Clearly we need some form of real-food bait to attract them proper (fly and lure anglers aside) so do the fish know the difference between what is real and what is not?
I think they do.
Some anglers think fish are stupid, as do I, but I don’t think its because they cant tell the difference between what is real and what is not. So how do we account for them taking an artificial bait such as a plastic grub or the anglers fly given that their senses far exceed our own?
Its obvious to me that instinct drives them to feed and snatch in an instant whatever falls their way, its the classic opportunistic behavioural trait of a wild creature.
Given the opportunity to inspect the bait up close, or when they’re cruising around looking for certain nutrients, the angler will do well to use real food on the hook, you know, the real unadulterated kind! To increase our chances of catching a cruiser it pays to use a natural smelly bait to get their attentions, as visual is less important than scent.
Cheese is the best example of a real scenty food, bread too though possibly not so much from afar but it still works and works well due to the yeast present – fish love bacteria, certain species can’t resist. Cheese may seem overpowering but it works because its natural. You cant beat natural real-food… it works everywhere and it never blows unless you put a flavour on it.
Final thought.. if it looks and smells artificial it probably is, it might smell nice too but don’t worry about it, the fish will know the difference and decide for you. 🙂