Fishermen have made all kinds of keen observations since the first topwater lure was carved and used. Through every season and in every part of the country, no other type of “bass action” is more well documented.
What sometimes has become problematic, though, was when one common and specific retrieve and response in one locale or circumstance was passed on as universal to all other situations.
You’ll have to go back to your grandfather or possibly even your great grandfather to hear someone instruct that retrieving a topwater should not commence “until the rings on the water disappear.” Yet, once upon a time, that was doctrinal thinking.
But in recent decades, almost the polar opposite view has taken root. I recall a fall trip to Sam Rayburn Reservoir some years back, when I had a chance to fish with the late David Wharton. At the time, Yo-Zuri was making baits marketed for the Fenwick brand, and a particular popper was killing them for me. However, the bait had almost no back-weight, so it was necessary to wait out a full 2-count, before the lure would settle for the next “chug.”
There on Rayburn, a light pop, followed by the delay and another light pop was greated with smashing strikes. So, wanting to share my luck, I asked David if he would like to try one of the baits. His response has stuck with me ever since: “I don’t think I can fish that slow.”
The point being, I’m not going to tell you (or KVD) to slow your retrieve, or necessarily wait to start that retrieve. But what I am saying is, until you know there’s a better way that day, what’s wrong with slowing down enough to see if you can get a strike without burning all the calories?
A slow retrieve can still elicit a “reaction” strike.
Remember, the fish already know that the bait has landed (like the crash of big swimbait or the splat of a hollow frog). Whether its a Rico or Torpedo or Sammy, the fish get the message. It’s their world. In fact, they may even be rising to gently suck down the whole thing…if you hadn’t machine-gunned it right out of the zone.
This summer in my area, the annoying wait after the cast and one moderate chug, followed by another long pause, and a couple of light pulls has outproduced other retrieves on at least three different lakes–when I gave it a chance. Sure, that could change tomorrow, and I’ll watch for it, but in the meantime, slow and easy is worth a try.