Cadence Considerations

Sometimes subtle changes in the presentation retrieve is all it takes to turn wary fish into eaters.

I’m not sure what triggered the trout’s mood change, but something certainly did. I was fishing at Lake Taneycomo in southwestern Missouri with Lawrence Taylor of Rebel Lures, and we were catching trout on Tracdown Minnows.

Before lunch we used a classic jerkbait presentation, as if we were fishing for prespawn smallmouths, with a couple of sharp tugs followed by a substantial pause. The fishing was so good that we hesitated to leave the action for lunch.

An hour later when returned, with no change having occurred in the skies, water level or wind direction, the trout almost completely stopped hitting the same lures fished the same way. Fortunately, we weren’t too quick to dig in tackle boxes because as soon as we figured out the afternoon cadence, which combine blasts of a few quick twitches with very brief pauses, we began catching fish just like we had all morning.

It’s easy to slip into a rut with lure presentations. It’s also easy to assume the lure or location is the problem when fish don’t cooperate. Often a slight change in the sharpness of twitches, the lengths of pauses or other some other seemingly small presentation detail can make all the difference.

Any time the bite hasn’t gotten going or has slowed, experiment with presentations, altering the cadence from cast to cast. When a fish does hit, take careful note of just what you’d been doing. No given fish provides the complete patterning answer, but each offers a clue. Often the difference between getting followed and catching fish is simply finding the right cadence.

For sinking lures like a Tracdown Minnow, the most important consideration can be how long to wait before you begin moving the bait. This video explains.

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