alike are limited to speculation about the if and how of the pain question, he offers scholarly musings on the subject based on the limited scientific and observational evidence available. The book’s section on how bass experience stress offers food for thought regarding how catch and release fishermen should treat their catch to maximize its survival rate.

Knowing Bass is not a page turner that you will sit down and finish in one read. However, Dr. Jones has written his book for the interested angler and not just the biology student. You will learn how the science can apply to the sport. And you will likely learn that our quarry shares many of our own characteristics -- maybe it’s not so far fetched to think like a fish, after all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
Love this reference. I love the tips,. My wife enjoys the in depth chapter on what fish perceive and how the chemistry of fish smelling the line and humans can be disguised. Buy this.
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on February 22, 2011
This is a great book. I work in Emergency Medicine and am an avid Angler. I wanted a book that could explain in scientific detail how bass hunt, learn, smell, taste, see, feel, and remember as Apex Predators. This book answers all these questions and more. You are not going to sit down and read this book for hours; it's like drinking from a fire hose. I found a few errors the copy editor should have caught but the point is, the book is awesome. The average guy/gal can crack this book, and know more about the large mouth bass in 20min then most people will in a lifetime. The book does not read like a college biology book, and has some humor throughout. The Author knows his subject, really, really well. I definitely recommend this book if you're serious about understanding the mighty large mouth.
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