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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Fishing with Soft Plastics... (first posted by Keith White)

Start with paddle tailed plastics.

These give confidence because they have a built in action.

Fish them in area's where up to 20g heads are suitable and try to choose somewhere with
ocean motion, like a cross current.

slow roll them over the bottom, or lift and drop, burn and kill etc...

Slow rolling is steady retrieve with as much bottom contact as possible.

Lift and drop. cast, sink, wind up slack and lift the rod back like you are striking but not so far.
Make it more of a wrist action. wait a short period, wind up slack, start again.

Burn and kill: cast, sink, wait, wind FAST as you lift the rod tip for 4 to 6 turns depending upon depth etc

STOP but drop the rod tip towards the lure to ensure a tension relieved fall of the lure. The lure tail will still
kick on the drop and, many fish are taken NOW before the lure hits bottom.

If daylight and calm, watch your line. As a SP falls it will leave a 'V' wake where the line intersects with the falling
lure. If the 'V' stops abruptly for ANY reason other than hitting the bottom. Strike ! A good rod will give you the
tell tale feedback of where your SP is on the bottom, or not and help detect the shy takes often common on the drop.

At night, count down your SP head and work out the takes from that.
If you are getting 5 seconds from a crank to bottom and suddenly you count to 7..Strike !
Strike at everything that doesn't follow a pattern in fact.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

originally posted by K white.

Danish retrieve

First off, i find that people do not use one method of getting curious fish to strike when subsurface fishing. You all do it naturally when walking or sliding baits as the plug moves from side to side, especially in a slow restful glide and walk type retrieve.

so, you cast. WAIT !, twitch.
wind in, 1, 2, 3

STOP, 2, 3

Twitch !


Wind, 2, 3

STOP 2, 3


This method works great with various lures but suspenders and sinking lures like the larus minnow or sinking tideminnows, heritics, etc work where others often fail.

In current, use a sinking plug, in heavy current use a smaller sinker (sinks faster for same weight) etc.

This mechanical method brings one thing into your fishing that you sometimes often ignore.

Induced take.

We learned this through fly fishing in moving water and weighted flies in still or open ocean waters.

The lift of a fly, or a lure and of course, the flutter down on a slack line is often irresistible.

You don't have to have 1 2 3 stop, you might find counting to 4 and stopping, or 2, or 6, or a variety of counts and stops are most effective but...

Effective it is..

Good luck.

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540 Posts
not sure if it has been mentioned before but here goes.....
how many of you after the initial cast, concentrating and working the lure all the way back in to within 10-15feet before cranking it in to re-cast?
i know i have been guilty of this. the are probably missing out on fish BIG TIME.

im not going to speak about a technique for bass as im still a novice and there are others who can add to this post. But from my f/w experiences, hanging and figure of eighting at your feet (literally under the rod tip) has hooked me up with loads of `extra` fish, somedays outfishing a well worked lure from disatnce.

the hanging technique in regards to fly fishing is basically after retrieving/working your flies back to you a marker on the flyline approx 10feet from the start of your leader, you stop retrieving completely and wait 5, 10 secs and then slowly raise your rod tip before casting again. so many fish follow and unless you fish right to your feet you could be missing out. not 100% guaranteed but certainly works, confidence to sit/stand there holding your rod is needed.

the figure of eight is basically that, at the end of your retrieve sweep the rod in a fairly slow but smooth figure of eight as it gives time for the fish to decide use it or loose it the sudden quick changes in directions can be a major trigger to convert followers into takers. has worked unbelievably well for me on pike especially.

just a couple of pointers im sure most of you do already, but if you havent then try it, it can be a real adrenaline rush to get hit at clsoe quarters.

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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

a fly technique that can be adapted to lures, provided by our real "darksider" (pro fly fishing guide) Iestyn.. :twisted: (cheers bud')

Forgot about a count/stroke guys!!!

glad that was brought up again. similarly ive fished some big competitions on stillwaters around the uk and when "blobs" and "sparklers" first hit the scene, the rainbows took a hiding!!!!

my favourite retrieve was the Three Blind Mice!! ill explain, after you have cast out and established the depth the fish are at, counting down you the say the nursery rhyme (to yourself)

three blind mice (short pull with each word) PAUSE see how they run (short pulls, pause etc) and so on! just another idea that could work with certain styles!!!

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48 Posts
Now this might sound stupid (which means its gonna) but i have used the ipod this year alot whilst lurefishing.
But i have noticed my self reeling,twitching,drawing the bait, and knocking the lure to the music, i'm not kidding but i've noticed that on some ocassions its worked .
Now the problem is i have no written formula but i think its a reaction a bit like tapping your foot to music, i didn't realise at first but when working a lure to slow song, say bitter sweet symphony, i noticed my retrive slow, and i twitched to the voilin bit, then go for something with a slow verse to the song, but fast chourus like kings of leon, someone like you, and i found myself slowly twitching the sp on the slow bit but twitched it harder for the chorus.

Now i'm not saying its worked everytime but,the thing i'm trying to get across is when you have different tempo's blasting in your ears sometimes your body reacts to this, ,and from switching tempo's of retrieve sometimes it can induce a take

Its like the three blind mice routine, but with different songs to work too.

I nearly deleted this because it sounds Fxxxxxg stupid but hey, its worked for me. :lol: :oops: :oops: :oops:

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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Walk the dog. (1)

WALKING THE DOG... originally posted by brandon on

The key to walking the dog is making sure that there's some "line-slack" immediately before each jerk,
and immediately after each jerk. This gives a crisp, natural motion to the lure, unfettered by drag of any kind.
Like all things, there are many ways to walk-the-dog, but I'll only describe the method that I personally use:
After splashdown, I hold the rod low with the rod-tip about 1 to 1.5 feet above the water.

The lure can be activated strictly with wrist-action or by using a whole-arm motion that pivots from the shoulder. I switch back-and-forth between the two to prevent overuse injury to any one joint. Due to slack in the line, the rod-tip must move considerably farther than the lure.
With an eye on the lure, I keep the pulls short, about 6 inches "at the lure". At the end of each down-stroke the rod-tip is almost touching the water. Then without any pause, the rod is immediately returned to its original position, etc., etc.
The left hand operates on a separate brain, taking up slack line as it becomes available, while always preserving a little slack.

From the angler's standpoint, the delivery is a non-stop series of rhythmic strokes that jerk the lure by snapping slack line.
This causes the lure to zigzag about 6 inches to alternating sides without pause. The rod-tip must move further than 6 inches to overcome the line-slack, otherwise a short jerk would be unproductive. From the fish's standpoint, it's a frightened creature that's basically treading water with a lot of wasted motion. I believe the success of dog-walking is partly due to the fact that the lure never stops moving, making it difficult for bass to get a good look. In addition, the lure spends its time scooting back-and-forth with little meaningful forward progress, in other words, dog-walking offers deceptively slow coverage yet the lure is hard to identify.

