Fishing - Knowledge

Lure Action - Retrieval Technique Basics to Increase Your Catch Rate

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When it comes to fishing, neither your luck nor fishing myths have anything to do with finding a catch. It all boils down to just how much you really know about fishing; the tactics involved, where to fish, how to fish with a lure, lures vs bait, and much more! Also, the characteristics of the lure, or lure action is a very important component for attracting and catching a fish. In this article, you will find the basics of lure action and types of lures you can use for fishing.

Different fish require different kinds of lures or baits and their requirement/diet further changes with their surroundings, temperature, season, etc. Unless you’re aware of these things, you’ll find it really difficult to find even a single catch. You sure don’t want to be disappointed at the end of the day and return home with an empty basket, do you?

Before getting into lure action, here are quick basics of what fishing lures.

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Here’s a guide to fishing lures. A fishing lure refers to artificial fishing bait which is specially designed to attract fish. The color, vibration, and movement of lure helps in getting the fish’s attention. They are designed in such a way that they resemble an injured prey, or as appealing to the fish’s aggression or territory.

Fishing lures are made from rubber, wood, metal, plastic, cork, string, animal feather, or other materials. They are typically attached to the end of the fishing line along with different kinds of hooks that help catch the fish when it strikes the lure.

Some lures come with set mechanical movements that they repeatedly make when retrieved at a consistent speed through the water. This is a strong cue for a fish to follow the lure, however, random actions are more convincing and will help catch the fish.

The different types of fishing lures include jigs, spoon lures, spinnerbaits, surface lures, soft-plastic baits, fish decoy, etc. If you ask why artificial baits are used, the answer would be, to lower the use of natural baits and preserve their species. Furthermore, artificial baits/lures help in fish survival (when using catch and release fishing method), because they do not hook deep into the fish’s mouth.

Lure Action Tips to Attract and Catch All Kinds of Fish
Different types of lures

Related: Want to know more about lures then read all about the different types of fishing lures!

Lure Retrieval and Action

Different lures act differently on different fishes and various factors determine the lure action. Factors like lure color, size, sounds, the way your lure is attached to the line, lure movement etc., are important. For example, lures to catch predatory fish like bass, typically move fast, this makes it easier to attract bass as they perceive it as prey attempting to escape. On retrieval, when the right lure action is applied, it will ensure you a good catch.

So, to make things easier for you, let’s discuss what lure action is, read some important tips on the different types of fishing lures, and learn how to use them to attract fish.

Imparting Lure Action – Right Retrieval for the Right Lure

Choosing the right lure for the target fish is important because the main purpose of the lure is to deceive the fish, by imitating movements of its natural prey. Hence, there are a wide range of lure action available for different types of fish. The type, size, and species of your prey also play a vital role in choosing the lure. Here are some of the most common types of retrieval techniques for a specific type of lure.

Jigging with Soft baits on Jig heads

The most popular and commonly used lure in the business is probably the jig. It is also one of the simplest ones. The jig has a weighted hook on one end and a lead head on the opposite side of the sharp tip. A plastic worm or crawfish or small plastic fish are usually attached to the jig to deceive the fish and grab its attention .

soft plastics and jig heads for fishing

For bets jigging results use spinning rod and reel combo, with the rod being seven to eight feet in length, sensitive tip but with sufficient backbone to hook a big fish. This setup will offer more control and on hookset will take up more line.

Jigs need to be worked along the bottom, also called hopping. Since its weighted, it will fall to the bottom after being cast. Just ensure that you control the line while it falls so that you can detect any bites during the fall. Once it reaches the bottom, raise the rod tip at at 10 degree angle from the ground and lift it up to 20 degrees and bring it back to the original position. Repeat the motion while ensuring the line is retrieved to keep it taut. Also throw in a few pauses now and then. Cover an area till you start feeling bites and keeping jigging with pauses to entice a strike.

A few other variations include reeling in to make the baits swim a longer distance before dropping it. Vertical jigging where using the reel to lift the jig quickly and letting it fall again. This is done when there is greater depth.

Straight Retrieves with Crankbaits

The crankbait is probably the most recognisable lure in the market, usually made from plastic or wood and often resembling a small fish . A crankbait usually has two trailing hooks attached to it for catching the prey. It also has a duck-like bill attached, which allows it to dive deeper and attract more fish.

crank baits action

A Straight retrieve is best suited for crankbaits as they are designed for quick and short sideways movement when moved consistently. The most basic of fishing styles is a straight retrieve where the lure is brought through the water in a straight line just by simply reeling in the line with minimum movement of the rod.

It is very effective as it allows the fish to judge the path and speed of the lure and can plan its strike with low chance of missing. The straight retrieve also helps to cover a lot of water to find active fish. Also since the line is taut all the time, you wont miss feeling any bites.

If you want to bring in the baits quickly choose a high gear ratio reel and if you want to bring in the the lure slowly then use a slow gear ratio reel. This depends on if the lures have been designed to give action for faster or slower retrieves.

