Let's myth-bust some bass tales

Anglers are known for stretching fish tales to the limits, so it's no surprise our sport has more myths than our tackleboxes have baits.

Therefore, we have to be careful in deciphering what's fishing fact and what's fishing fiction. Some myths have been repeated so often, many of us have filed them away as truths. So be careful what you believe, fish/find out for yourselves and back up your own bassin' beliefs.

That said, here are some myths to steer your mind, if not trolling motor, away from.

Myth: Line stretch is bad news.

Busted: Nope, this is not always rock solid, especially if conditions require you to use lighter lines (for example, in clear water). Manufacturers build line stretch into some of their products. And line stretch is going to be more forgiving on close hook sets or when battling fish close to the boat. Sometimes line stretch can help you land some fish that might otherwise get away.

Myth: Wind pushes baitfish into shorelines.

Busted: Yep, here's another myth that I've heard people preach. Baitfish can move through the water simple enough ... wind or no wind. What's really happening is the wind is blowing the phytoplankton in toward the banks. (Have you ever seen the wind blow algae to one side of a pond?) With the phytoplankton stockpiled, the baitfish move in for a buffet. Of course, where there's baitfish, there's soon to be predators/bass.

So fishing wind-swept banks can be productive, but it isn't because the baitfish are blown about.

Myth: Bass don't feed in muddy water.

Busted: Oh yes they do. They feed or they die, because some waters stay muddy for very long periods. Actually, bass can see a lot better in dark water than most myth mongers believe. Their eyes are five times more sensitive to light than the human eye. Think about this: Scientists say bass can see 40 feet in clear water when we can only see 10-12 feet in similar situations. In stained water, we might see 2-4 feet while a bass can see 14 feet.

Oh yes, bass feed and can see well in muddy water. Go fish for them in it and find out. Try targeting shallow water objects (stumps, etc.), as they are more object-oriented in muddy conditions, and make several casts to the same spots. I really believe that bass that spend much of their lives in muddy water have keener senses than those that mostly inhabit clear water.

Myth: Fish can hear you talking.

Busted: OK, this might be something you really want to tell an annoying fishing partner that obviously missed his calling as an auctioneer, but really, it's just not true. Sound carried in the air does not offend fish. In fact, 99.9 percent of sounds in the air do not travel beneath the water's surface.

Talk all you want, and hopefully it's about something interesting ... if not entirely true, 'cause well, you know how we fishermen are, right?


For more words of wit and wisdom from one of our sport's greatest legends, check out www.billdanceoutdoors.com.