---------- What makes fish bite? ----------
Bottom line: Hunger
Fish exist for one purpose: To spawn.
They care about only two things in their life: Reproduction and eating. They are perpetually hungry. I've caught fish with bait fish tails hanging out their mouth. And they still bite my bait.
Fish don't kill for recreation, or any other reason except for the above two. They will bite a lure while spawning but not because of hunger, but to protect their spawning bed.
These are facts:
But you say fish don't always bite. Sometimes you can't keep them off a hook, but most times you don't even get a bite.
So what's going on?
Some people say it's all in the moon & its phases. Others say its the sun and produce tables that predict when the bite is on. I'm not about to offend anyone and only will say if it works for you, keep doing it. I know people who keep track of the catch, time of day, year etc. and correlate it with all the sun & moon data, but you know what? All methods that have been analyzed always qualify the expected results with a statement that "the local weather is an overpowering factor". Talk about a loop hole! So why bother with all these theories. And theories they are unless someone can produce a Bass (or other fish) that can speak English and tell us in there own words what turns on the bite. Well, if we eliminate all the theories what does turn on the bite? There are some facts to work with. One, we do know that fish turn on and off feeding. And we do know weather has a great effect on feeding. So lets look at "weather".
Weather has 4 components that effect the bite. Hi & low barometer pressure and hot & cold.
Back to a cold front. It's real hard to get a bite because the fish are not comfortable. They just plain shut down. Even the live bait people have a tough time picking up a small one or two. It's a fact that a nasty cold front seals Bass lips and they wait it out and we have to also. This is a reason fish won't bite but why do they at other normal (no cold front) times turn on and off?
I don't know. However, I believe it's caused at the beginning of the food chain. Something either hatches out or starts to move that is very small. The little fish go on a feeding binge and all larger fish follow getting into sun fish & blue gills. And of course Bass turn on as long as their dinner is chasing "their" dinner. It will last an hour or less and things go back to a slower pace. Bass are opportunists and being always hungry they will feed all the time, providing they are comfortable. But there definitely are hot "on" times. These are unknown and unpredictable but something in the food chain is happening.
Lets take barometric pressure. The record Hi and record low of pressure is read in millibars. Converted to pounds per square inch the difference is about one pound. So now we have about 14 pounds per square inch. (Normal sea level air pressure) And this changes about 1/2# pound either side of the normal 14 pounds. Actually the change doesn't go maximum or even near it so this change is considerable less than 1/2 pound - probably no more then a few ounces + - 14.
Can a fish notice this small change and has it anything to do with feeding (the bite)? I don't know, nor does anyone else. I do know that just before a storm (and even in it) fish turn the bite on. This is a well proven fact. But does a low barometer effect the fishes body to trigger the bite? I don't think so. Assuming a Bass is about at 3 foot depth. Under normal swimming it would have to stay exactly at that level or the pressure from the water would increase or decrease a lot more than the small air pressure change. So it's reasonable to disregard barometers readings. Something else is going on to produce the bite.
What about temperature? Fish are cold blooded which means (unlike us our temperature about 98 ) their body temperature is the waters temperature and Bass along with there food supply (sun fish, blue gills) like warm (not hot) water the best. They always live where they are comfortable. In the South, where lakes are shallow, if a cold front from the North comes in the fish seek the warmer deep water. Surface water cools off first aided by wave action. They also like to hold in the thick weeds -- seems to hold the water from movement thus provides warmer water longer. In deep Northern lakes the fish suspend in a zone of comfort as the top of the lake is colder than the suspension zone. But beyond 30 feet or so Northern lakes are at 45 almost constant. I won't get into "roll over" of a lake that sometimes happens but the lower water (cold) never comes up. The warmer suspension layer and above water are displaced by the cold fall or winter surface layers. Rest assured Bass will seek out the warmer confront zone at all times of the year.
What about the bite on a warm front? Everything's on the plus side but still we have an "on & off" situation. The fish don't always bite all the time. Something else is going on.
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