There was once a time when going fishing was an honest way to get out and experience the ebb and flow of nature's balance; when there was an art to feeling the subtle difference between the tug of the river and the tug on your lure. But as fishing technology continues to develop, that art has been replaced with industry.

Now scientists have developed a fishing lure which not only attracts any fish in the area, but which also forces them to instinctively and reflexively take the bait.

The technology, which has been developed by Louisiana State University's John Caprio, makes use of the natural impulses of a fish's sensory systems. Caprio has discovered that when a fish is exposed to certain taste stimuli, it cannot control its urge to bite.

"Fish learn and associate particular scents as food, but taste is an actual reflex for them. The taste of particular natural chemicals triggers a feeding response," said Caprio.

But the new lures developed from this technology don't just stop there. The LSU professor has teamed up with the company Mystical Tackleworks to develop a lure that bombards all aspects of a fish's sensory systems (vision, hearing, taste, smell, mechanoreception), practically disarming every tool a fish might use to avoid getting hooked.

Furthermore, the technology can be tweaked to provide the appropriate natural stimuli for a wide variety of different fish species. For instance, it has been developed both for catfish, which hunt primarily using taste and smell — and a staple in Caprio's home waters of Louisiana — and bass, which rely heavily on visual cues when chasing a lure.

Dubbed the Biopulse Lure System, the technology obviously has huge ramifications for the fishing industry.

"We are literally light years ahead of what's out there right now," explained Greg Mitchell, chairman and chief science officer for Mystic Tackleworks. "We won the ICAST Award in 2008, the world's top prize for fishing lures at the industry's largest competition, and this year we received the Pitney Bowes Award for the most promising new technology in the state of Connecticut."

Aside from their chemosensory qualities, the lures also include a self-aware sensing system that monitors the lure's luminosity, advanced swim design features which reproduce prey-like motion, scientifically developed acoustical output that emits sound frequencies that mimic prey, and ambient light and parabolic surface reflectors. They even come with an anti-microbial cleaning solution squeeze bottle.

The only thing the lures don't happen to come with are ready-caught fish. For now, fishermen will still be required to actually go fishing, cast their lines, and reel them in.

Bryan Nelson ( @@brynelson ) writes about everything from environmental problems here on Earth to big questions in space.

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