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Finding the ideal lure retrieve speed

Finding the ideal lure retrieve speed

The speed that you retrieve your lure is important, although not always critical. That’s the great thing about lure fishing, as anyone can cast a lure and have a chance of catching a predatory fish, because it’s in their nature for predatory fish to chase prey fish – and things that look like prey fish, says Mick Brown.

Some days though they are simply not in a chasing mood, and it’s at such times when they show great reluctance to chase that results can be affected dramatically in a negative way, particularly to the less experienced angler.

Those anglers who pay close attention to detail can, however, reap the rewards if they attempt to come close to finding a speed of retrieve that will make predators react. Other factors, such as finding the critical depth or creating a response ‘trigger’ by imparting a particular type of action to the lure, are just as important. They must be taken into account in the complex equation that attempts to present the perfect retrieve. Get it right and you will undoubtedly catch more fish.

So, what is the ideal retrieve speed? It will naturally vary for different species at different times of year; water temperature plays a major part here. It’s up to you to experiment to find the optimum speed of retrieve for success, unfortunately!

As a basic rule though, I retrieve faster in warm water and slower in cold water. That’s only a very basic starting point, but changing speed can often change a difficult day into a ‘red letter’ one. It’s easy to understand the basic principle of starting very slow and building up speed, and vice-versa by starting very fast and gradually slowing down. There’s every chance of finding the right speed by doing exactly that.

What is less known amongst lure anglers is bringing the lure to almost a dead stop, and this can apply when fishing in any water temperature. Doing this keeps the lure in the strike zone for as long as possible and allows predators much more time to make up their minds. But you cannot do this with every style of lure pattern.

This is where suspending lures, slow-rising lures and slow-sinking lures come into play. They can be retrieved at their working depth at a very slow speed and then paused for quite a while. Just how long this is can be determined by testing them in the margins if the water is clear and deep enough.

Of course, you cannot make a lure stop perfectly still, but you can slow its ascent or descent down to such a rate that it is very nearly at a standstill.

Check out such lures from Rapala as the X-RapX-Rap DeepX-Rap Jointed Shad,Husky JerkBX SwimmerClackin’ MinnowMax Rap and Flat Rap. From Storm Lures you should also look at the Swimmin’ Stick, Flat Stick Glider, Twitch Stick, Flutter Stick Mad Flash and Sea Bass Thunder Minnow. Each has some quite unique properties, and amongst them you are sure to find a lure that will tempt the most wary predator.

They are all worth getting to know, and can take you into a different league of lure fishing when compared to similar-looking lures that do not have such capabilities built into them.

On a recent day, when I went out with Matt Rand to demonstrate the use of various Rapala lures, it was clear that the pike were not in a chasing mood. So, it was time to bring out a suitable lure in the form of a 10cm Rapala X-Rap Shallow.

Eventually, after working the lure very slowly and using regular pauses, I got a pike to follow, and as it came into sight it was obviously not going to grab it. I paused and allowed the lure to settle and then rise at such a rate that it looked suspended.

The weight of my trace was perfect, and not too heavy to cause the lure to sink or too light to allow the lure to rise more quickly. Ten seconds or more passed and the pike just stared at the lure. I held my breath to see who would back down first.

Without warning, the pike inhaled the lure and turned away with it. To me it was plastic and metal, but I had convinced the pike it was edible, and it felt very satisfying.

So don’t forget that you need to consider the speed of retrieve on EVERY cast, and if you don’t get any hits as the fish aren’t chasing, switch to the lures that can provoke them.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Lure fishing videos

Lure fishing videos

8f53295a73878494e9bc8dd6c3c7104fHere’s s few links to YouTube films I made for Shimano and Rapala when I was predator fishing consultant for those companies. Although I may not still use some of the products nowadays, the comments are honest and genuine. Be sure to return to this page after viewing by clicking the back button.

Choosing the correct lure fishing set up

Upgrading your lure set up

Fishing a gravel pit with lures

Using the Rapala Max Rap

Using the Rapala X Rap Jointed

Using the Rapala Super Shad

Using the Rapala Angry Birds lures

Soft plastic lures

A big perch takes a Rapala BX Minnow

Using a floating diver as a surface lure

Using the Storm Doombell crankbait

Big lures

Lure caught pike with massive eel in throat!

Signature lure and book set (sold out now)

Shad profile lures

Deep bodied lures

Minnow bodied lures

Using the Storm Salwater Chug Bug surface lure

Pike Deadbaiting videos

Pike Deadbaiting videos

07e1cd7dca89a1678042477183b7ac3fHere’s s few links to YouTube films I made for Shimano and Dynamite Baits and others when I was predator fishing consultant for those companies. Although I may not still use some of the products nowadays, the comments are honest and genuine. Be sure to return to this page after viewing by clicking the back button.