The key to walking the dog is making sure that there's some "line-slack" immediately before each jerk,
and immediately after each jerk. This gives a crisp, natural motion to the lure, unfettered by drag of any kind.
Like all things, there are many ways to walk-the-dog, but I'll only describe the method that I personally use:
After splashdown, I hold the rod low with the rod-tip about 1 to 1.5 feet above the water. The lure can be activated strictly with wrist-action or by using a whole-arm motion that pivots from the shoulder. I switch back-and-forth between the two to prevent overuse injury to any one joint. Due to slack in the line, the rod-tip must move considerably farther than the lure.
With an eye on the lure, I keep the pulls short, about 6 inches "at the lure". At the end of each down-stroke the rod-tip is almost touching the water. Then without any pause, the rod is immediately returned to its original position, etc., etc.
The left hand operates on a separate brain, taking up slack line as it becomes available, while always preserving a little slack.

From the angler's standpoint, the delivery is a non-stop series of rhythmic strokes that jerk the lure by snapping slack line.
This causes the lure to zigzag about 6 inches to alternating sides without pause. The rod-tip must move further than 6 inches to overcome the line-slack, otherwise a short jerk would be unproductive. From the fish's standpoint, it's a frightened creature that's basically treading water with a lot of wasted motion. I believe the success of dog-walking is partly due to the fact that the lure never stops moving, making it difficult for bass to get a good look. In addition, the lure spends its time scooting back-and-forth with little meaningful forward progress, in other words, dog-walking offers deceptively slow coverage yet the lure is hard to identify.

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6,295 Posts
Popping (for bass)

On first impressions it sounds easy, and it is, but, there are a few simple rules to remember.

I personally only use poppers when there is surface chop or big swells. Now I am not saying this is the only time it will work but its when I use it. You will find sometimes the lure doesnt seem to pop, it just buries in the water. This can be annoying and is usually because of the timing. Be prepared to try your rod at different heights, hold it up in the air if the windis behind you etc. I try to coincide the jerk to when the wave is cresting on the lure, so you imply the jerk a split second before it comes over the crest. This should make the lure splash the top of the wave and spray the water. I will do this a couple of times and also jerk the lure in the troughs too to try and make a plunge of bubbles go under the water. I alternate these actions and also, which is very very important, especially if you want bigger fish, pause, and I mean for maybe up to 10 seconds. It seems boring but if there are big lazy fish about it suddenly isnt borring!

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Just a little add on to MrFish's Popping
I have found that with several poppers, and the Feed Popper inparticular. Have a slittle slack just before you pop, and you get a lovely bloop. With a tight line you get more slash/spray. Both can be good and you can try both in a retrieve. Bloop and pause as Mrfish describes has been successful for me. But as he said you have to wait, and wait and.........wait then Bang.

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Waking a minnow bait:

Just another little trick, works great at change of light and especially on flat calm windless days and
those super dark 'new moon' glassy sea's.

Take a minnow type lure, I use a Bomber 16A as does Kev.

There are a few ways but the very best is to cast out, as always, wait and then, gently take up the
slack, you do NOT want the lure to dive but, you still want a little side to side movement.

All you require the plug leave is, a defined 'Vee wake'

To help with this, you can reduce the lip/bib on your chosen wake lure or, blunt the front edge
which has an exact opposite effect to when we sharpen it. Blunt it, harder to dive, sharpen it,
easier to dive. You could, on a bomber, actually cut the bib back across it's nose to leave a flat,
squared off bib.

The trick is to wind the plug back high in the water so, keep the rod angle UP and around 10
o'clock, don't pause with this one, just wind as SLOOW !! as you possibly can with no, absolutely
no change in rhythm. You'll know when it's right cause those Bass will absolutely slam home.

Use of this very low tension retrieve still allows for Bass to cruise up behind the plug and suck the bait
towards them somewhat. Your low speed, very low speed retrieve will, along with the rod angle, mean that
the reel line won't be super tight between rod and lure but, you'll be in constant contact.

Try it in calm conditions or over area's where fish have been pressured before.

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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Basic retrieves..

I came across this on the American Basspro site, ( ... reId=10151), I know that most of us already know most of what is written, but i thought i'd post it for those who don't....


Imparting Action

Essentially lures are manipulated by the fishing line to which they are tied. These line movements are controlled by the angler through rod and reel movements. In some respects anglers act as puppeteers to their lures, giving life to inanimate objects. Using different types of rods, reels and line will impact the effectiveness or believability of your lure's presentation.

For example, no matter how much you discipline yourself to slowly work a muskie jerkbait in the fall, if you're using a high-gear ratio reel, you won't achieve as slow of a retrieve if you were to use a low-gear ratio reel. Line diameter serves as another example. The larger the line's diameter, the more water resistance it creates. If using diving lures, like crankbaits, the bait will dive deeper on a smaller diameter line, which is why many anglers have switched to superbraid lines to maximize a bait's running depth. Superbraids maintain a respectable pound-test, but have a smaller diameter if compared to a same-pound test monofilament line.

Number One: A Straight Retrieve

Beginning with the most basic of styles is a straight retrieve. The lure is brought through the water through the intake of line via the reel. The rod is used very little, although it may be raised or lowered slightly to make the bait ascend or descend in the water column or to add some variety to the lure's action. Any rod type can be used for a straight retrieve as long as it has enough power to handle the bait's resistance when reeled in. Opt for reels with high-gear ratios if you want to bring baits in quickly and choose low-gear ratio reels if you want a slow retrieve speed.

A straight retrieve is effective for many reasons. The fact that the bait maintains a undeviating trajectory and speed (in most cases) makes it easy for fish to find and hit the lure. This style of retrieve is also an excellent way to cover a lot of water to find active fish, such as using spinnerbaits or crankbaits for bass or muskie.

This type of retrieve also works well when fishing jigs or swimbaits for suspended fish. Count the lure down to a specific depth and then retrieve it through this section of the water column. Another benefit of the retrieve is that you have constant feel of the lure because it's on a tight line, which means you shouldn't miss feeling any hits.

Number Two: Jigging

I've heard several pro anglers and outdoor personalities state, "If I had to choose only one lure to use, it'd be a jig." In most cases, they were referring to a simple jighead teamed with a tube or twister-tail, soft-plastic body. For most jigs, spinning rods and reels are used. Longer rods, like seven to eight footers, offer more control and take up more line on the hookset. Choose a rod with a sensitive tip to detect hits but one that also has adequate backbone to set the hook and handle big fish.

The basic jigging retrieve begins by casting the bait out and letting it fall to the bottom on controlled line. This will let you detect any hits as it sinks. Once the bait stops, it's worked along the bottom. This is done by raising the rod (from a 10 o'clock to 11 o'clock position), which lifts the jig off the bottom and brings it forward. Next, the rod is lowered to its original position (10 o'clock), the jig falls back to the bottom, and line is retrieved with the reel until taut. At this point, some anglers may pause before beginning the retrieve again.

Don't be afraid to experiment with various ways of bringing in baits.

Variations to jigging include reeling while the rod is lifted to make baits swim longer distances. Another is not using the rod to move the bait but rather employing a few quick turns of the reel to cause the bait to shoot upwards and forwards, before falling again when you stop reeling. When drift fishing or vertical jigging, anglers simply need to maintain contact with the bottom and raise and lower the rod to jig the bait. Short, smaller movements that subtly move the bait are sometimes referred to as hopping, which is a variation on a jigging retrieve.

Number Three: Twitching

Twitching is an erratic retrieve. The majority of the lure's movement is the result of short, fast rod movements. This causes the bait to quickly move a short distance. The frequency and number of twitches can be varied to create dozens of patterns; however, retrieves consisting of a few twitches and then a pause seem to be the most popular.

