Retrieve speed & tempo
by Mike Gerry
It is the time of year that speed-to-retrieve is the name of the game as reeling up a slow-moving bait or a fish coming at you quickly, setting the hook is extremely important. 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 require you to slow down, and we are approaching that critical time now. Plastics and jigs or burning baits over grass with slack in your line are generally baits of choice during the heat 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; many times, burning it does require you to change speeds and tempo to be successful. If you are burning the frog without stopping, slowing and 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 does not necessarily mean he never slows down, or stops the bait to change the tempo, this can be a critical piece of retrieve speed.
All baits we fish with 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. Often, fish are more active at 6 a.m. than they are at 9 a.m. and retrieve speed and tempo needs to be changed occasionally 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!