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What do you do when you get "bumped"?

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so i was fishing down in Florida, tried a new technique and then this question popped into my head....  was fishing a rage tail menace grub on a weighted swimbait hook and the fish were liking it!  some were crushing it, but some were just kind of "bumping" it.  i was mostly just steady reeling it in, slightly changing up the pace on my retrieves.  so here's the question.  if you're just reeling it in like that and get a fish that bumps the bait once or twice, what do you do?  

Do you just keep on reeling hoping they come back for it?
Do you slow down the retrieve to give them another chance?
Do you stop the retrieve completely and let the bait fall a bit like a stunned fish?
Do you do something completely different than any of the above?

Just curious what techniques you might employ and how they work for you....  Thanks!

 

 

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I like to pop the lure and continue the retrieve as if the bait is trying to escape. However, when you are on an aggressive bite I suspect the "bumps" are just bluegill, crappie or shad.

 

:fishing-026: 

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I will usually keep it at the same pace. I will make the same exact cast again with either a faster retrieve and then a slower retrieve.If I dont catch the fish I will change colors. They are "bumping" the lure because something is off and making them not want to commit. A lot of time I will go through with a finesse presentation after I missed fish on reaction baits. 

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I'll do one of two things on the same retrieve. I'll either stop the retrieve if I'd been reeling fairly fast, or speed up if I'd been reeling slow. No love. Replicate and do just the opposite.

If I still don't get bit, but the lure and retrieve were producing, I'd just stick with the pattern and chalk it up to a fish that was unwilling to commit. If the bumping is the only response I've been getting, I'll either downsize or change colors. In Florida, try switching colors first. For some reason they can be very color selective. 

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If I'm on 'smallie water', I kill it....they come back to same cast more than pike do.  If I'm on 'LMB water', I curse and just keep reeling....if there's skunk smell in the air I might make 10 more casts to the same spot with different colors or retrieves...desperation sux  lol

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Wait...what? 

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1 hour ago, roadwarrior said:

I like to pop the lure and continue the retrieve as if the bait is trying to escape. However, when you are on an aggressive bite I suspect the "bumps" are just bluegill, crappie or shad.

 

:fishing-026: 

This. Also if still not bit, use a follow up bait to see if the fish will strike it instead. 

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4 hours ago, Choporoz said:

If I'm on 'smallie water', I kill it....they come back 

i do the same thing for spots. they'll follow up like nobody's business.

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9 hours ago, lo n slo said:

i do the same thing for spots. they'll follow up like nobody's business.

I killed it when i got a bump on a big swimbait to land my pb

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Since I usually go with a slow retrieve, anyway, if I get a bump or any sign of interest I immediately throw something different into that same spot. In small water I might follow up a crankbait with a jig. In big water I might follow up a crankbait with a spinner, or vice-versa. 

Thought is that if they weren't interested enough to take the bait the first time they probably won't be interested a second time, but if I give them something else they may seem more interested. 

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Last summer I was retrieving a lure (can't remember exactly which one) as it got close to the boat I felt little nibbles, like small fish nipping. I thought to myself d**n little fish. But I decided to cast out about 10 feet beyond that spot and retrieved. That fish bit again, wasn't little nibblers. Was a 3.5lb largemouth. So, what does that mean?  Not sure. Maybe there isn't a right answer for this. I have triedecided the "throw out another bait to the spot" tactic that has been very successful with others. Has yet to be successful with me. Just no rule book written with this stuff. Makes it more fun. 

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Really wish the fish would follow the rules. It would make life a lot easier. 

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I've had success and failures with multiple different approaches to this. I've killed it, I've kept reeling at the same speed, and I've given it a little twitch to imitate it's wounded. All have worked and not worked for me in the past. In all honesty, it's a crap shoot. Try one and hope that it works. 

As others have said, largemouth are usually less likely to follow up bites than smallmouth and spots. 

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sometimes using the same bait but changing the color will turn those little bumps into inhalations...

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When I spent some time throwing "big baits", I learned that slowing down is how you make a following fish follow from a further distance. (big baits made me a better "normal" bait fisherman even though I didn't catch much with them). When a baitfish gets chased by a bass, he does NOT slow down. Not saying that you won't catch fish by slowing down, but typically two or three fast turns of the handle and a quick pause can trigger another strike. 

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Personally I cast back/retrieve once the exact same way and if no bite I'll vary the retrieve or angle of the cast.

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14 hours ago, everythingthatswims said:

When I spent some time throwing "big baits", I learned that slowing down is how you make a following fish follow from a further distance. (big baits made me a better "normal" bait fisherman even though I didn't catch much with them). When a baitfish gets chased by a bass, he does NOT slow down. Not saying that you won't catch fish by slowing down, but typically two or three fast turns of the handle and a quick pause can trigger another strike. 

that makes a lot of sense to me man, really does.  my usual instinct is to just kill it or slow down in hopes that the bass will "catch up" and inhale it.  BUT what you're saying makes a lot more sense to me in terms of how the "real world" probably operates down under the water!

i think i need to start doing that, much like what @roadwarrior was saying as far as a pop and then continue the retrieve.

thanks for all the replies!

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6 hours ago, buzzed bait said:

that makes a lot of sense to me man, really does.  my usual instinct is to just kill it or slow down in hopes that the bass will "catch up" and inhale it.  BUT what you're saying makes a lot more sense to me in terms of how the "real world" probably operates down under the water!

i think i need to start doing that, much like what @roadwarrior was saying as far as a pop and then continue the retrieve.

thanks for all the replies!

Your not going to reel faster than a lmb can swim if it wants your lure. I've seen them shoot out of cover after baitfish and let me tell you, it's fast, very fast. 

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I had a situation in in prespawn where I got a few bumps on a medium sized swimbait, but didn't hook up.  i got another bump, hooked up only to see that I had hooked the fish outside the mouth.  I guessed that the bass were being territorial as opposed to feeding, so I switched from the swimbait to a same sized crankbait.  I started connecting with a greater majority of those bumps thanks to the treble hooks flailing about.  Never was able to figure out what they would choke down, so I just stayed with the crankbait and kept catching fish, many of them barely hooked or hooked outside the mouth.

Probably could have done the same thing using a jerkbait.

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I try to keep everything natural. If a fish bumps my bait I kill it for a few seconds and let it do its natural fall, suspend, or rise. Then I will usually twitch it a little and bring it back to what I was doing before. 

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