Largemouth Bass Vision: Horizontal vs Vertical

largemouth bass vision horizontal vs vertical

One of the things that has been on my mind a lot lately, is how well largemouth bass can see.

Bubbles Glasses Funny Gif
“Oh, that’s greasy. Gree-heee-heeee-eeeeeasy.”

My bank bite has been non-existent, and this has led me to explore new, challenging locations… one of which is a remote pit / quarry lake with ultra clear water. It’s been extremely challenging – but also – extremely rewarding.

Here’s HOW I’m fishing pits & quarries:

How To Fish Ultra-Clear Borrow Pits & Rock Quarry Lakes
How to Fish Ultra-Clear Pits & Quarries
“My banks have been barren for some time now (sounds like a personal problem, but stick with me). Some lakes are worse than others. One favorite was hit with some sort of chemical last year, and all of the mucky pods that would grow & float near the shore are gone…”

Here’s some of the FISH I’m catching in pits & quarries:

Fishing Outside Your Comfort Zone
Fishing Outside Your Comfort Zone
Take a look at a few recent fish and presentations that have worked. See if one of these suggestions sparks your curiosity – then get out there and give it a shot!”

… and this right here is a little note on largemouth bass vision that has helped me fine tune my presentations!

Many fish – including bass – appear to be more “in tune” with baits moving horizontally, as opposed to vertically.

This comes from a recent article within the pages on In-Fisherman. Dr. Keith Jones, the former director of the Pure Fishing research laboratory, suggests that because of this – bass may maintain a sharper memory of lures retrieved across their visual field (horizontal), than lures dropped from above (vertical).

This opinion stems from research performed by two Japanese scientists (Kawamura, G., and T. Kishimoto). Their measurements show that in largemouth bass, the visual axis, along which the lens moves for focusing, lies in a roughly horizontal plane.

Since cone cells are the primary receptors of motion, and the cell pattern of largemouth bass favor the horizontal axis over the vertical, the conclusion is that bass are more sensitive to horizontal motion.

Dr. Jones also notes that there is a tendency for vertebrate brains to match memory capacity with sensory strength. We remember the things that we sense most strongly.

This, combined with the placement and orientation of the eyes, can help explain why largemouth learn to identify and avoid widely used crankbaits and other horizontal presentations – but they seem to have a harder time learning to avoid plastic lures presented vertically. This may also explain why those vertical baits don’t seem to need to have such a lifelike appearance.

That’s all well and good… but what does it mean for fishermen?

Two things:

  1. Bass may react to horizontal baits, but they may also be quite picky about them. Look for horizontal baits that are not widely used, especially if you are fishing pressured water. Modify your baits. Do something different. Learn how to work the baits in a way that is convincing and lifelike to the fish you’re targeting.
  2. If you’ve ever looked at a Senko and said “what the heck does this even resemble in the water?!“, you’re not alone. It resembles something edible… and if the theory on horizontal vs vertical vision above is true, it helps explain why the bass keep biting ’em! It also gives us some hints when it comes to presenting these baits moving forward…

What do you think? Does this make you want to change anything you’re doing?

What do you think?

Let me know. I gotta go get ready for another pit trip tomorrow.

Time to make a few modifications...

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots!

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