Good Things Can Happen When You Stop To Let Your Lure Pause
By Ben Team
It was about nine o’clock on a cloudy Thursday morning. The small, green stained pond I was working was already well into a fall pattern, so I was chucking a chartreuse spinnerbait across the main channel, and pulling it back through the water pretty quickly.
I had already caught a few little guys this particular morning, but none big enough to write home about. It was a rather tough day, and spinnerbaits were the only lures producing for me. My crankbaits, topwater lures and plastic stickbaits were coming back empty.
Half way through one of my last casts of the day, I saw a beast emerge from the depths. Before I could blink, she slammed into the obnoxious mass of Colorado blade and silicone skirt. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the lure into her mouth.
Fighting through the disappointment and adrenaline, I had about half a millisecond to make a decision. I could reel in the lure and try to make another pass, but she may be long gone by the time I got the lure in front of her again. So instead, I stopped reeling and just let the lure fall.
A few nervous breaths later, she rewarded my decision and inhaled the lure. Before I knew it, I had pulled in one of my personal bests.
The Logic of Lure Laziness
This particular encounter demonstrated that good things can happen when you stop your retrieve and just let your lure sit, float or sink for a brief moment – especially following a collision with some type of cover (or a missed strike from a bass). Doing so gives the bass a really good look at the lure and probably improves the effort-expended-to-calories-gained algebra for the fish. In other words, a bass may initially be reluctant to chase down your lure, but when you stop the forward momentum and let it sit there, the meal starts looking too good to pass up.
Although you must tweak this technique a little depending on the lure you are using at the time, it is a fantastic wrinkle to add to your repertoire.
The effective use of pauses can mean the difference between success and failure when fishing topwater baits – particularly poppers and other lures designed to be fished slowly. Pop and chug the lure across the surface until it nears a good piece of cover, and then let it just sit for one, two or three seconds.
Let a soft plastic bait sit on the bottom for a few seconds to let that lethargic bass have a chance to pick it up. Letting your lure sit down on the bottom and gently wiggle in the current really sells the “injured prey” message, and makes the bait look like an easy meal.
Spinnerbaits draw great reaction strikes from bass lying in ambush behind submerged timber, but instead of just swimming the lure back and making it bump into trees, let the lure fall after each good collision. While this works in shallow water, it becomes even more effective when performed in deeper water.
Anglers often bump crankbaits off submerged cover as they do when using spinnerbaits to increase the appeal of the lures. However, whereas spinnerbaits fall through the water slowly (often “helicoptering” as they do), most crankbaits float up in the water column when they stop moving forward.
While this may not make the bait look like it is dying, it hardly makes the alleged baitfish look spry. More importantly, it provides hungry bass with an extra second or two to pounce.