Work baits quickly for aggressive fish and slowly for neutral or negative mood fish. The pause is important when twitching to increase your hooking percentages. The twitching often attracts fish, but the erratic retrieve can be tough for fish to successfully strike. Adding a pause to a retrieve gives fish a chance to zero-in on the lure and hit it.

Twitching is favored with hard- and soft-plastic jerkbaits, glidebaits and topwater baits. Although some prefer spinning rods to work hard-plastic jerkbaits or minnowbaits, baitcast combos tend to be preferred for twitching. Regardless, choose a medium to a heavy rod to handle your quarry of choice. The rod should have little give in the tip, so that when you twitch the bait, little energy is absorbed by the rod, but transferred directly to the bait itself.

Number Four: Jerking or Sweeping

Jerking could be considered a close cousin to twitching. This retrieve style is mainly dependant on rod manipulation to impart the right action to the bait. Jerking consists of longer, sweeping rod movements and the rod that is pulled downward or to the angler's side. Next, the rod is returned to the starting position and slack line is recovered with the reel. Once the line is taut, the angler performs another rod sweep. This style of retrieve is mainly used for the aptly-named jerkbaits. The sweeping of the rod causes these baits to dive slightly, or swim to the side. On the pause baits will either sink, suspend, or float, depending on their material and design.

Baitcast rods are the norm for jerkbait fishing and they should be a medium- to a heavy-action with little give in the tip. If you use a flexible rod when jerkbait fishing, baits will not perform properly. Also, you'll likely tire yourself out from using a lot of energy to move baits because the rod tip is bending, and reducing the distance a bait will move.

If you plan on jerking your baitcast rod downward (from a 9 o'clock to 6 o'clock position) consider purchasing a shorter rod to ensure you don't hit the water's surface with the rod tip. Plunging the rod tip in and out of the water requires more energy and can cause freeze-up on cold autumn outings. For example, a muskie jerkbait rod for a man of average height should fall somewhere between six to six and a half feet in length, with models at six feet, three inches being quite popular.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

This is a thread that Dai 56 sent me from the salmo site..


There probably is no angler, who never asked himself this question. What do we know on the subject, then? Does the colour of the lure, or the pattern, used by the manufacturer often through elaborate ornamental techniques, influence the effectiveness of the lure? If so, then how and to what extent does its colour influence the number of bites? In other words - is the enormous range of colours of artificial lures in our angling shops only a trap for our cash or a justified necessity?

All of you dear friends have probably heard these stories - in this lake pikes only strike at a gold-coloured spoon, in another they react only to the silver one and at that section of the river the wobbler must have a blue back, as you don't stand a chance of catching a nice chub there with a black one! As a lure manufacturer I often have to listen to similar theories and what's worse, I am expected to provide professional comments. What is more, I am an ichthyologist, so it would be the best, if I explained all those theories in a credibly scientific manner. Scientists have been researching the process of seeing in fish for 100 years and anglers often motivate them by providing interesting practical information. Still, the process of seeing in fish has been only partially examined. We do not know, whether our knowledge will ever allow us to understand what image is created in a pike's brain at the sight of our lure.
However, we know quite a lot about -

What happens to light when it penetrates into a liquid environment

We all know, that white light is made of a multi-coloured spectrum, in which specific wavelengths correspond to specific colours. The human eye registers the following components of white light in order from shortest to longest waves - red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and violet.
Light behaves differently in water than in air. It is said, that water "filters light". First of all one should know, that as light penetrates deeper into water it loses energy. It is connected with some of the waves being reflected or dispersed on the surface, as well as with their later absorption. Single colours (wavelengths) are filtered away (absorbed) as the depth increases. Warm colours fade and become grey-black as the penetrate the pillar of water. Red fades at a depth of approximately 3 metres, later orange and yellow begins to fade noticeably. At 10 metres orange is no longer visible and yellow disappears quickly. At approximately 20 metres yellow looks green-blue and only blue, indigo and violet remains unchanged to the eye. At 40 metres violet fades. One should remember, however, that this estimated data is valid for a crystal-clear lake. Any cloudiness in the water, organic suspension which appears very often even in clean bodies of water, as well as waves will drastically affect the figures.
The total energy of light falls as depth rises. So, even though at a depth of 10 metres we will still register the colour yellow as yellow, its intensity will be much smaller than at 3 metres. In a clear lake red will still be visible at 3 metres, but in a murky river it will "turn into" black already half a metre below the surface.

The discussion on whether and up to what degree the colours of artificial lures influence fishing results should begin with a short analysis of what we know about the sight of fish. Many times have I heard the doubt expressed by anglers when talking about the effectiveness of lures. Therefore, first of all -

Do fish see the world in colour?

If it is known, that even dogs have a serious "problem" with distinguishing most colours (they see yellow and blue best), than fish, placed lower on the ladder of evolution probably don't see colours at all. In fact no. Ichthyologic research has proved without doubt, that most species of fish distinguish all the colours visible to humans and some can even see more! There exist, however, large differences in capabilities between different species of fish. They depend on environmental factors as well (transparency of water and intensity of lighting).
The eye of fish is built similarly to the eye of other vertebrates. The retina plays the crucial role in the process of seeing. Photosensitive receptors are placed in it. There are two kinds of such cells, equipped with so called rods and cones. Rods receive low intensity stimuli and cones work when lighting is intense. As with higher primates, the cones are responsible for distinguishing colours. Humans have 3 kinds of cones. They are responsible for registering the three basic colours - red, green and blue. A retina built in such a way allows us to differentiate between over 300000 shades of colours.
The construction of the retina in eyes of fish depends on the conditions in which they live, their so called behavioural needs. Diurnal fish, which have many more cones in the retina, can distinguish colours much better than nocturnal species. Fish living in shallow and well-lighted waters have four, or even five, kinds of cones (e.g. trout). This allows them to register more colours than humans - for example ultraviolet. Other fish have two kinds of cones, which limits their ability to see colours to a certain degree (e.g. zander).
On the other hand, fish living in poor light conditions have only one kind of cones. Moreover, their retina is characterised with a large number of small rods and a small number of cones. For example in burbots, the ratio of rods to cones is 200:1. Deep-sea fish, but also some species known to anglers (e.g. catfish) don't have cones at all. The eyes of these fish are extremely sensitive to light. At the same time, they have very small capabilities in terms of distinguishing detail.
The threshold sensitivity to light in eyes of fish depends to a high extent not only in the species. It can vary greatly as a result of adaptation to specific conditions (e.g. living in darkness) within a single species.

Therefore if fish, as a vast majority, can distinguish colours better than humans, is this important for us, anglers? In other words -

Does having lures in many colours increase the chances of a good catch?

Based on the research of biochemical processes taking place in the retina and experiments with fish training we can try to imagine how different species see our lures.

For a predator to have a chance to appreciate our efforts of fooling it with a multi-coloured lure, it must first register it. However, without any doubt, if a lure is to be registered, it must contrast against the background of its surroundings. This is especially important in low-light conditions.
At greater depths, where only remnants of light reach, a colour with more contrast than blue against the blue-green background will be white or silver. Using prismatic foil, which reflects the remnants of light in different directions, may yield good results as well.
Surely however, a specific colour or combination of colours perfectly visible against a sandy bottom will not be as visible against a dark bottom or in the depths. This probably is the key to success in lure selection - most predators detect the presence of a potential victim in the vicinity when they register contrast against the environment. The level and type of such contrast depend on a number of factors - time of day, type of bottom, amount of light reaching the area and so on.

