Some things in the heat of the summer just can’t be ignored, and retrieving speed is critical during the summer. One of the most critical things that people do wrong, when they have trouble catching fish, is how quickly you retrieve your bait while fishing! There are many ways to work a bait, and certainly many of them require you to work them very quickly to produce the action the bait was designed for; however, working that bait certain times of the year requires you to slow down. We are approaching that critical time now! Bass become lethargic, and their system slows down in the hot water, especially as the oxygen depletes in the mid part of the summer.
Let me give you an example. Many of us are successful at fishing a frog when we burn it across a grass mat. Excellent example of when and how to catch fish: burning it does require you to change speeds and tempo many times to be successful. If you’re burning the frog without stopping, slowing, speeding back up, then you could very well have the wrong tempo required to get a bass to bite. When your best buddy tells you to burn it, and they will bite, it doesn’t necessarily mean they never slow down or stop the bait to change the tempo. This can be a critical piece of retrieve speed.
All baits we fish require thought on the presentation, and many times, the presentation you use at first light may need to be changed drastically to get the same bite at 11 a.m. Fish are usually more active at 6 a.m. than they are at 9 a.m., and retrieve speed and tempo need to be changed many times as the day progresses.
Lastly, tournament anglers are a perfect example of critical retrieve speed. Many times, a tournament angler hits the water for a practice day and really slays the fish. He goes back to the same spot at the same time of day during the tournament and can’t get his fist to bite. Why? He is fishing with a different tempo then he did during his practice time. Not realizing how critical this can be, his body is hyped up, and the speed and tempo at which he caught fish in practice has changed!
-Captain Mike Gerry