I just got off the Manasquan riverbanks searching out blues and bass, and an early morning shift had me casting Daiwa SP Minnows to test the waters.
Blues have been running through the last few days, and as blues in general tend to like fast paced offerings, I sped the retrieve up just a tad to elicit an aggression strike from a chopper. One retrieve back I was pulling a moderate draw, but when I knew I was up on the flat, I reeled in the lure quickly to get another cast into the strike zone, but 10 feet from my legs I saw a black shadow following the plug. A 28-inch striper swooped at the lure three times, I stopped reeling, then accelerated the lure at the last second when the bass hit like a ton of bricks right at my knees.
How long was that bass following that plug? The point is that there are many times we may not get a hit on a cast plug, metal or popper. Fish are there eyeing it up, but may not hit due to some unforeseen condition and veer off, but all it takes is a change in the presentation or pace to convince the fish to pounce on the offering. After catching that bass, I made a quick change out to a green-tailed Ava 17 jig, casting out and allowing the lure sink deeper in the water column before reeling back with an ultra-speedy retrieve when a 14-pound bluefish whacked the jig.
Try varying speeds for different species – slow it down, speed it up and even snap jig any lure to switch up the presentation. High speed reels like a Shimano Stradic 5000 can accomplish the feat with subtle cranks that gain line super-fast and are prime to use when targeting bluefish or speedsters like false albacore.
Slower geared reels like Penn Spinfisher VI 4500 series may work better when targeting bass as they generally spool line up slowly and allow the lure to wobble seductively. A taut line from 30-pound Power Pro braid allows instant connection to the lure to effectively manage the speed and style of the drawback. Next outing when you feel you've casted a thousand times, switching up lure colors and profile to no avail, all that may be needed is a sublime adjustment to the speed of the retrieve of the lure to garner a hit.