Control your speed and tempo
by Mike Gerry
There is never a time of year that being able to dictate your reel speed and tempo to get bites is as important as it is in the fall.
Fall is reaction time and when you are competing with tons of bait fish, that they feed on, you must be able to do something that makes a bass turn and strike your bait. There are several 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 can certainly require you to slow down, speed up, change cadence and tempo, and we are experiencing that critical time now!
Let me give you an example, many of us are successful at fishing a frog when we burn it across a grass mat. This is an 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 are burning the frog without stopping, slowing, or speeding back up, then you could very well have the wrong tempo required to get a bass to bite. When your best friend tells you to burn it, and they will bite, does not necessarily mean that 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 six a.m. than they are at 11 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. There are 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 cannot 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!