As we've already concluded, colour is an important factor influencing the visibility of the lure. Is it the most important one though? Let us remember what fishing with artificial lures is about. We imitate the food of fish by using the instinct of hunger. However, is this the only motivation to attack? One known Polish writer, a passionate angler, wrote once, that some lures are so beautiful, that fish express their admiration by biting them. They don't have hands - so they "clap" with their mouths!
The predator's decision to strike the lure or give up is therefore based on a number of factors. The fish judges the size, shape and the way an object moves. Sounds emitted by the object and its smell are also important, as well as other possible factors we have no idea about. The more of these factors the predator finds "interesting", the more likely it is to make a decision favourable to the angler.
Let's remember the other senses apart from sight used by the predators we're interested in. Most of them - pike, perch, asp, trout - are typical visualizers. Others - like for example catfish - use more senses to hunt. In all of them however, the sense of the lateral line is very important. It is known, that a pike, even completely deprived of sight, can cope very well in its environment, catching prey only on the "bearings" from this hypersensitive organ.

Without doubt using colourful bait may help to fool the predator -

In clear water

Clear and well lighted water presents a serious challenge to anglers, who want to trick predators with artificial lures. The colour and pattern on the lure becomes the most important in such cases.

However, is precise copying of the colours we see always a fail-safe prescription? One American angler describes an interesting case of unexplainable effectiveness of the colour of oxidised lead in the clear water of a mountain stream. This fact he discovered by accident has been researched for an explanation. It turned out, the for some unexplainable reason trouts from the stream saw much better and attacked the colour of lead, which to us seemed grey and not very visible, instead of e.g. the shiny colour of nickel or polished silver. Perhaps fish see these colours completely differently than humans. Therefore, manufacturers face a considerable task. They must copy the colour of oxidised lead although nobody's sure what exactly it should look like...

Both scientific experiments and angling practice point out, that in clear water white or transparent lures work. Delicate, shining patterns based on the use of glitter or holographic foil are perfect.

After all, we are imitating fish scales, shining with guanine. Blue also is a well visible colour. It should come as no surprise then, that on Baltic waters the combination of light-blue, silver and white has been considered to be the most effective for hunting predators for many years.
Perhaps then it is enough to use suitable colours and their shades to effectively fish for predators with artificial lures in clear water? This question comes up very often in conversations with anglers. Many think, that a hungry pike (and they're usually hungry) attacks everything that moves. Is it worth the trouble to pay attention to the beautifully sketched patterns of scales, fins and spots specific to the imitated species?
It turns out, that species with retinas more complex than humans have no problems with noticing the smallest details distinguishing potential victims, therefore our lures as well.
In a pike's retina for example, there is one cone for 3-4 large rods. Such construction makes the eye of this predator not very sensitive to light, but it at the same time is able to recognise and distinguish detail perfectly.

Experiments performed by one German ichthyologist, who fed small guppy males to pikes proved that after only some short training the predators could distinguish prey of only slightly different colour.

In turn, low sensitivity to light does not bother pikes, because, as we know, they usually hunt from sunrise to sunset.
Trout however, apart from being able to see the colours and smallest details of potential prey better than humans, are also capable of seeing close and distant objects well at the same time, as well as they are able to clearly distinguish colours from different distances. Therefore, as hunters of these fish know, they are very demanding opponents. When fishing it is advisable to camouflage oneself as good as possible, as every careless movement on the shore usually rules out a good catch in that spot.

Simple experiments based in training proved as well, that fish can learn basic geometric figures rather quickly. Moreover, predators have shown particular interest in some graphical patterns. These were two concentric elements of contrasting colours. The greatest activity and even aggression was caused by a pattern made of two concentric circles, with the inner one being darker. This is of course a typical graphical symbol of an eye! It turned out, that during the last moment before the attack the predators "aim for" the eye of a potential victim. It is usually connected with a slight "lead" of the attack in the direction of the eye. In other words, the predator predicts that in the last milliseconds the victim will move towards the direction on which the eye can be seen. Some fish use this to fool their pursuers by creating a dark spot, like an "additional eye" on their sides or the tail. Therefore painting large eyes on artificial lures is definitely justified.
Of course, nocturnal fish - for example catfish - do not have such capabilities.

However, is it worth the trouble to give so much attention to the colours and patterns of our lures -

When everything becomes grey

The total intensity of lighting at a given moment is very important of course. Colours fade away much quicker on a cloudy day than on a sunny one. At dusk, when the intensity of light falls rapidly, the eyes of fish feeding at that time switch to seeing with rods. Colours are seen as slight shades between white and black. In order to get a predator's attention it is best to use a colour with the greatest contrast against the surface of the water. If we are fishing at dusk in clear water, red colour is an excellent choice.

Six years ago I was fishing for pike with a friend in Swedish skerries of the Baltic Sea. The day was beautiful and sunny. In crystal-clear water strikes were perfectly visible. The fish were biting a lot. The predators were attacking our jerkbaits from a large distance. The friend was learning to fish with the Salmo Slider at that time, and changing lures often. In effect, at the end of the day, I chalked up many more caught fish. Before the evening we decided to visit a little bay located between three small islands covered with tall pines. Pikes where there too. In a short time I pulled out three, weighing between 2-3 kg.

Like before, I was fishing with a Salmo Slider, in Real Perch colour. The sun hid behind the tops of the tall pines growing on the island spelling the end of the day and the strikes ended. The friend at that moment decided to use a red Slider (Red Tiger). He was guiding it just below the surface, perfecting the technique. During sunset conditions only this colour was visible from far away and allowed the work of the lure to be followed. If I hadn't been an eyewitness, I probably wouldn't have believed what happened then. During the next fifteen minutes my friend had a dozen or so of strikes and pulled out 7 pikes, weighing up to five kg! At the same time, fishing with a natural-coloured lure, I didn't score even a touch!

Fish hunting in low-light conditions - at night, in murky water, on large depths, have adjusted to them in various ways.
The zander has two types of cones. Most - responsible for seeing yellow and orange, and smaller ones - registering green. Any zander hunter can confirm the effectiveness of these colours. What's more, the cones in this predator are especially large. Thanks to this, they have become the subject of research of physiologists interested in the process of seeing, not only in fish. An additional upgrade of the zander's eyesight is a reflective guanine layer covering the inside of the eyeball. Thanks to this light passes through the cones twice strengthening the signal sent to the brain. That is why zander's eyes shine with a silvery glow even by the most delicate light. The eyes of some night-hunting mammals work in a similar way. Thanks to such eye construction, a zander's eyesight is unbelievably sensitive. It can see perfectly when other fish, let alone humans, can't see anything at all! Anglers should know then, that in the case of this predator, it is worth it to pay attention to detail on the lure and the most effective combination of colours should be yellow and green.

A pioneer of research into fish eyesight is Prof. Dwight Burkhardt from the University of Minnesota. The research on zander retina, which he has begun over 30 years ago, have also increased our knowledge about the process of seeing in humans. The current created in cones under light stimuli was researched. Zander's cones, even though they are exceptionally big, have a diameter five times smaller than a human hair. In order not to disrupt their normal functions electrodes with a diameter of 0,0001 mm were used!

