almost every lure type

ALMOST EVERY lure type may signal a pre-bite…

From my medical resource, the bass fishing physician, Dr. Joe Johnson from Alabama, I got an introduction to the term, prodromal. It refers, in lay terms, to an early symptom (and most likely one consciously detected) that precedes an attack or illness.

EMT and BBZ angler, Bill Siemantel, likewise referenced the medical issue, noting that people in his profession have seen or at least heard of the behavior of certain seizure patients. In said situations, these individuals recognized in an instant what was happening and either pulled their cars out of traffic, or shut off power tools they were using before being stricken.

While not nearly so traumatic, I’ve had opportunity to experience actual prodromal circumstances in my fishing. In fact, before I got to asking around, I just called it the “pre-bite.” And you probably have instances of the same, especially when things were going good, or when bass behavior was particularly well-patterned.

Based on a combination of elements including one’s experience, repetition, (Rick Clunn might add intuition), as well as the physical elements in play such as the lure action and weight, bottom make-up, maybe even the depth of the water or wind or current present, you internalize the norm, and react to changes almost instantly.

When you’ve done your time on the water, you can relate to this. The more I think about the issue, HOF’er Mike Folkestad’s identifying a productive presentation as “the cast” seems very close to prodromal in nature. When that sinker or jig head comes through the precise way, scratching the bottom just right, he knows the bite is coming.

After a decade of serious darthead fishing, I would kid some of my younger partners that I could tell if I was going to get a good bite or just a keeper. Half-joking, I got pretty tuned into the jig’s hook (not the head) making bottom contact. That’s because in between rod shakes, the head would lay on its side and at that time the hook point would scratch the bottom.

Over sand or clay there was almost no sensation, but when the hook point ticked even scattered rock, the bite was not long in coming.

certain sensations

CERTAIN SENSATIONS in combination with angler experience may actually signal a strike seconds before it happens.

More recently, fishing quagga mussel covered structures has made me internalize some new sensations. The feeling of the sinker, pulling up on the live mussels is indisputable.

And when the fish has to strike the bait, it often does so over shell clusters where “the bite” is often succession of what feels like nips or ticks–and then just weight on the line. When that behavior pattern repeats itself, that shell-ticking moment says, “Bite coming!” And it does.

Of course, having a bottom tapping lure does make it easier (as well as lots of similar structure conditions), but it happens for crankers, spinnerbait and big bait fishermen as well, if they are paying attention.

When dialed in, rarely are those guys surprised by a strike.

So understood. No one can instantly gather years of time-on-the-water experience, but all can be pay closer attention to their bait on every cast–and the curious phenomenon of the pre-bite.



3 Responses to “Prodromal: The ‘pre-bite’ is real”

Most of the time when I get a bite I’m surprised! LOL

by Rick Gaskins


I completely believe this, have had the sensation when bouncing a salmon egg (glo-bug) fly off a dropper when fishing for Steelhead and occasionally when nymphing for trout. Always drifting the lure.

by Guy Williams

100% true! With reaction baits like a crankbait the sensation feels like the bait is being pushed and the bait almost stops running true. It’s from the fish tracking the bait close as if it’s drafting. The bait is being pushed by the fish with the energy hitting the bait from behind. It’s a weird feeling and I usually only feel it when working a reaction bait slow.