Summer Bass Fishing - Retrieve Speed with Mike Gerry

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Speed of retrieve is crucial in bass fishing, especially during peak summer months when frog bites are imminent. To set the hook, gather up your line quickly and change speeds and tempo multiple times. Using the correct reel and understanding the speed of the frog are essential for success. Considering the speed of the reel and the speed at which you work the frog is also crucial.

It is the time of year where “speed of retrieve” is the name of the game in bass fishing, as reeling up a slow- moving bait or a fish coming at you quickly to set the hook is extremely important. There are many ways to work a bait and certainly many of them require you to work them very quickly to produce the action the bait was designed for. However, working that bait certain times of years require you to slow down, and we are approaching that critical time now, as plastics or jigs or burning baits over grass with slack in your line are generally baits of choice during the heat of peak summer bass fishing! We are also approaching the frog bite, and nothing requires the correct retrieve speed and tempo than gathering up your line quickly to set the hook on a frog. Many times, when your bait hits the water is when you get a strike on a frog and if you cannot gather your line fast enough you will lose the fish before you get a chance to get a hook in it.

Let me give you an example of retrieve speed during summer bass fishing. Many of us are successful at bass fishing a frog when we burn it across a grass mat. Burning it does require you to change speeds and tempo many times to be successful. If you are burning the frog without stopping, slowing, speeding back up, then you could very well have the wrong tempo required to get a bass to bite. When your best buddy tells you to burn it and they will bite, that does not necessarily mean he never slows down, or stops the bait to change the tempo, this can be a critical piece of retrieve speed. To do this requires some thought on your part to make your frog attractive to largemouth bass. Speed combined with change in tempo from stopping to slowing down to speeding up all require the proper speed and cadence. Without the correct reel this could be impossible and a lot of work especially if you have a slow reel. You must consider the speed of the reel you are using and the speed at which you are working the frog; judgement and understanding is key to catching bass in this technique along with wrist and hand action your retrieve speed needs for-thought to be successful.

All bass fishing baits we fish with require thought on the presentation; and many times, the presentation you use at first light may need to be changed drastically to get the same bite at 11am. Fish are more active many times at 6am than they are at 9am and retrieve speed and tempo needs to be changed many times as the day progresses. I find as we get into the higher sun and heat of the day many times just leaving your bait motionless with little movements is the best way to get bit in the heat summer bass fishing days. Frog fishing is mainly done in the hottest part of the day as the fish bury under the grass and gather up where retrieve and slow cadence or change from fast to slow are imperative.

Lastly, summer bass fishing tournament anglers are a perfect example of critical retrieve speed. Many times a tournament angler hits the water for a practice day and really slays the fish. He goes back to the same spot at the same time of day during the tournament and can’t get his fish to bite. Why, you may ask? He is fishing with a different tempo than he did during his practice time. Not realizing how critical this can be, his body is hyped up and the speed and tempo at which he caught fish in practice has changed! Your body emotion can change everything, and you must systematically adjust to change your retrieve speed to get the same bite when you were not as emotionally engaged. Consider your retrieve speed and all aspects as the heat of the summer can change everything before you realize it.

Check out our bass fishing videos to learn more about catching fish!

Captain Mike Gerry

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service


Call: 256 759 2270

Mike Gerry In The Spread, Instructor
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