The retina of catfish is built differently. They don't have cones in the retina at all. They employ rods only, which makes them see bright light as white and lack of lighting is registered as all shades of grey. However, the eyesight of catfish, when compared to humans, is perfectly sensible to low levels of light. On a dark, cloudy night a catfish can see very well what a human has problems seeing during full moon! All catfish hunters know, of course, that sight isn't the most important sense of this predator. Often living in very murky and dark waters, and being mostly nocturnal, this predator uses the lateral line for hunting, as well as hearing and smell, rather than sight. That's why it is easily lured by smell attractors and sounds. Using a noisy lure - a rattling wobbler or a Popper splashing on the surface, or the baiting sound of the clonk is fully justified.
This does not mean that colour has no importance for catfish lures. In such a case a luminescent colour - glowing in the darkness - is a perfect choice. Dyes that glow green are considered to be the best visible in darkness. In normal light a lure painted in such a way is grey-pink and looks very inconspicuous. That's why it is often disregarded by anglers. There are many modern dyes of this kind currently available on the market. Literally a few dozen seconds of shedding light on the lure with a strong flashlight is enough for it to release gathered energy for at least an hour. Moreover, dyes in other colours have appeared - blue, red, pink or yellow. It is advisable to use a number of colours in this case as well, in order to create a contrasting combination - e.g. a green-red pattern.

From among "special" dyes, fluorescent ones are much better known and more popular. It has been known for a time, that using these colours increases the effectiveness of artificial lures and one of the best-selling wobbler colours is the so called Green Tiger, called also Fire Tiger,

However, do we know where it's coming from, this -

Magic of fluorescence?

In normal light fluorescent paint differs from a normal one with a slightly lighter shade. However, they gain special properties in a light with shorter wavelength and especially UV light. They then look very bright, it can even seem, that they glow by themselves. Underwater the range of their visibility is much greater than of other colours. We've learned already, that at the threshold reached by what remains of light only the longest waves are active - UV. The conclusion is obvious. For large depth fishing lures painted with "fluo" dyes should be used. Research on the visibility of different colours in clear lakes has revealed, that some fluorescent colours - e.g. yellow and pink, were clearly visible at over 40 metres!
As we know however, low-light conditions aren't limited to deep water. Borders between night and day, heavy clouds, rain and waves, as well as natural cloudiness of water greatly reduce the amount of light with which the predator can see the lure. That's why it's recommended to experiment with these colours when others visibly turn "grey".

I will never forget one evening by the Lake of the Woods in Canada. Everyone from our group has caught beautiful muskies that day. A few hours earlier a known American angler, Jim Moynagh, had caught a 125 cm long specimen. That's why after supper, when most of our companions sat in the bar, in order to share impressions over a glass of beer, I, with my partner and Jim went on the lake in order to use the last two hours before sunset. We were fishing with the lure that worked the best on that day - Salmo Skinner 15 cm in RGS colours.

However, nothing happened during the first hour. The sky became cloudy and dusk fell very quickly. I decided to switch the colour of the lure to Green Tiger. During the next hour I had three strikes and managed to pull two fish out of the water, including my record-holding muskie, 131 cm long. Friends, fishing with RGS didn't even score a strike! The GT colour in the dark water of the lake, additionally full of organic suspension after an algae bloom really hit the bull's-eye.

On bright, sunny days and of course at night, when there's practically no light, there is no reason to use fluorescent colours.
Experiments have shown as well, that the colours visible from farthest away underwater are yellow and green fluo. It is so, because in most cases the water in the fishery has a greenish-yellow colour and fluo colours have a slightly longer wavelength than "normal" ones.
Anglers' observations have in turn proved, that in case of intense feeding of predators on specific victims, flu-coloured lures are inferior to those in natural colours. Another practical conclusion can arise from this. In order to attract a predator from far away it is worth it to use a fluo-coloured lure. However, what can be done, so that a predator tempted from far away with yellow fluo does not give up an attack after looking at a lure from nearby? The easiest way seems to be to use a natural pattern on a fluo undercoat. That's why the Hot Perch colour is unbeatably popular regardless of the fishing spot where it is used,

However, do we know why fluo colours affect predators? After all, it's hard to find natural prey in such colours. An explanation of this phenomenon may be the weakness of human sight. As I've already mentioned humans see many colours less than most predators. Fluo dye is found in the blood of vertebrates. This fact is used for example in criminology, when removed bloodstains are located with the help of UV lamps. It is not a new fact, that predators react to traces of blood in their environment. Perhaps they don't find it only by the smell? There is a theory that claims that this is the explanation behind the magnetic results of fluorescence.


As a conclusion we should pronounce, that the colour of the lure used does matter. It is important even when catching fish which aren't too discriminating in this regard, or even those which cannot distinguish colours at all. A few conclusions come to mind, which, I hope, will partake in better choices in terms of lure colour and as a result Your better angling results, Dear Friends!

• A key to success is to attract a predators attention to the lure
• In order for a lure to have a chance of being registered by the predator from a greater distance, it is more important for it to differ from the environment (contrast) than its colour
• Most predators watch the surface of the water when hunting. It is often important how much contrast there is between the colour of the lure and this background.
• Using contrasting colours helps in increasing contrast - black and white, yellow and black, red and white,
• Increase the contrast of your lure in murky water and decrease it (use natural colours) in clear water.
• Don't forget about black, which probably is the most contrasting colour regardless of conditions.
• For night fishing it worth it to use lures painted with luminescent dyes - cumulating (e.g. from a flashlight) and visible at any depth.

For the ending, the last, most important conclusion. Remember, that the most important factor influencing the effectiveness of the lure isn't its colour, but its correct presentation, or simply the work you do before (theory) and during fishing.
To all of you Dear Friends I wish repeated success of experiments with the effectiveness of artificial lure colours. If one of you, have some interesting observations and conclusions on the subject I am very willing to use them in my work.

Piotr Piskorski

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253 Posts
Dropshotting techniques..

Been surfing and found this here

If you go to the link there are video's that go with this but i edited them out so it was easier to read
cheers dai ... shing.html

i love the tip about using a leadhead as a drop shot weight i know it's about float tubing but a lot of it will be of use in the sea

Having a really great time fishing from the world's best floating fishing platform

Drop Shot Fishing

A Technique that still works after your retrieve makes presentation "go vertical"

Dropshotting is effective on deep, suspended hard to catch uninterested fish. It is a technique which originated in salt water jigging. However it has developed into a very sensitive way of fishing from a boat or float tube. Specialised hooks and weights are now available for drop shot fishing which make this technique easier and even more effective. In the US many major rod manufacturers have designed tapers specifically for the technique. For ourselves any medium-through action spinning rod will do fine. If you must use a fast action rod then the shorter the better.

