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By mJC
What was the last lure or piece of tackle that you purchased? What led to your decision to ac- quire it? Was it something you needed, or was it something that caught your eye? In my experi- ence, fishing lures catch far more people (myself included) than they ever do fish. Clever mar- keting and sales practices attract us to their products more readily than they do the species we are targeting. We think we are the predators, trying our best to catch our targeted prey, but in reality, we are the prey being targeted by the predators that produce the stuff we use to pursue our prey. We are, in many ways, very sim- ilar to the prey we pursue. We see something new and flashy; we jump on it like a Hobo on a ham sandwich. A bass sees something flashy, and it tackles it like a lion would an injured Thompson gazelle on the open plains. As a friend of mine (no names but his initials begin with P), likes to say in order to explain his sometimes questionable behavior, “it’s my nature,” much like it is in our na- ture to make impulse purchases, it’s a predator’s nature to impulse pounce on our offerings.
We see something on TV; a new and improved device that’s guaranteed to catch fish, that’s
November 2021
  heavily marketed and targeted, and we bite. We are all over it like a cheap suit in the rain. When- ever I see a new product on an infomercial, I can’t help but watch; even though every fiber of my angler being tells me it’s garbage, but it’s so well presented you can’t help but continue to watch. Buyer beware. This is the first step in becoming the “prey.” They have targeted us, made their presentation, pitched it, flipped it, and we bite. Does this lingo sound familiar? As anglers, we target a specific species, make
our presentation, and hope to get a bite. We, as much as they (the predatory fish and marketers) have done our homework, have done our due diligence, have put in the time, have gained experi- ence and knowledge, yet we still fall the pitch.
As a victim of clever market- ing myself, I have to admit; that sometimes the garbage they tout on these infomercials does pay off. Anyone remember the he- licopter lure in the mid-1990s? A friend and I bought some of these, and we slew em’ on Lake Eufala, Alabama. It was spring, and they were bedding, and we were throwing pink helicopters, and we caught 20 or more large- mouth in about 3 feet of water,
averaging 5 lbs and some much more significant. So, I guess when they’re in the mood, almost anything will get their interest. As proof positive, I was watching a YouTube channel where this guy hand carves his own lures from wood, and he accepts challenges from viewers. He was challenged to throw an unfinished block of wood with a treble hook on it, and he caught several bass, which was very interesting. I like to think I’m a pretty good bass fisherman since I’ve studied them, their habits, where and when they go during the year, and what they like and when they will most likely take it. I’m also well-versed in what kind of pre- sentation they give according to
Off the Hook Predator or Prey?
 water clarity, especially whether it is stained or clear water. And I know about water tempera- ture, depth, pre-spawn, post- spawn, warm water, cold water, wind, moon, cloudy, clear, high pressure, low pressure, bluebird skies vs. overcast, and this guy caught them with a plain, unfin- ished piece of balsa wood. Wait, what??? I have seen T-shirts and coffee cups emblazoned with a humorous definition of a fisher- man, “A jerk at one end of the line, waiting on a jerk at the other end.” All things considered, it’s a great pastime and a great way to build and maintain relationships with friends and total strangers who have that one thing in com- mon—a passion for the endless pursuit of the “big one.”
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