I'll start with large pickerel as an example. After Roland Martin won a tournament using a spinnerbait with a huge willow leaf blade, I changed the blades on my spinnerbaits to give it a go. Smallmouth clobbered the lure in the river I fished and then decent largemouth did the same in my local lake. But during a pickerel tournament, large pickerel up to 3 lbs. put me in first place striking the lure.
In any case I figured the bright flash was the reason as well as the imparted flutter of the skirt. But today I came up with another theory: lure SWAGGER. The definition of the word indicates arrogance and flaunting. Big fish don't like their reverie to be interrupted by objects that display characteristics like bright flashes, swishing on the surface or an extreme lure action and size that seems oblivious to the predators around them. It's more than big fish can stand not to demolish the intruder.
When it comes to small fish species, the opposite is true but for the same reason - irritation of the lateral line but by subtle lure actions. The flutter of a soft plastic lure or a feather/ hair jig moved slowly near a fish is all it takes for one or more fish in the area to be riled to the point of a hissy fit causing it to slam the lure. A much slower speed is usually required.
In each case, lure characteristics are different for large and small fish, but in both cases aggression happens due to different reasons related to lure design and presentation.
Just a thought on a cold rainy morning....