Creature From the Deep
Nobody's got a name for these things.
They are quite bizarre! What are they? They're a handful of soft
plastic baits that are so non-descript or unclassifiable that
they have categorically been dumped into a genre of baits simply
called "Creature Lures". Nobody knows what they are.
Nothing like them swims, crawls, walks or flies in nature. They
are figments of the imagination of lure designers. Still, bass
I want to know why? People have
often speculated why bass hit such things. It is hard to imagine
what they look like to a bass! Some reasoning has included that
the bass may be stone cold scared of these things, and that makes
them want to kill the creature out of fear. Partly for this
reason, creature lures are built big and bulky with all kinds of
ominous-looking appendages bristling out from them. Spring one on
an unsuspecting bass, and they'll scare the scales off of them!
As small fry, bass had to run to survive from a fearful gamut of
all kinds of bigger predators - bluegill, crappie, carp,
crayfish, tadpoles, frogs, catfish, muskies, turtles, alligators
- jumping out from behind the bushes. Let me tell you, it is no
beautiful day in the neighborhood for a small fry bass. Imagine
coming under attack by a horde of merciless bluegills. They are
highly aggressive, relentless predators. After all, sunfish are
the closest cousin to the aggressive bass! There's only one
choice lurking under the calm lake surface most of the time when
you're a bass - eat or be eaten. Put another way, whoever has the
biggest mouth wins.
there's what has got to be the most fearful attack of all.
Waterbirds. Long-legged herons wading in to stalk you. Ravens,
crows and blackbirds perched waiting silently for you. Cormorants
"flying" like dark clouds of death along the lake
bottom. And gulls, ospreys and eagles crashing down on you from
out of nowhere. I imagine it would be hard to defend against
that, and you would always be afraid of it happening to you if
you were a bass. No matter how big you got. It's a nightmare of
pure fear imprinted in the brain of every bass since their
earliest days. And then your creature lure comes crashing down
from out of nowhere. Is this how it all ends? Instinctively eat
or be eaten. Bite first or flee. Yes, a 5 lb. bass will back down
from your average, everyday, normal-sized 5" bait. Happens
all the time, especially in highly-pressured lakes. The bass may
want no quarrel with a normal-sized bait, but throw a skinny
3" "do nothing" finesse bait into the gladiator's
arena, and the odds of vanquishing this unknown intruder become
more favorable to the bass. Now throw a big, bizarre, multi-appendaged
creature lure in there. It's a fight waiting to happen!
blessed micropterus. God has blessed micropterus with
AGGRESSIVE genes. Dolomieu are more aggressive than (and
most closely related to) punctulatus who are more fearless
(often misinterpretted as stupider) than Northern Salmoides, with
the least aggressive being the Florida strain. But it is only a
matter of a few degrees of temperament...they are ALL highly
aggressive...among the top aggressors in their watery worlds!
This aggressiveness is not learned, it's innate! Good bass are
born ornery. A small fry is equally as aggressive as it will be
when it grows up! In addition, God blessed micropterus with a
wonderful and highly excitable CURIOSITY. They are a most
What is the best "creature"
to dangle down to monsters lurking in the shady netherworld
underneath logs, brush and laydowns? When I fish creature lures,
I intentionally try different creature lures. First, to appeal to
their HUNGER (duh?). Second, to appeal to their FEAR,
AGGRESSIVENESS and TERRITORIALISM. Third, different creature
lures to appeal to their CURIOSITY and INQUISITIVE side of their
good creature lure is a CATALYST. It's use will
trigger any one or more of the above-mentioned instinctive urges
in a bass - hunger, fear, aggression, territorialism, curiosity.
The REACTION is always the same - an instinctive bite or a
back-down. There's no thought involved. If one style, size or
color of creature lure is not working, I methodically try each
and every other creature lure in my bag until one of them pulls
that instinctive trigger.
Example of an aggressive or territorial
bite: I toss lots of creatures into cover for bass.
Now, as anglers, we all feel very secure saying that this or that
lure imitates a shad, a crayfish or whatever, right? But when a
bass snaps up a creature when it splashes, initially falls, and
bounces bottom in cover - this usually happens quickly and is
referred to as getting a reflex or reaction bite. Bass may have
absolutely not the slightest idea what is being dangled down in
front of them. It may look like something the bass would like to
chow down on, or it PROBABLY looks like something bizarre and
non-descript. It's threatening or intruding into the fish's
space. It's just an unwanted, unwelcome pest (or possibly a foe!)
buzzing around the fish's lair. Heck, what would you do if a 4 or
5 inch UFO was buzzing around in your living room? As for me, I
would have to instantly decide - hit first or flee. If it came
dangerously close to me - like if it dropped right on my nose -
I'd bash it as hard as I could. So would a big bass. That's a
good example of an aggressive or territorial bite.
Example of a curious
or inquisitive bite: To me, the buzzbait is something
that evokes a strike out of curiosity. That is why I believe
there are short strikes on buzzbaits...because bass initially nip
them to inquire into what they are. The key to a good buzzbait is
not squeak or anything else except that the DISTURBANCE caused by
the blades obscures the actual jig dressing - preventing the fish
from eyeballing it too closely. So the bass has absolutely no
idea what is being obscured by the disturbance (could be a
silicone skirt, could be soft plastic body...whatever)...it can't
be seen due to the surface disturbance. This is why white and
black are the two best buzzbait colors...because they are the
most easily seen colors...but exactly WHAT is white or black
cannot be detected by the bass in a well-designed buzzbait. So,
for anyone to say that bass thinks a buzzbait looks like a mouse
or like a baitfish or like a bird that fell in and is trying to
fly...well, maybe that's just people trying to rationalize to
themselves what a buzzbait is supposed to be! We even have
surface disturbers like Jitterbugs and Crazy Crawlers painted to
resemble redwing blackbirds...but to the bass, I just don't think
the surface disturbance lets them see the bait clearly, so the
bass have absolutely no idea what it is when they belt it. The
topwater bite often reek of an INQUISITIVE NIP to me - and may be
the reason for many near misses and short strikes on
hard-to-identify topwater poppers and buzzbaits.
feel creature lures may also be very interesting and odd things
that evoke curiosity and inquiries from bass. They look like no
creature on God's green Earth or blue waters, but bass belt them
because they get highly excited by the vision of it, and they are
eager to find out what it is...not because they want to eat it!
Creature lures - those soft baits that you might find sitting on
a stool in an inteplanetary space bar in a Star Wars sequel - are
Of course, sometimes the bass are just voraciously hungry, and
ANY hapless creature that wanders by is going to be on the menu!
Bass are like that.
Creature Features: Creatures
pictured in this article include (from top to bottom) Zoom's
Brush Hog and Baby Brush Hog are two of the most popular ones,
and responsible for the recent resurgence in creature lures on
the market today. The Gambler Bacon Rind has been introduced
recently too. Gene Larew's got the new Hoo Daddy. Another
creature lure is from Mister Twister...new for 2000. It's called
the Exude B.A. HAWG. Venom's got a couple of critters too, called
the Boogie Bugs in 5" and 3" sizes.