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Depth Control, Speed Control

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I'm a little confused why these two are the primary variables, and everything else are *aids*. Let me elaborate.

 

The depth control part I understand. If the fish isn't where I'm fishing, I'm not going to catch it. Pretty straightforward. Asides: Siemantel talks about this in his top, middle, bottom theory. I've seen them preferring to eat topwaters only (in water deeper than 25 feet), and of course bass don't live on the surface.

 

It's the speed control part I don't agree with. How are size and action both aids, and speed is not? (Let's leave color out of the discussion for now). In general, I find "slow" is a good speed to fish my baits (there are exceptions). It's the easiest of the three variables to dial in, in my humble opinion.

 

Murphy talks about painting part of a big dark crankbait with nailpolish. Why? Because size was the trigger, and he wanted to fish a small bait (make his bait appear small) down deep, where an actual small crank couldn't get down to.

 

Think about all the different kinds of suspending jerkbaits out there. Some are aggressive (x-raps for example), some others are not. What about all the different kinds of jig trailers. I've seen them prefer DT grubs one day, and beaver style ones the next. "Forget action, only consider how fast you move the lure". Not sure I agree with this.

 

My hypothesis is that size and action are/ can be independent of retrieve speed or depth, and all three of them are equally important.

 

Thoughts?

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I agree. It just depends on conditions to me really. Water clarity, water temperature, daytime/night seem like the most important factors off the top of my head.

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In other words. I believe I depth is the first thing I focus on which is also dependant on conditions. Then, I would consider the rest. However in my experience, I find bass are more individualistic than this unless they are schooled up. Solitary bass seem to pick and choose what they want. You learn this from pond fishing growing up along with bed fishing. School fish seem to act more alike in comparison. All in all I generally find it best not to get too complex and start putting too many rules in my head about fishing. However it does spark some interesting conversations.

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All in all I generally find it best not to get too complex and start putting too many rules in my head about fishing. However it does spark some interesting conversations.

 

There's only one rule; you fish for the biggest fish in the reservoir. Everything else must be decided on the fly, depending on what the fish wants (starting with some guidelines of course).

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True I guess. If I had to narrow it down to three broad rules though, in order of importance it would be

1. Fish location

2. Bait location (getting something in front of their face, at a certain depth, from a certain angle, etc)

3. Bait selection (including color)

Speed or whatever else could be thrown in are figured out on the fly as you said. Some are better at one or the other, but a lot of us just overthink it.

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I've wrestled with that one too. I think the answer is that depth and speed are primary controls, but speed also acts as a trigger too.

 

I think it comes from the fact that depth and speed are interrelated. If you are a jig fisher, you'll understand where that comes from. Lure weight/buoyancy, line diameter, and lure design all play a role in depth achieved at what speed. Buck Perry was all about being meticulously methodological, and controls were critical -the starting point. Now, his system was based on trolling spoonplugs and I've never so much as tied one on much less trolled them meticulously. While small changes in speed may not help achieve much more depth with many lipped plugs, they may with all metal spoonplugs. Like with a jig, speed would sure matter with a jigging spoon or bladebait in terms of achieving depth. Maybe someone with spoonplug experience will pipe in.

 

Depth and speed were considered the primary controls. This does not mean that speed, like size and action, aren't triggers too. That's my stab at it.

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From the title of this thread, I was almost sure it dealt with trolling.

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I think location, depth and speed are the big things you need to worry about with all fish. Location, is obviously where the fish are. Depth is the depth you fish the bait at which they want to hit it at and speed is the trigger that makes them hit. The lures themselves are pretty much tools that allow you to achieve the depth and speed that you need. Once the three variables are sorted then any particular lure or colour may or may not increase your catch rate, but they are secondary to making the lure attractive to the fish in the first place.

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Paul, my take on this is that with the modern baits (tools), depth and speed can be independent of each other. I primarily fish swimbaits, so I'll draw an example from there.

 

I take an ROF5 hudd (6" or 8" or 68- different sizes, and actions), remove some lead from the belly to make it an ROF2-ish. I can (and do) fish it very slow subsurface, a couple feet down in the column. Real trouts seem to do that a lot.

 

I can also crawl it uphill along the bottom (after letting it sink), at the same speed.

 

If I want to fish fast on the bottom, I do so with an ROF16 hudd. I can also fish fast a couple feet down with a slower sinking bait.

 

Maybe, the tools back in the day were not versatile enough?

 

 

Also, I'm talking about casting, since that's pretty much all I do.

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Speed can be an important factor. If you force that fish to react by whizzing that crankbait by him, rather than letting him take his sweet time to look at it, he is more likely to strike. Other times, if you take a suspending jerkbait and let it sit there for a long time, it annoys that bass and causes him to strike... So speed is more important than you think.

