SLOW? Have you ever watched grass grow? Or watch paint dry? Or waited
for an income-tax refund check to finally hit your mailbox? THAT
A long time ago, I used to think that a slow retrieve on a spinnerbait,
was about a one foot per second retrieve rate. Well, in today's
common terms; THAT was almost a lightning speed retrieve. A slow
retrieve on a spinnerbait, is only fast enough to make the blade
(s) turn, and maintain a given depth. A slow retrieve on a top-water
lure, means that you allow the lure time to recover (basically allow
time for all the ripples to leave the area) before the lure is moved
again. A slow retrieve on a crank-bait is only fast enough to allow
the lure to maintain it's depth without causing an exagerated motion.
A slow retrieve on a jig can take you ten minutes to cover ten feet
of structure; If you hurry it a bit!
I'm sure you've got the idea by now! HAVE PATIENCE! TAKE YOUR
TIME! ALLOW THE FISH TIME TO SEE THE BAIT! Working a finesse-bait
of ANY KIND, requires a slow retrieve like those I've noted above.
There are times that it takes a slow retrieve to catch fish. And
there are times that only a fast retrieve will work. I'm afraid
that there are no shortcuts on learning when to put either to
use. Only time and experience work there. And then, out of the
clear blue sky; something new will come along, and change everything
that you think you've ever learned!
Have fun with the sport! Enjoy your time on the water! Learn
one new fishing technique from every person that you fish with!
And, someday we'll be reading your column!
You say that you understand equipment so I will not go into reel
retrieval speeds other than to say that depending upon your lure
of choice, the reel must match the situation. One fairly quick turn
of a handle is the manufacturers recommended rate of line retrieval.
Your own ability to slow down or speed up is a personal choice based
on location, water depth, clarity, time of day, light penetration
and thefishes own aggressive or passive nature.
As an example, a lipped crankbait should be run on a lower gear
ration reel i.e. 5:1 to 1 or 5:3 to 1. I will sometimes go as
slow as a 4:5 to 1 gear ratio but if I turn the reel handle a
little quicker than normal, I will not change the line to spool
ratio, but I will retrieve the lure a little faster and change
the action of the lure.
The other example would be a lipless crankbait that needs a
6:3 to 1 or 6:5 to 1 in order to run correctly. I can "stall"
lipless bait by slowing down the rate at which I turn the handle.
This slowing down will make the lure flutter and dip during the
retrieve. In low light or muddy conditions, a bass may target
that lure because it seems "lost" and is faltering.
A slow retrieve is a relative term. Slow can have a different meaning
to different people.
When I talk about slow rolling a spinnerbait I mean reeling in
the lure just fast enough to have the blades turn. When people
talk about a slow retrieve most consider slow just slower than
what your normal retrieve would be. You have to let the fish tell
you what retrieve they want.
This can be determined by they way the fish is hooked and the
hook location within the mouth. If you are catching fish is the
side of their face or just in the bottom lip this telling you
you are on the right track but, something is just a little off.
This could be the retrieve speed, color selection, lure size etc.
Ideally you want the entire bait to be in the bass' mouth and
with them hooked in the upper part of their head. This is the
most bony part and very few fish are lost when hooked there.
One thing to remember about a slow retrieve is that you should
bring the lure in what I would call painfully slow. This means
so slow you can hardly stand it! To me this is a slow retrieve.
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