My predator groundbait mix

A big pike caught while testing a new reel

Predator tips and tactics

Choosing a deadbaiting rod

Underwater pike footage

Suspended deadbaits

Legered deadbaits

The Kebab deadbait rig

Tackling weedy gravel pits

Trolling with Surface Lures

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Trolling with Surface Lures

The visual aspect of fishing with surface baits is probably as exciting as lure fishing gets.  It’s a method of spectacular chases and attacks, often ending in eruptions of foam and spray. In the waters in my local area, surface fishing for pike is particularly successful in the spring and autumn months and each year I look forward to those times.

There are many other species in both fresh and salt water that will attack surface baits too. You need to try surface lures on your own waters to find the best seasonal times to use them. As with any style of lure fishing, you first of all need to locate fish that are prepared to make a surface attack. This naturally means covering the water until you find willing predators.
The boat angler has a huge advantage, and can not only cover the water more quickly, but also cover water that is out of reach of the bank caster. Even so, finding areas with active predators can still be tedious, especially on1 bigger expanses of water. For me, the answer is simple – I troll my surface lures! In this way, large areas of water can be covered quickly and efficiently. I prefer to troll using an electric motor, although on bigger waters I have not found using a petrol motor to be a handicap. I must admit that I have a mental issue about trolling the lure in the propeller wake, and for this reason, tend to troll further back when using a petrol engine. I’ll also ‘snake troll’, zig zagging rather than running in a straight line, so that the lure runs back and forth over the prop wash rather than in it.

Ideally, I use one rod and hold it rather than putting it in a rod holder. The main reason for doing so is that I can work the lure to it’s best advantage. Lures like the X-Rap Propchug along nicely without any angler input, but others like the X-Rap Pop and Skitter Popbenefit from sharp jerks of the rod to raise a plume of water and make an attractive sound. The X-Rap SubWalk can be worked just as one would from the bank using up strokes of the rod to make it ‘Walk the Dog’ and glide enticingly from side to side. I tend to vary the boat speed, often coming to a complete halt if fish are seen chasing. If I find a good area, then I’ll anchor up and exploit it before moving on again.

Here’s a point about surface lure fishing that many seem to overlook. ANY lure that floats can be used as a surface lure! Instead of cranking it down to it’s working depth, just work it along the surface up to the point when it wants to naturally dive due to it’s diving lip, then slow the retrieve to keep it at the surface. Rapala’s surface lures are very enticing to predators but some of the diving lures are remarkable surface catchers too. One of my favourites is the Super Shad Rap, but I have caught well from the surface using lures like the Floating MagnumJointedShallow Shad Rap and Original Floater to name but a few. Their obvious benefit is that they can also be cranked down to see whether there are predators that are unwilling to attack at the surface but will do so further down the water column. There is much to experiment with, making the fishing very interesting.

Rapala have dedicated surface lures and other lures that can be worked on the surface when required. The choice is vast and you have the great pleasure of trying them out on your chosen water to find which work best.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 


Rapala BX Minnow lure trials

by Mick Brown 1 Comment
Rapala BX Minnow lure trials

(From the Rapala news page)..

Mick Brown has become a big fan of the recently introduced Rapala BX Minnow after a series of superb sport fishing sessions on gravel pits in the East of England.

“I had no pre-conceptions about the BX,” said Mick. “I just put one on the trace and started fishing with it as I knew it would run at the correct depth for the 5ft deep swim I’d chosen to start at.”

“A fish pulled back on the very first cast, and to my surprise it was a quality perch of over 2lb, and from a lake where pike predominate and perch are rare, I was very pleased. A few swims further along, I had another perch that was slightly smaller and then another followed.”

The ‘dual’ construction of the BX lures is the secret behind their success all across Europe. An inner balsa core creates a responsive action that responds to slow retrieves and delicate twitches. The outer co-polymer body shell gives great durability from the beating it takes from predator’s teeth.

Mick’s tip is to practice in the margin to see how you can make it respond to rod tip action BEFORE you cast it any distance, and in doing so you will be confident that it is working exactly as you want it to when it is out of sight.

“Small pike started to take an interest in it for the next hour or so, and I was in no hurry to change lures,” explained Mick, on his first session using the BX Minnow.

“I’d put the perch to the back of my mind until I missed a few hits that started me thinking about them again. Finally, after a little frustration, one did hook-up and I knew from the way it fought that it was a perch. And what a perch it was too!”

“Matt Rand was fishing with me. He recorded the whole capture on video. I won’t make wild guesses at the weight, and with no scales in my bag I will never know. You just don’t catch perch that big on this lake so I hadn’t even thought of packing them. It’s there on film though for you to judge for yourself.”

Watch the video of Mick Brown catching a big perch on a Rapala BX Minnow lure here.

In other sessions Mick has been bagging-up with pike into double figures with the BX Minnow. At 10cm long, it is ideal for both pike and perch and there are colours to suit all types of water clarity.

Mick favours the Blue Back Herring pattern for clear water but has found the Smelt and Silver patterns very effective in clear water too. In darker water, the Gold Shiner is the one Mick reaches for and the Perch and Firetiger patterns seem a good choice at any time.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information.