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Topwater Technique - “Let It Pause”

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I am a big fan of topwater, especially the “Skitterwalk” by Rapala. A while back, a friend asked what techniques I used other than changing the retrieve speed of walk-the-dog type lures. I immediately chimed in, “Don’t be scared to let it pause.”

I explained to my friend that I have learned letting the lure pause at times can prove to be productive. In fact, I have had some unsuspected hook-ups after getting sidetracked, only to be surprised when a fish smashed my “stagnant” lure. Other times, these pauses are deliberate. I have had much success after a hard strike in which the fish missed the lure or I was late on a hook set. Occasionally when this happens, I will let the lure sit for a few seconds and then begin my retrieve. Many times after the first couple of bumps, the fish will smash it again.

Depending on the circumstances, I will also let the lure sit for a few seconds when it hits the water after making a cast. Last year I spotted a small spot of nervous water while sight fishing. I made a bad cast right in the middle of it, and baitfish scattered. I allowed the lure to sit for a few seconds, and before I even began the retrieve a redfish struck - it was ”Fish on!”

Give it a try and see if it works for you. As fate would have it, my friend hooked up on a nice red not even an hour after our conversation. The fish struck hard but missed the lure. He let it sit for a few seconds, and again started the retrieve. He only had a chance to pop it a couple of times before witnessing the fish take it down again – “Fish on!” He paddled over to me afterwards just to say he was a believer in “letting it pause.”

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Shane Coleman

Shane has been kayak fishing since 2009. Inshore saltwater kayak fishing is his addiction of choice. However, he enjoys the occasional offshore and freshwater trip as well. He most frequents the saltwater lakes, bayous, and marshes of Southwest Louisiana.

Website: www.marshlifeyakin.com



+1 # Rexlawyer 2015-05-22 18:20
I learned this lesson recently - the hard way! I was fishing from a kayak, headed back to the dock at Flamingo with a Zara Spook trolled. I started winding in the line, but waited, for some stupid reason, until I was in front of the bite leading to the dock. The wind started to push me into the bite, I paused, holstered the rod, looked back at the lure to see how close it was, and decided I could get it in if I wound faster. Just as I was about to grab the rod to wind it all the way in - BAMMO. It was spilling out line behind me. But my back was to the line, and I'm still being blown into the bite. Next thing you know - I'm all botched up in the mangroves. I just held the line figuring the fish would shake it loose, but the line snapped. As though extending to me a peace offering - the fishing gods at least gave my lure back (I guess since a rod was lost in the mess), and here it came - mysteriously floating into the bite as I gave up on the rod. OH WELL! Just another story.
# marsh_life 2015-05-23 12:05
Great story nonetheless!

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