Sport Fishing - - GAME PLAN -

With any lure, let the fish show you what re­trieval speed they want by vary­ing speeds un­til a fish con­nects with your pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Say I’m walk­ing a lure such as a Ra­pala Skit­ter V across a shal­low bar. I’ll start with a slow, steady re­trieve,” says Bernie Schultz, a vet­eran salt­wa­ter an­gler, BassMaster Elite Se­ries pro and lure col­lec­tor. “I may pause the lure at times, but the pace is mostly slow at first. If I get a quick, ag­gres­sive re­ac­tion from the fish, then I’ll speed up the re­trieve or give the lure sharper snaps with the rod tip to cre­ate com­mo­tion.”

With­out feed­ing re­sponses from in­creased re­trieval speeds, he’ll slow down the plug again and pause the lure at key points near pier pil­ings, sand holes in a grass flat or ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties along a shore­line.

“A steady twitch­ing ca­dence is how I ini­tially start work­ing my jerk­baits, then vary from that speed ac­cord­ing to how the fish re­act,” says Schultz. “That goes for most species, when cast­ing sus­pend­ing or ul­tra­slow-sinking lures.”

Some species, such as seatrout, pre­fer spe­cific ac­tions, of­ten hit­ting a lure at rest be­tween pulls.

“For what­ever rea­son, trout oc­ca­sion­ally pre­fer the lure ly­ing dead still, es­pe­cially when wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are ex­tremely hot or cold,” says Schultz. “That’s the best time to throw a jerk­bait. There’s some­thing about a small pro­file and flash, hang­ing in the strike zone, that re­ally trig­gers a re­ac­tion.”

Other species, such as Span­ish mack­erel, pre­fer a more ag­gres­sive, er­ratic ac­tion, es­pe­cially if fish are ac­tively feed­ing on or near the sur­face.

“I go with a fast re­trieve dur­ing a sur­face-feed­ing fray,” says Schultz. “Usu­ally the quicker you get your lure in there, the bet­ter. That goes for all types of school­ing game fish.”

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