The Science Of Bait – Pt.2


Why do baits work? Here’s part 2 of a great informative series from Mark McKenna, the brains behind Baitcraft baits…

When a fish comes across food odour it becomes alerted to the possibility of a meal and if hungry begins to seek out the source of the odour. In land animals smell is judged to be a proximity sense and taste is very much the second or ‘contact’ phase in evaluating a food source. The distribution of taste buds on a Carp’s body make this distinction impossible and likely that it can taste it’s food well before it is sampled and as such may be less hampered by it’s lack of hands than some would have us believe. Although it is suggested that taste buds located outside the mouth of a carp are more involved in food location than assessing it’s palatability so ingesting the item will still be the clincher in the decision making process.

why does carp bait work

Mark McKenna

The mechanism by which Carp smell and taste (the latter very highly developed in Carp) are fundamentally similar at cellular level. Odour molecules enter the mucous membranes and bind with receptor molecules activating a special protein this releases a chemical which activates electrical process called transduction, the means by which the receptor molecule transmits information on the food odour to the Carp’s brain via nerves. The Carp is then able to process this signal and make a decision on what to do with the information. Does it investigate and locate the source of the signal? Having located the source of the signal does it pick up the item it has identified as the source, chew it up and swallow it?

Think of it like a switch being flicked to on and lighting up an led on a control panel (the Carp’s brain) instigating a food search response, the concentration of food molecules grows, more leds come on, the fish arrives at the baited area, more leds come on. The fish has been caught on boilies thirty times before, it approaches one of the baits, pecs outstretched, gently sucking and blowing the water inches away, more leds come on, it gingerly picks up one of the baits sucks it in and crushes it with it’s pharyngeal teeth, more taste buds are stimulated and our control panel is lit up like a Christmas tree – the balance is well and truly tipped in our favour. Our Carp begins to move from bait to bait feeding with ever decreasing caution, then he rights himself abruptly shakes his head violently and exits the swim swiftly attached to our undetected terminal arrangement, our bait has done its job magnificently.

Pt 3 to follow!

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