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How to Fish a Darter

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#1 jellendc

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Posted July 14 2006 - 10:26 AM

Can any of you out there explain how to properly fish a darter? I put one on to see the action in a moving tide....amazing action!!

Thanks for your help!!


#2 Wayne Tj

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Posted July 14 2006 - 11:01 AM

This was written by Steve M last year - it's a very good description. Also try the search function for more takes on how to do it.


Originally Posted by Steve M

Darters? Yes! But first, the YoZi darter is not really a darter. I feel it's more of a sub surface swimmer. It is a great fish catcher but it's not a darter. True darters are not a cast and retrieve kind of lure. Darters are made for current or at least moving water. Depending on whose design you are using there will always come a point when you can have too much water movement. Then you're in bottle plug and bucktail territory but that's another story.

Don't expect to feel much from a darter, it shouldn't be throbbin like a bottle plug. Ant's description is right on. If you feel anything but resistance it's probably rolling over. Not good.

Imagine you are at a location with current from left to right. Along the beach in an inlet, on a point, a jetty, whatever. Cast to your left (up current) like at 11 o clock. Left being 9 and right being 3 for our illustration. Your darter is floating out there (if it doesn't float something is wrong) and drifting towards the 12 oclock position. Take up the slack in the line so you are just in contact with the plug and as it passes you or shortly there after it will begin to dig and go under. Now it's fishin. At this point you don't have to do anything, you should feel some resistance but the darter is doing the work. It's moving down in the water column and the resistance of the line is swinging it in an arc towards the 3 oclock position. Keep your rod tip in the direction of the line and try to visualize where your lure is and what's it's doing.

It is being presented to fish that should be holding or moving into the current looking for something to eat to come along. Somewhere along that arc you hope to encounter that fish. The darter is moving erratically and struggling against the current at an angle looking just like a baitfish that's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once the darter reaches the 3 oclock position it's about over since it's now holding directly against the current in a way that's quite unnatural for a baitfish. Bass hold against the current, not baitfish.

Get the darter back in and repeat. This time you may want to cast a bit further or wait a bit longer before taking up the slack and starting the darter on it's swinging arc across the territory to your right. This way you can fish different arcs and possibly different depths.

The fish your looking for should be facing into the current and depending on how strong it's moving they may be using a sandbar, rocks, or just depressions in the bottom as current breaks. You may have to swing your lure right past their nose before they will take it so give it a few tries.

In most places the current is constantly changing with the stage of the tide. You need the right amount of current for your darter. Too little and it's just a hunk of wood, too much and it will roll over making it useless. You may have just a small window of opportunity if you are fishing in an inlet or a much longer window fishing a point or a bar.

Different darter designs are better in different situations. Some folks complain that somebodys darter is no good because it rolls over in current. Most likely it wasn't designed for that strong a flow. This is not a one size fits all situation.

You have to develop a feel for fishing a darter and let the current, the swing, and the darter do the work.

Sorry for the War and Peace version but I kinda like darters. Lots more ya can do with them but that's the basic idea.

Good fishin,


I'll take God and guns, you can keep Obama.

#3 jellendc

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Posted July 14 2006 - 11:11 AM

Thanks Wayne!!