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Mind of the Trout: A Cognitive Ecology ror Biologists and Anglers Paperback – Bargain Price, July 10, 2003
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Here's my greatly simplified interpretation of some of the points discussed in the book: Bigger baits generally catch bigger fish, and the closer your lure passes to a fish, the more likely the fish is to move for it.
Fish form a search image based on prey they encounter frequently, causing them to reject possible food items that don't fit the search image. One time on a mountain trout lake I tried all my baitfish lures without getting a strike. When I finally tied on a nymph, I scored. These fish were used to feeding on insects, and they ignored lures that weren't insect imitations.
Fish are more likely to mistake your lure for prey if it's moving fast. On the other hand, if its moving too fast they may reject it totally. So very your retrieve speeds until you find what they want.
Fish are more likely to mistake a lure for prey under reduced visibility situations caused by low light or turbidity.
Don't be afraid to tie on a brightly colored or high-contrast lure if more natural patterns aren't working. It will help your lure stand out and may draw a strike.
Feeding activity is reduced if fish sense a predator in the area, so avoid being spotted.