Walk the dog with Top Water Lures

Frogs, lipless plugs, small poppers are some of the great topwater lures. The popper floats on the surface and not only mimics a prey but also makes sounds similar to that of a drowning fish. It is very effective in luring the fish to the surface by tricking it into mistaking the lure for a struggling fish.

top water lures for fishing

Walk the Dog: As quirky as it may sound, ‘walk the dog’ is a top water technique where the lure is made to cover the surface of the water in a zig zag path. The trick got its name because it uses the same wrist motion that you might use while taking your dog out for a walk. This tactic requires the usage of a lure with a slightly heavier end and mimicking the movement of a bait fish.

Cast your lure with the rod at an angle of 45 degrees. Then get the rod tip moving downwards and to a 90 degree in a jerking motion. Wind the handle of the reel once for each jerk. Make sure you keep the movement slow at first and slowly speed up, in order to mimic the movement of bait swimming away.

Twitching with Different Kinds of Lures

Twitching i s an erratic retrieve. The rod can be used to give various patterns of action to the lure with short and fast rod movements called Twitching. Multiple twitches with pauses in between is a very popular method to entice fish to strike. The pause is important to allow the fish to strike successfully, else the erratic movement can confuse it.

Twitching quickly can help attract aggressive fish, however if you find the fish being slow and not biting much then slow down considerably. Baitcast combos are preferred for twitching as it allows for more wrist action. Ensure the rod is Medium to Heavy Power rod and it should have a little give so that the right amount of energy is transferred to the lure for an enticing action.

Jerking with Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits are usually longer and more slender than a crankbait. The lip is also usually at more of an angle than an average crankbait. One unique feature of jerkbaits is their ability to “suspend” i.e. hang motionless, neither sinking nor floating in the water when the retrieve is stopped. This key feature has the ability to generate strikes with high frequency.

fishing with jerkbaits

For Jerking, the ideal setup is a baitcast rod and reel combo. Though you can do it with the spinning combo too, the baitcast gives you more control of the movement. The rod should be medium to heavy power with fast action. This will allow the bait to perform properly and not make you tried faster as the rod is not bending too much allowing you to put less effort in each jerk action. Also, the rod length should be short around 6′ to 6’5″ so that the tip does not go under the water in the downward path.

The retrieval style is basically making long sweeping rod movements by pulling the rod downwards at an angle. The rod is then returned to the starting position and the slack line reeled in. This action is repeated as soon as the line is taut and this causes the lure to dive slightly or swim sideways. With practice, you need to pause your retrieve for 10, 15 or 20 seconds on a semi-slack line to get to the desired suspended state.

Lure Action – Quick Tips for Successful a Hookup

  • Vary the action – Try different variations on the same action. for example, if you are jigging, then increase the pace or make it very slow. Or if you are jerking try a change of pace or add more pauses between multiple jerks.
  • Vary the Lures – If one type of lure is not working then keep trying new ones till you get a hit
  • Vary the size – Sometimes the fish might be too small to take in bait. In this try different size of the lures. Sometimes the change in weight or size can impart more action and make it more attractive to the fish.
  • Vary the Area – Keep moving around and casting in different areas with your lure. This is because fish can identify the lure when seen more than once, lowering your chances of finding a catch. So keep changing the casting area, as well as the lure, lure movement and lure action for effective results.

Bonus – How to reel in a Fish

Reeling comes into picture after you have managed attract the fish with your lure action and caused it to bite onto your lure, gets hooked, and struggles to escape. Bigger fish tend to struggle/pull harder, making it difficult for you to get a grip. The key trick here is to stay calm and not reel when your catch is trying to swim away.

Let’s see how to reel fish with some important tips and tricks.

  • Stay calm, hold the fishing rod at a 45-degree angle to the water, and let the rod and drag handle the fish. Just when the fish ceases to struggle and move, that’s when you reel.
  • When you’re trying to reel in a bigger sized fish, the best technique involves the use of the pump and reel action.
  • Pump and Reel Action:
    • Without reeling, lift the rod’s tip upwards (up to less than 90 degrees). While doing so, you may even take a step backwards to avoid breaking the line. Do not worry about your rod bending down (especially when the fish is heavy).
    • As you lower back the rod tip, up to 45 degrees, do the reeling work and bring in the slack line while applying even pressure on the fish. Then repeat the process. (Make sure the line is tight enough during the entire process).  Reel quickly to ensure the fish doesn't feel the slack. 
    • This action is important to learn as it will increase your reel's life significantly by not stressing its gears. The rod is taking all the stress of pulling the fish and the reel is only bringing in the slack line.  
    • Do not pump when the fish is making its run. The line will surely break as it will face pressure from both sides. Let it run and just play with the reel's drag to control its run, esp. if you are running out of line or the fish is nearing the reefs or rocks, where the line could get cut. 

Everything, right from a guide to fishing lures to how to attract fish with lures is discussed here. So, do you feel confident with lure action now? Once you’ve taken in all the information given here, you’ll not feel like a beginner anymore! All you have to do now is pack your bag and head to the waters to find some good catches. And as always, we are all ears to listen to your adventurous fishing experience.

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