In my last entry I talked about changing up the retrieves and adding pauses to trigger neutral fish in cooler water. Today I am going to talk about speeding up the cadence to trigger bites. As previously mentioned, many of us fall into the same retrieve we have always used when working crank baits because we are creatures of habit and will try to use patterns that have worked for us in the past. Water temps at the surface are in the mid seventies at this time and this is a great time to begin using pulling and snapping retrieves and ramping up the speed to trigger reaction strikes from fish.
This technique involves using lipless rattle baits, jigging raps and rippin raps and even spoons, and this can be a killer way to work spinner baits for walleyes! A pulling retrieve involves casting the bait out and letting it fall to the bottom with the rod pointed at roughly 2 o clock. When the lure touches down you make a slow sweeping pull to the 11 o clock position moving the bait up in a darting forward action. lower the rod tip back to 2 o clock and let the bait fall close to the bottom and repeat the 2-11 o clock drag keeping the lure bounding along but not quite touching bottom. Often as the lure begins to speed up, or just as you start to sweep the rod you will feel the fish hit. Think of this pulling retrieve like a gentle hopping of the lure from within inches of the bottom to roughly 2-3' above the bottom on the sweep. It takes a bit of practice to keep the lure riding just above the bottom as it hip hops along. I like to work this type of retrieve with either a 7' medium action rod and a high speed reel spooled with braided line so I can stay in contact with the lure and sweep up slack line quickly. Most often I use a 7' spinning rod paired with a shimano symetre reel spooled up with 15-20# braid or when working heavier baits a 7' rod with an Abu Garcia C4 reel spooled with 50# braid. I like to tie direct to the lure with the braid most of the time which gives me better feel of what the lure is doing and if it has fouled with weeds or debris. You can add a flourocarbon leader in clearer bodies of water for a bit stealthier approach. Since this is a quicker cadence and retrieve fish often are reacting to the fleeing bait and it does not give them time to inspect the lure or shy away from the line. I like to use this technique on large sand flats near standing weedlines and have had success using this method on large flats 20' deep. Try a pulling retrieve with some lipless rattle baits, jigging raps or spoons and spinners the next time you are out, you may well be surprised by the number of fish you catch! Next week I will talk about a ripping retrieve for crankbaits. Tightlines!