• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On May 13, 2019
  • Comments
  •  2

I just got off the Manasquan riverbanks searching out blues and bass, and an early morning shift had me casting Daiwa SP Minnows to test the waters.

Blues have been running through the last few days, and as blues in general tend to like fast paced offerings, I sped the retrieve up just a tad to elicit an aggression strike from a chopper. One retrieve back I was pulling a moderate draw, but when I knew I was up on the flat, I reeled in the lure quickly to get another cast into the strike zone, but 10 feet from my legs I saw a black shadow following the plug. A 28-inch striper swooped at the lure three times, I stopped reeling, then accelerated the lure at the last second when the bass hit like a ton of bricks right at my knees.

How long was that bass following that plug? The point is that there are many times we may not get a hit on a cast plug, metal or popper. Fish are there eyeing it up, but may not hit due to some unforeseen condition and veer off, but all it takes is a change in the presentation or pace to convince the fish to pounce on the offering. After catching that bass, I made a quick change out to a green-tailed Ava 17 jig, casting out and allowing the lure sink deeper in the water column before reeling back with an ultra-speedy retrieve when a 14-pound bluefish whacked the jig.

Try varying speeds for different species – slow it down, speed it up and even snap jig any lure to switch up the presentation. High speed reels like a Shimano Stradic 5000 can accomplish the feat with subtle cranks that gain line super-fast and are prime to use when targeting bluefish or speedsters like false albacore.

Slower geared reels like Penn Spinfisher VI 4500 series may work better when targeting bass as they generally spool line up slowly and allow the lure to wobble seductively. A taut line from 30-pound Power Pro braid allows instant connection to the lure to effectively manage the speed and style of the drawback. Next outing when you feel you’ve casted a thousand times, switching up lure colors and profile to no avail, all that may be needed is a sublime adjustment to the speed of the retrieve of the lure to garner a hit.


Nick, do you find that bass and blues congregate at different depths in the water column or do they buy pretty much hold deep to structure in fast moving currents. Also, along with the different retrieve speeds how would you work in targeting different depths of the water column? For example, when you first get to your spot and start casting should you first, let the jig head sink all the way to the bottom, count the second till it does and then pick it off? And then from there work higher stages of the column? Where does one start? Thanks for the help and awesome article
    Nick Honachefsky
    Bass and blues are always switching their position in the water column depending on conditions. For instance, the day referenced in the article, I was bluefishing at the Inlet, casting Ava jigs and reeling in fast in the top portion of the water column with no hits. I noticed an angler reeling in slower and getting hits, so my next cast I let my Ava jig sink to the bottom before I started to retrieve and then got whacked nearly every cast after that with that approach. That day, the blues were hanging low on the outgoing tide, but when it switched to incoming, most of the action was on top. I could write a thousand pages on when, where and why bass and blues move in the water column, but for now, if you aren't getting any hits, the best bet is to explore and test every time out varying your retrieve and depth, and to keep an eye out on people hooking up to see how they are approaching the fish. Feel free to check out www.saltwaterunderground.com for more in depth articles I've written in the past on the subject. Thanks!

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