Surreal

How slow is a slow retrieve?

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As I continue to learn the hobby of fishing for stripers one thing still confuses me and that is a slow retrieve at night. I have read countless threads that will say something along the lines of "reel slow, then slow it down even more." Does anyone have a clip or good way to illustrate how slow is a slow retrieve at night? When I attempt to reel super slow at night, I don't always feel the plug working, and often feel like I lose contact with the lure. Any insight? 

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I estimate the speed of my retrieve by counting the turning of my reels handle.. How many rotations per minute.. And when I feel that I am cranking very slow I will crank it even slower... There is never too slow of cranking a reel or too fast..  

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There are a lot of factors here—current and water temps should both be factored in as well as what type of plug you are using. I think the amount of bait and amount of competition for the bait also play a roll.

 

there are times where the current will impart all the action you would need and you can basically let plug/bucktail swing in the current. I usually make it a point to play around with different retrieves and incorporate different twitches or pauses. I can’t tell you the number of times when a slow retrieve produces nothing all night and then when I’m burning a plug in to cast again I get hit out of nowhere.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Different reels will have a different amount of line pick-up per turn, therefore each will have a different speed. You don't want to lose contact with the whatever type of plug you are fishing. Each type of plug will have a different feel and speed. Current plays a factor as well. Only way to get the hang of it is to practice. 

Edited by BDigital

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Depends on conditions.

 

I fish a lot at night for bass. I base my slow retrieve off tide, current and wind. My goal, regardless is to keep enough tension on line to feel lure or eel. Sometimes I am reeling faster than others. Ill get them casting up current one hour then down current later in the night, meaning I need two different retrieval speeds. If i'm using a popper I will keep it still a bit longer between twitches.

 

 if im casting up current I feel for the lure hitting structure and then judge my retrieve off of that. I want it as close to structure as possible while not getting snagged.

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Reel retrieve generally falls somewhere between deadsticking and fishing for mackarel.

 

the only constant is a deadstick, everything else is up to the conditions,plug, and fish being targeted.

 

if your out fishing, and not getting hits change your retrieve before you change your plug, figure out whats working then and keep doing that. If what your doing isn’t working then do something else until you find something that does work.

 

sometimes the only thing that works for me is deadsticking a twitch bait with an occasional rod twitch.

 

other times, I only caught blue fish on sp minnows while I was mending my line and cranking in the slack as quick as I could where my plug would be skipping  across the surface.  
 

 

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sometimes when fishing current i am not even really reeling in, just letting it sit in current with some rod twitches. But generally enough to keep contact and keep it moving and no faster.

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Then to make matters more confusing, in heavy current you can actually back reel, so that your lure is still swimming, but moving away from you with the current.  See the "forward/backward" post 

 

For standard nighttime retrieves, I think the goal should be to maintain contact with the offering, which requires different retrieval rates bases on current, waves and wind.  

 

Another important consideration is knowing what speed you need to retrieve at to make the lure swim and this varies significantly.  You can absolutely crawl some lures like a jr, pike or needlefish, while lures such as bombers and sps require a slighly faster pace to swim.

 

It's all about trial and error. A good rip or river mouth will let you work all lures much slower.  Cast across or slightly upcurrent and let them sweep down current with very slow retrieve and some added twitches and pauses.  

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1 hour ago, MikeK said:

Then to make matters more confusing, in heavy current you can actually back reel, so that your lure is still swimming, but moving away from you with the current.  See the "forward/backward" post 

 

For standard nighttime retrieves, I think the goal should be to maintain contact with the offering, which requires different retrieval rates bases on current, waves and wind.  

 

Another important consideration is knowing what speed you need to retrieve at to make the lure swim and this varies significantly.  You can absolutely crawl some lures like a jr, pike or needlefish, while lures such as bombers and sps require a slighly faster pace to swim.

 

It's all about trial and error. A good rip or river mouth will let you work all lures much slower.  Cast across or slightly upcurrent and let them sweep down current with very slow retrieve and some added twitches and pauses.  

Gospel there, as far as the back reeling goes, its not as easy as you'd imagine and not used often. In fact, if those circumstances, where you want the lure to move away from you, I'd switch over to conventional, flip the lever and you can let line out more easily than back reeling. To back reel you best be on your game or you'll be untangling knots you'd never imagine could happen.

 

I've back reeled on hooked fish, particularly in current with light line and a loose drag, it gives the fish line and lets you use the rod and reel to put the pressure on and take it off. 

 

All good solid advice above, read it a bunch of times, and don't worry about the back reeling, it doesn't need to be in play often. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Surreal said:

As I continue to learn the hobby of fishing for stripers one thing still confuses me and that is a slow retrieve at night. I have read countless threads that will say something along the lines of "reel slow, then slow it down even more." Does anyone have a clip or good way to illustrate how slow is a slow retrieve at night? When I attempt to reel super slow at night, I don't always feel the plug working, and often feel like I lose contact with the lure. Any insight? 

Current plays a big part in reeling slow.

You should feel the resistance from the plug.

Reeling in your plug against the current you could crawl it back because it's swimming on its own pretty much due to the currents influence.

HH

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With the exception of needle fish plugs, my way to maintain contact thru a taught line is to keep switching plug types until I feel the plug working while following the edict previously quoted "When you think your reeling slow enough...............reel slower." which I first was taught by Nick, of Betty and Nick's B&T in Seaside Park, NJ ( I just dated myself, I guess). If you have to reel quickly ( a relative, term, to be sure) at night to maintain contact with the plug, then it has the wrong lip for the current speed.  Incidentally, this is why the Red Fin  was so great on a west wind flat surf night - it would create a wake even when being crawled, as would the Surfster or cup lip wooden swimmers. 

As regards Needle fish, I almost exclusively use SS sinking models, which naturally keep the line taught when the post-cast slack is reeled in.  Super slow retrieve with occasional small twitches is all you need.

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12 hours ago, adams54 said:

Slow means as slow as you can go while still maintaining contact

This in a nutshell!  

 

If your losing contact, you might as well free spool bait.  Not that that's a bad thing. 

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I like more of a stop and go retrieve fishing calm water. Remember, bass sense the action of the plug be fore they might see it. So, with this in mind, I cast, give the rod a good yank for a darter or metal lip and then reel in fairly slow. Some plugs like the darter need to be moving in a more than slow retrieve. But i lift the rod tip, reel in then stop. I repeat this action. Now this is for slower water. But in an outflow or breachway the water will do it's thing and the plug will have plenty of action. Metal lips are better in slower water, faster water is more of a hinderance for the 40's or pikies. These latter are good for the slow retrieve, the twitch, dig in and retrieve I mentioned above. Eels are the one bait i retrieve super slow, if I can. This depends on structure and if there are rocks on the bottom. Them rascal's will have ya caught up in them, lol. Once you get a hang for the way a plug works, you'll get it. Also remember, bass are low, unless they're on a surface blitz. Most wooden plugs float, and plastics, unless they're sinkers. Swim the sinkers slow. :howdy:

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