On Irish loughs, during early season the method most seen is trolling, usually Rapalas, but other techniques can work too. If you've located large trout (see left) hovering or cruising slowly over deeper structure like eg last years dead weed beds, position the boat or tube over or near them and drop the lure or fly right on top of them.
Nod the rod tip gently with small rise-fall movements, alternating into vibrating movements. This shakes the fly/bait, still keeping the weight on the bottom. Take your time as if you were using a live lobworm or live fish bait, and be happy to give the predator time to make it's mind up, or get teased into action. Take long pauses of totally static motionless presentation. Tremble the rod tip with no other movement. Fish slowly and carefully. Especially in the cold early months like March and April, this works well. It is excellent when the dog days of summer push the fish deep.
Only trolling a sliding float gets similar results (ultra slow presentation at a controlled depth) to drop shot fishing, and DS is more versatile, since it can do a fast presentation too, as well as cast to greater distances.
If you are used to reeling in to make lure lifelike it is difficult to take on the idea that a static artificial lure is lifelike enough to fool predators.

Rod and Reel

Through action rods and fixed spool reels are best. I use a through action 7' spinning rod for trout and perch, and for pike a stronger 10' MkIV S/U 2.25lb TC carp rod with sliding fittings, and the reel mounted low (for seated tubing convenience). A boat angler would prefer the normal reel fittings/position.
For reel choice multipliers are not free running enough to drop a light almost weightless bait, at natural speed. So a fixed spool spinning reel is better for DS fishing for trout and perch. A multiplier can be used for pike and large trout with a little practise, due to the heavier baits, but the fixed spool is still better there too.
I use ABU Cardinal 3 and 4 series for light, and a Shimano 5 series Baitrunner for heavy stuff.
To be honest, a multiplier is more suitable for float tubing, because the reel, being on top of the rod is not touching the apron table top we have in our seated position, and the handle has more clearance as a result. Some day I will get one of the latest compact super multipliers, with small low inertia spool, and give it a go for this.

Tying the Hooks - Knots for DS

Tying the hooks on drop-shots is a refined technique, and can be done a couple of ways. The usual advice is to use a Palomar knot, beginning the knot with the hook positioned point side up. This is done before tying the sinker on. This is done so that the hook lays at a right angle to the leader. This is a better way to get a good hook set on light takes. Another way can be to take the leader end, after the hook is tied, and thread it back from top side downwards through the hook eye, then attach the rig lead. This way the hook shank lays horizontal sticking out from the line, which improves hook ups.

The special requirement of a drop shot rig for the hook to stand out has led to many anglers to using the Palomar knot even though it is not particularly good with the light line of a typical drop shot rig. The Palomar is a good knot for thick line designed for big game sea fishing, but it tends to cut itself and rapidly weaken in use with light/thin lines. In thick lines it's a 95% strength, but in the 4 - 8lb breaking strain lines it is unsafe in my opinion. Tight wraps over small round hook eyes and snaps tend to fracture the surface of tightly wrapped line. As a result thin lines seem to weaken much more than thick ones. Fluorocarbon tends to have a stronger surface than mono and lessen this tendency to break at the knot, but it is always a good idea to re-tie knots in fluorocarbon after catching a heavy fish, or having a stress tension from pulling out of a snag.
My favourite knot, the Uni / Grinner / Duncan Loop Knot is a lot stronger than the Palomar, and is I believe the best standard fishing knot for general purposes. Unfortunately it is not suitable for dropshotting because the tag end is facing back up the line, and not in a direction that easily lets it be threaded back through hook eye, downwards to the lead sinker. Use the Uni knot to tie hooks and swivels on in all other circumstances and you will have a reliable knot. The double Uni (not shown) is the best line - to - line joining knot I know.

A Double-line Clinch Knot is also stronger than the Palomar and it will make your hook stand out properly, so it's my No 1 knot for drop shotting. It should be completed with a doubled section of line. This knot has the advantage that the line tag end comes out at an angle which is conducive to being threaded through the hook eye without having to make a line weakening 180 degree turn. Like the Uni/Grinner/Duncan, it is also a 95%-100% line strength knot, but the tag end exit (near the hook eye) and it's direction are more suitable for DS fishing.

When the knot is completed, moisten, and draw tight. Then cut one of the double tag ends at the knot leaving 2mm sticking out. Unfold the tag loop, and your other tag end doubles in length to become the leader down to the sinker. Insert the two foot tag end leader down through the "top" of the hook eye so the hook point faces up. The weight will go at the end of the tag end.

There is a new hook I have not yet tried out (shown left). They are the TTI stand-out hooks which are designed to hang correctly for DS no matter what. They look good. They are of course designed for bass fishing in the US, and that means that large perch over here with a similar soft mouth structure will be hooked just fine on these hooks. I have not yet figured how these hooks will work in our local hard mouth predators like trout and pike. I will test some out soon and report.

Sinker Weights for Drop Shot Fishing

You can use almost any kind of lead/tungsten, but I like the "quick release" drop shot weights. If the conditions on the water change, such as the wind picking up, the current increasing, or if you move to deeper water, you can quickly change to a heavier weight without having to retie. The weights are specifically tailored for drop-shotting techniques. The best are long and thin to slip through weeds, but some are ball shaped, as has a swivel-like line tie that reduces line twist. Line twist can sometimes be a problem with these rigs in wind, or deep water situations, and anything that helps reduce this is a definite plus.

This type of weight also has something the others don't. It has a line clip that lets you change the distance between the lure and the weight, without having to retie.
Another technique for drop-shotting, is to tie a regular lead head jig, (usually a 1/4 to 3/4 of an ounce), at the leader end instead of the lead weight. If you do this don't use the Palomar knot as it is not strong when pulling from the tag (sinker) end, and a fish hooked on the jig will exert it's pull from there.
Some anglers use a "pinch-on" split shot or two for the lead. This is very handy, easy to adjust, slips off the line when snagged. I assume this is how Drop Shot fishing technique got it's name.
For a heavier rig you can also thread a bored bullet weight on the drop-shot leader, below the hook and lure, with a split shot squeezed on below the bullet weight to hold it in place. More weight can easily be added to this rig quickly, and you can spend more time fishing.

A trick I use in rocky places is heavy lead wire, wound round a nail to make a thin tube, and threaded onto the line with a No 1 to 4 or BB shot below to lock it on. See photo. This is a fine snag resistant set up, and if it happens to lock into a crack between rocks, the shot will slide off releasing the wire and allowing recovery of the flies or bait.

It depends on wind, drift speed, but as a guideline from shallows to 20' of water use 3/16 oz, for 30' deep consider 1/4 oz as standard, and for deeper 30 - 50' try 5/16 oz up to say 1/2 oz.

Swivels and Line Type

I tie on a swivel as a connection between the line and leader to reduce line twist. I always use a black swivel for this and other techniques in clearer water, if the BB swivels are too large use two smaller standard swivels separated by 1' of line.
I select the smallest swivel I can. Trout and perch feeding on nymphs will always see the swivel first if it is the same size as their food, and has movement, and this is to be avoided like the plague. For this reason be willing to consider that a swivel might reduce the number of takes in certain conditions, and go without if necessary.

Most anglers recommend a braid as the non stretch quality aids in detecting subtle strikes in deeper water. For very deep water (which is a rare fishing occasion) I admit a braided line won't be seen in peat coloured water, but it sticks out to much in normal depths (under 30 feet) and clear water areas, I use a Fluorocarbon line, partly because it's harder for the fish to see than the braids, this is important.
Also, by using less visible fluorocarbon line, I can go up in size to a higher pound test without the fish being able to detect it.

Finally, braids show up on the sonar all the way from top to bottom, and this really clutters up the screen, at a time when I'm supposed to be fishing for difficult fish that are in a neutral state at best, or not feeding at worst.

