Slowing the retrieve speed
by Mike Gerry
As we move into the heat of summer we are approaching a time of year that one of the most critical things that people are doing wrong, when they have trouble catching fish, is fishing too quickly when retrieving their baits 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 at certain times of the year requires you to slow down, and we are approaching that critical time now.
When the water temperatures reach the 80s or higher, as it is now, you must slow down. The higher the temperature of the water, the lower the oxygen levels. This slows the fish metabolism as it reaches these critically reduced levels of oxygen.
Let me give you an example. Many of us are successful at fishing a frog when we burn it across a grass mat. Burning it does require you to change speeds and tempo many times to be successful. If you’re burning the frog without stopping, slowing and speeding back up again, then you could very well have the wrong tempo required to get a bass to bite, and this can be a critical element in retrieve speed.
Changing the rhythm and tempo might just be what is needed, and this requires you to change retrieve speed.
All the baits we fish require thought on the presentation. 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 often more active at 6 a.m. than they are at 9 a.m., and retrieve speed and tempo needs 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 fish to bite. Why? He is fishing with a different tempo than 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!