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I think the difficulty arises when we try to isolate certain factors by importance!

We must consider the entire equation, then and only then do we arrive at a complete understanding!

Yes there will be that unexplainable occurrence where one will stands out above the others but that does not lessen the importance of the others.

Example

Pre-spawn feeding frenzy will make bass do dumb ****!

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The answer lies in the intimate relationship between depth and speed. Buck made them 'controls' (as opposed to aids) because the two are so intertwined. He stated;

 

Speed control has been explained as moving the lure in such a way as to make the fish take, or to put it in a more accurate way - just how slow or fast we move the bait or lure. We have discussed how these two are controls (depth and speed) must be used TOGETHER, and that we cannot sacrifice one in order to attain the other. What this means, if we are checking a particular depth (or spot), we cannot lose or change this depth (or spot) when checking out a different speed.

 

Using your swimbait fishing as an example. You stated, "In general, I find "slow" is a good speed to fish my baits." You also said, "fish it very slow subsurface, a couple feet down in the column. Real trouts seem to do that a lot." So now you have established preferred depth at which your big bass are holding or feeding at, which we all agree is most important. This is a key depth range that you would want to maintain. Let's say that 'subsurface' is 6' down in this instance. You can throw any of your Hudds you want, but to be successful at that 6' depth, you are also going to have to maintain a slow speed (most times) as you stated. It is this depth and speed combination that will ultimately be the primary key to your success. If you throw the ROF16 and try to maintain it at 6', your retrieve speed is going to be too fast, and you likely won't get bit. If you throw the floater/wake bait, you can fish it as slow as you need to, but your depth is going to be off and those fish might not rise to the surface to eat it. It takes a COMBINATION of depth and speed for successful fishing, at least a lot of the time - the two are inseparable. This is why they are both controls. You cannot sacrifice one to achieve the other. Once you can achieve that depth/speed combination, then you are free to play with color, size and action all you want :)

 

-T9

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Never mind, figured out what you meant. Need to work on my comprehension skills evidently.

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Let me ask another question then. Why must jump type lures be only jumped, and never dragged, or dragged and stopped? Did they not drag football jigs back in the day?

 

Does this have to do anything with the depth-speed controls?

 

...

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LOL - just saved me a lot of typing :)  Thanks!

 

I think that concept might have a little "wiggle room" these days, and yes, it's all depth-speed control. Buck viewed jump baits as the slower speed control lures. Actually, 'live bait' and 'dead bait' fell below the jump lure category. How fast or how slow depended upon how far or fast you "jumped" the lure. Shorter jumps = slower speeds. Pauses between jumps were considered "zero speed" control. Therefore, with a single retrieve, you could cover multiple speed options on the cast. Again though, based on weight and bulk of your jig or worm or spoon, if you moved it too fast (as in swimming perhaps), it would likely rise too far above bottom, and therefore you would lose your depth control component. "Jumping" always allowed for your bait to return back to bottom, whatever depth you were in. From what I can tell though, Buck never "dragged" to my knowledge, at least that I've been able to find. Haven't heard an exact explanation as to why. Theoretically you can "drag" any jig or worm without the need for a football head. Might have to dig a little deeper into the library and see if I can find a better answer for that one.

 

-T9   

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Let me ask another question then. Why must jump type lures be only jumped, and never dragged, or dragged and stopped? Did they not drag football jigs back in the day?

 

Does this have to do anything with the depth-speed controls?

 

Dug some more and might have come up with the answer.

 

Buck wrote: "It might be well to explain here why I call these types of lures 'jump-type' lures. I do it because these type lures should be jumped a distance, then allowed to return to bottom. You will note I did not say dragged a distance, then stopped on the bottom.  Neither did I say the retrieve should be slow and steady with the lure sliding along the bottom; these lures should be jumped."

 

A few pages later, Buck goes into the differences of live bait versus artificials. As I mentioned above, live/dead bait was for the slowest speed control. Along those lines, he stated that you could drift or row or use techniques like "back trolling" (the Lindner's presentation of dragging of live bait along the bottom) with bait. So dragging wasn't necessarily the issue. But he also wrote that he believed that there was a difference between biting and striking (fish). Fish could be made to strike artificials, but when they fed (which was a minority of the time, they "bit" natural baits. As such, I believe the advice to never drag or slide along the bottom was because he felt that type speed was reserved for live bait, while "jumping" a lure provided the trigger to make a fish "strike" an artificial. Make sense?

 

-T9

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Dug some more and might have come up with the answer.

 

Buck wrote: "It might be well to explain here why I call these types of lures 'jump-type' lures. I do it because these type lures should be jumped a distance, then allowed to return to bottom. You will note I did not say dragged a distance, then stopped on the bottom.  Neither did I say the retrieve should be slow and steady with the lure sliding along the bottom; these lures should be jumped."