My favourite line is tried and tested, abuse taking, Maxima green mono in 4lbs and 6lbs strengths. For pike I use Maxima and Berkeley in 12lbs and 15lbs from reel to wire trace, with wire from main line down to the hook, and Maxima/Berkeley from hook down to sinker.
To give an idea of how I weigh up the various factors involved - if I fished crystal clear waters frequently, I might use fluorocarbon more. If I fished deep ALL the time, down where light levels are lower, I would consider braid, or heavy fluorocarbon, as their low stretch gives good "remote feel awareness".
For pike no special requirement to reduce line diameter arises, since the strengths above work fine in all conditions.
For trout in clear water and educated by being released a few times, Maxima 3lbs is invisible (on the surface in my own tests on educated trout in daylight), and clear fluoro of 5lbs (probably working strength 4lbs after knots) is also invisible. Heavier or darker lines near the surface can be seen and in bright light reduce the takes received. Under the surface 6lbs Maxima and 8lbs fluoro produce no reduction in the number of offers. For rough water, overcast conditions, and night fishing use heavier because you can, and it's better, I use Maxima 6lbs for small nymphs and 8lbs for leeches and lures.

Length of "tag end" hook-to-weight leader

I usually want my bait within 30" of the bottom. So a sinker length below hook will therefore be 2 1/2' maximum, unless there is a good reason like heavy snags like sunken tree branches. Even then I want to be as close as possible above such fish holding cover. HANDY HINT
If you don't have any of the special drop shot sinkers, you can use ordinary weights, like this Arlesey Bomb, for drop shotting. Just tie it on with a simple overhand knot. If it gets snagged, pulling will cause the knot to slip under tension and release the weight.

There is an advantage of having a longer length which anglers new to drop shot fishing might not think of. I am referring to the feature whereby your bait gets dragged down by the weight at speed, but after the weight lands on the bottom, the bait stops being pulled down, and begins falling more slowly under it's own weight, and then it is under the control of you and your rod.
Now (with the sinker on the bottom) you can hold the bait while you tighten up slack line. But alternatively you can choose to give your bait a weightless ultra slow free-fall during which it descends a bit, then you twitch it back up until the line tightens to the sinker. This is a particularly deadly moment after the cast.

The ability to free fall your lure is best if you are fishing vertically, with no wind, wave, or current drag pulling on a bow of slack line. If you are casting away from your position, these wind, wave and drift will place a certain minimum tautness in the line, which is difficult to overcome. The dry fly fisherman's trick of "mending line" is how you get the bait to sink downwards, in essence feeding extra line into the line "bow" so drift takes the line from your end only, thereby allowing the other end to remain free of tension.

On a clean bottom with bottom feeding fish, reduce the sinker leader to between 9" and 18". But with more active fish a higher bait is more visible and will get more takes by being seen by more fish. So in these circumstances lengthen the sinker leader from 12" to 24". The leader can also be lengthened if there is a bottom covering layer of soft weed like chara which fish like to pass over while hunting for little food items that graze on the weed.
Be sensitive to changes in line angle caused by casting, or drifting off the bait. That reduces the height of presentation and might create a need to lengthen the leader.

During the early season it is common to find non-feeding trout or pike in mid water, cruising over deeper features like dead weedbed root patches from the last season. Midwater predators are usually not feeding, so they're hard to catch by any method. But if there were to be nymph activity, they tend to be located already in the place where it will occur, like suspended over last years gravel bed (stick insect - sedge pupa), or dying weedbeds (asellus water louse, gammarus shrimp). This is a good time for an extended leader to achieve mid water presentation, with the weightless trembling at the level of the fish.

HOW: Drop Shot Fishing Technique

If you are in shallow water, where fish under the tube will be spooked by it's shadow or presence, cast away to open water, or to a fish holding feature. Cast the rig anywhere you want.

If you are over deeper water, you can either cast or if fish are on your sonar at the time just lower it down vertically.
If you're new to DS fishing lower your rod top occasionally and watch for slack in your line. This shows the weight is resting on the bottom, and is where it should be. If the line stays taut it means the weight is still falling through the water and needs more time to reach bottom. While the weight is sinking, keep the bale arm open so line can spill off the spool and allow it to crop vertically, instead of making a pendulum swing in towards you as it sinks.
After your weight touches bottom, gently vibrate the rod top, and by extension, the soft plastic lure and make it twitch and hop a few tiny movements off the bottom while the weight stays on the bottom. If you made a cast, gently retrieve the bow in the line but try not to disturb the weight, other than the smallest amount. Fish have time to inspect it, and the tinier the movements, the more lifelike it is. They tend to just suck it in and proceed on their way.

Be prepared for extremely gentle takes
The fish are taking a slow moving prey at their own level. They did not chase it and build up speed prior to the take. They also did not rise greatly in the water before the take, so they will not make a turn and rapid descent after taking it. For these reasons, and a couple of others the take can often be tiny, almost undetectable in fact. Often, on a subsequent twitch or draw you notice a little extra weight or inertia on the line. After a lift of the sinker to a location closer you may notice that the expected duration in time for it to touchdown and create a slack line at the rod top has been mysteriously extended.

Either way, lift in, do not strike, just lift as it to make a retrieve. The fish should be hooked in the top lip. If you strike into a big fish, while it's body is at 90 degrees to your direction of pull, and also on a short line, you will most likely either break the line, or rip the hook out, or cause a shallow hook hold which gives later on in the fight that is now about to begin. the vertical presentation has advantage after hooking. If a big fish head shakes, a tackle wrenching force when playing it from the side, there is no vicious tugs to a line pulling upwards. So a big fish is denied one of it's more potent weapons for a part of the fight, until after it runs away and the angler is no longer above.

After a while you will learn to gently make a slightly bigger lift (of the sinker) than usual, every so often, so as to see if a fish is munching on your soft bait. It's soft so they will munch for a while, not dropping it after the initial crunch. Trout that do drop it after the initial crunch will circle around and nail it again so there is not much hurry to strike. Wait until you feel that the fish is holding the bait in it's mouth at that precise moment, before taking action.

Using a small bait, helps ensure that the fish is not holding the tail of the bait, predators naturally take it by the area of greatest mass, that is, the chest, shoulder, and head. If the bait is excessively small, and they want it they will engulf it all in one go, but quite likely without making a big giveaway tug on the line.

Fly, Fry-lures, & Dead-bait Minnow all work with this
Yes you can fish flies, soft lures and real baits ALL with the same technique! For this sensitive method of fishing smaller lures and baits are appropriate. Flies and nymphs are good, and mayfly, corixa, water louse, shrimp, or damselfly nymphs work well. Streamer flies can work, and I prefer marabou which adds life into a larger size nymph. On the whole as it gets bigger, I want it to be made of more mobile materials, so I look to the rubber and plastic lures when it's over 2" or so.

Flies are so small and light that a short dropper can sometimes improve presentation over that produced by the "off the main line" normal setup. In other words a traditional wet fly leader with two droppers and a slim weight where the "tail fly" normally goes. A snaggy bottom can sometimes be fished very effectively with the flies rather tighter to the bottom rocks than a conventional sinking fly line would allow. This is shown in the picture right.

Fin-S shad, plastic minnows, and tubes with the multi legs skirt are good in smaller sizes for trout and perch. The larger 4 - 6" sizes are excellent for pike and I guess ferox trout too, though I haven't proven much there so far. Most trout I've taken were on minnow and perch/roach fry marabou fly-lures. I have used frozen minnows with a lot of success.

If you use a longer "bass type worm" think about how it will suspend as it moves very slowly.
If the plastic is heavier in density than water it will droop, hanging down and not look natural. It will depend on a cast and retrieve to maintain it's horizontal status, and not fish right when directly below.
The best plastic lures are neutral density, the same density as water. When nose hooked these ones will conveniently hang horizontal, and not droop head up-tail downwards as some other heavier ones do.
Test your lures at the surface layers, observe them in visible shallows, and learn how they work, or don't work, and what a jerk and a tremble makes them do when down out of sight. What is good for ordinary spinning may not work drop shotting.

As always in fishing, fish, experiment and find out, and enjoy the experience.

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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Walk The Dog. (2)

As i saw a thread posted somewhere on this site earlier in the week asking about the different methods we use to "walk the dog", i came across this and thought it just puts a different angle on how we choose to use topwaters.. But each to their own eh??? :D

WALKING THE DOG.’ with Charlie Campbell

The cigar-shaped plug sashayed to the back side of the cedar tree and then slowly weaved its way around the spindly limbs sticking out of the water. After zigzagging through the limbs, the lure sat next to the base of the tree and was inhaled by a big largemouth.

I had just witnessed a master at work. Bass Fishing Hall of Fame member Charlie Campbell had once again shown a writer why he is considered the master of a Zara Spook. Although he no longer competes in national tournaments, Campbell is still respected by today’s top pros for his ability to “walk the dog,” the popular zigzagging retrieve used for various topwater walking baits. I remember a few years ago watching some of the best young anglers on the Bassmaster circuit flock around Campbell at the Big Cedar Lodge marina on Table Rock as he talked about his favorite topwater lure and how he retrieved it.

The biggest mistake people make is that they wind the lure too fast,” Campbell said as we talked about working the Spook. “You have to really work your wrists and not your forearm at all.”

The Missouri angler quickly walks the lure to a target, such as a brush pile, stump, rock or log with a series of short jerks with his wrists while reeling in line at the same time. When the plug reaches the cover, he twitches his wrists, but only takes about one-eighth of a turn on the reel handle to make sure the lure stays close to the target. Too much jerking or reeling at this point will cause the Spook to glide away from the strike zone.

Matching a Spook with the right tackle helps ensure a good hookset. Campbell opts for 14-pound test monofilament for walking the dog.

Don’t use fluorocarbon or any kind of line that sinks or doesn’t have any stretch to it,” he warns.

A sinking line tends to inhibit the walking action of the lure, and a line without stretch can cause the hook to rip out of the fish’s mouth on the hookset.

A 5 1/2-foot medium-light action rod works best for Campbell ’s Spook tactics. He uses a composite graphite/fiberglass model, which has a stiff tip.

Using monofilament line helps give a Spook the 'walking the dog’ zigzag action that makes it so effective.

“It lets the lure swing better because you want the lure to go right or left and swing and slide from one side to the other. A quick tip won’t let the Spook go very far.”

A high-speed baitcast reel helps Campbell mostly on the hookset. He suggests using a reel with at least a 6.1:1 gear ratio that will allow you to reel in line quicker without jerking the rod when a bass strikes at the lure. Avoiding the temptation to jerk the rod whenever you see a bass blow up on your Spook is key to hooking the fish.

"Keep working the lure until you feel the pressure on the end of it and then sweep and reel. That way you won’t lose near as many fish.”

Reeling and sweeping the rod keeps constant pressure on the fish, and if your Spook has sharp hooks it will latch unto the fish without having to jerk the rod. After the fish is hooked, Campbell keeps his rod tip down and maintains steady pressure on the fish to prevent it from jumping and throwing the plug.

The topwater expert makes a few modifications to his Spook to enhance its looks and action. He drills a hole in the back side of his Spooks and puts two BB rattles into the lure. “I don’t like to put any more than two rattles in it because more rattles will make the tail too heavy,” says Campbell, who seals the hole with epoxy.

Placing his best working Spooks and newest Spooks in a bucket of water allows Campbell to see how his new plugs will walk.

“The way the Spook sits in the water is what makes it walk well.” Campbell likes to have at least the back half of his Spook submerged. If his new Spooks are sitting differently than his old reliables, Campbell will change hook sizes on the front and back hook hangers to make the new plug sit properly.

Missouri Spook-fishing guru Charlie Campbell has found that using gold hooks on his dark baits and silver on lighter colors helps him catch more fish.
Fishing Johnson spoons in Florida gave Campbell the idea for another modification he makes to his Spooks. The tournament veteran noticed he caught bigger fish more often with gold spoons during low-light conditions, such as cloudy days or early in the morning, while silver spoons worked best for him on sunny days. So Campbell decided to try the same concept with hooks for his Zara Spooks. He prefers using gold hooks for his black or bullfrog Spooks and silver hooks for his light-colored models. Since gold treble hooks can be hard to find in many tackle shops, Campbell recommends calling the various hook manufacturers to purchase these hooks.

Adding a split ring or snap swivel to the line tie of a Spook is also critical to making the lure walk in an irresistible fashion.

“Any time you have a lure that wobbles from one side to the other you have to use a split ring or snap to make it wobble better.”

If your Spook starts diving or running straight during the retrieve, remember Campbell ’s advice on slowing down and using your wrists to create that tantalizing walk.

Sidestepping the lure.. the complete article on WTD and sidestepping can be seen in Keiths link below..

It's fabled that these lures can literally walk around emergent objects like stumps, rocks, or pilings. Campbell insists that it is possible to nearly circle such objects. All that is needed is the proper casting angle and a slight variation in the retrieve.
"By half-stepping the cadence, you can walk a lure to one side," he states.
Start by walking the lure normally. Each twitch will be equally spaced and the same length. To half-step, make the same initial pull, then follow with a quick but softer half-pull. The cadence will now be a series of alternating pulls. One full, one half, one full, one half.
Remember to make your secondary pulls slightly quicker and with less force. This will

cause the lure to glide in one direction. In this instance, it is critical to watch the lure to make sure it's walking the way you want it to, he says.
With those thoughts in mind, Campbell casts slightly to the side and beyond the target he intends the lure to circle. He then initiates the half-stepping action to bring the lure across the backside of the target. As the lure travels behind the object, the line begins to wrap around its backside. By maintaining the half-stepping action, the lure will eventually reach and strike the object as it circles it. Contact is usually made with only the lure's nose, so hangups are rare. (See Fig. 1.)
Once the lure is free, Campbell resumes the normal walking motion for about 6 to 8 feet. Then, he retrieves the lure.
Bringing the lure into contact with an object is crucial to Campbell's success. He feels by "bumping the stump," his chances for a strike are much greater than by merely passing by the object with a straight retrieve. Shadows play an important role in Campbell's approach to any target. He prefers to cast into the sun. That way, his shadow won't alarm the fish, and secondly, the silhouette of an approaching lure often excites bass - especially in clear water.
In situations involving current, Campbell recommends bringing the lure into the target from the upcurrent side. He feels this is more natural and maximizes the time the lure is in the strike zone.
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