 

A few pages later, Buck goes into the differences of live bait versus artificials. As I mentioned above, live/dead bait was for the slowest speed control. Along those lines, he stated that you could drift or row or use techniques like "back trolling" (the Lindner's presentation of dragging of live bait along the bottom) with bait. So dragging wasn't necessarily the issue. But he also wrote that he believed that there was a difference between biting and striking (fish). Fish could be made to strike artificials, but when they fed (which was a minority of the time, they "bit" natural baits. As such, I believe the advice to never drag or slide along the bottom was because he felt that type speed was reserved for live bait, while "jumping" a lure provided the trigger to make a fish "strike" an artificial. Make sense?

 

-T9

 

Thought about it some more, and I have some new questions. Admittedly I have *not* studied the book (I have the 1973 first edition) as thoroughly as I have studied a couple others. Forgive me if I sound dumb.

 

Dead slow (or live slow lol) is not the best speed for striking fish (what I'd call neutral fish) then, correct?

 

I hear talk about "short windows of opportunity". Apparently this is a short span of time when big bass get bat **** crazy, and bite almost anything you throw their way. You better cover water, and fish fast when the bite is on. Are these feeding bass?

 

I thought we were supposed to slow down the presentation when the bass are feeding; or are we not?

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Dead slow (or live slow lol) is not the best speed for striking fish (what I'd call neutral fish) then, correct?

 

I hear talk about "short windows of opportunity". Apparently this is a short span of time when big bass get bat **** crazy, and bite almost anything you throw their way. You better cover water, and fish fast when the bite is on. Are these feeding bass?

 

I thought we were supposed to slow down the presentation when the bass are feeding; or are we not?

 

In short, I'd answer, "correct", "yes", and "not necessarily," but now we have another term (feeding) thrown into the mix along with 'biting' and 'striking'. 

 

The problem at this point is we start getting into semantics, what or who you believe, as well as where your definitions are coming from (IMHO). This is one of the biggest reasons why I like the way Buck approached his fishing. Arguably, this is one of the few cases in which I'd say that the semantics don't matter, because depth and speed control, combined with "aids," as needed, cover everything. It stops you from overthinking your approach to each and every situation. Are they biting? Are they feeding? Are they striking? Am I supposed to fish this bait fast or slow? What if they're neutral instead of positive or negative? Proper depth and speed control will take care of it all, plus so much more. It really is that simple.

 

All that said, one thing I like to do is refer back to the Lindner's (In' Fisherman) original work, as well as their later stuff, and see how thoughts and concepts have changed. I do this because a large part of the basic In' Fisherman formula and concepts were simply Buck's works/words adopted, reworded (sometimes) and expanded upon. So, for instance, in the case of pos., neutral, neg., a look at the very first issue of In' Fisherman gives you the following:

 

(Sec. 5) There are three basic feeding attitudes: positive, neutral, and negative. And these feeding attitudes have a direct bearing on your lure or bait.

 

When fish are hungry and in a positive feeding mood, they respond to a wide variety of baits and methods. During this period, almost anybody could catch something and on a wide variety of baits and lures.

 

Fish in a neutral mood are those which are not actively feeding, but could be tempted. These fish require a more careful and selective approach. Here is where the fine points of trigger and control can make all the difference.

 

Fish in a negative mood are completely "off feed." They are spooky, jittery and very difficult to catch. There are approaches to trigger and control selections for this very tough situation which will be covered in future reports.

 

They also wrote about 'striking' versus 'biting' versus 'feeding' as such:

 

The object of any presentation, of course, is to get the fish to hit - to "turn him on." The reason for choosing certain lures  or baits is to simulate something natural or alive, or perhaps a favorite food. At other times, the approach is to anger or spark some instinctive reaction in the fish. This is called "striking." This is different from a hungry fish merely feeding, which is called "biting."

 

One of the earlier 'Fishing News' newspapers (1965) had "Striking vs. Biting" as their featured headline article, and a much more in-depth look at the subject. However, the more you read on the subject, the more confusing it can get. Later editions of Fishing Facts magazines contained a section in the front of every issue called "Fishing Talk - our language of structure fishing." This was a compilation of terminology and definitions provided by both Buck and Ron Lindner. In it, they listed the following definition of the two terms, attributed to Ron:

 

Biting: The act of actively seeking out forage. The fish are in a positive appetite mood. "The fish are biting."

 

Striking: An involuntary reflex action which prompts a fish to strike at a bait or lure due to  his pugnacious nature, and as triggered by the right combination of controls the fisherman can exercise over his lure, principally speed and depth. This is the opposite of biting, which is a feeding process.

 

So, in the end, I don't know if any of this made things more clear or more confusing - LOL. Personally, in my fishing, I just try and follow the guidelines and don't worry about such things :Idontknow:  

 

-T9

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