By John P Pruskowski
Most anglers know that using a high quality reel like a Shimano Stella can improve your fishing experience. Still more anglers know that the use of different kinds of line can also change the way your lure reacts when reeled in. So why is it that some anglers, both beginning and experienced, choose not to vary their speed of retrieve when fishing? The answer to that is not clear, but lets take a look at a couple of reasons you should do so and how to accomplish it.
The first reason one should consider when thinking about varying your speed of retrieve is water temperature. Whether you live in Florida, Utah, Minnesota, or Alaska, varying water temperatures at different times of the year are a fact of life. In Florida it might be the difference between 75 and 85 degrees, where as in Minnesota it might be between 30 and 75 degrees, but make no mistake there is a difference no matter where you fish. Fish are cold blooded and therefor their metabolism slows down when water temperatures are at their lowest. Fish feeding activity will not be as prevalent as it is when the temperatures rise into their optimal feeding range. Of course temperatures that are too high will also slow feeding, but that is for a different reason. So what does this mean to the perceptive angler you may ask? It means that by considerably slowing your retrieve with your spinning reel in cold water situations you can increase your chances of getting a strike from a lethargic fish.
As important as it can be to slow your retrieve with your spinning reels in cold water situations, lets not forget about very warm water temperatures as well. If you are using any of a variety of sinking lures meant to go deeper with a slower retrieve, then the added time it takes to make your retrieve may just get you down to the level of the fish. Quite often when water temperatures rise during the dog days of summer, the fish go deep under water looking for a cool spot. This cool spot may be caused by a spring or an underwater feature like bottom terrain, but they are there and fish seek them out in times of dangerously high water temperatures. So slow your retrieve with your spinning reels and get down into those cool pockets where fish go to beat the heat.
The other main reason to use a quality spinning reel to help you vary your retrieve speed is to play on a fish’s aggression. Different types of fish have varying degrees of aggression, but all fish at one time or another will strike at a lure based purely on aggression. Some fish are just aggressive predators by nature. For instance, the large mouth bass will eat just about anything that comes in its path that it can fit into its mouth. Other fish are less aggressive, but will strike out of aggression if your retrieve is varied in a way that seems threatening to them, or the nest of eggs they may be protecting. By speeding up and slowing your retrieve in a random fashion, you may elicit an aggressive strike from an otherwise calm fish. With the selection of the proper lure for the species you are pursuing, combined with the proper varied retrieve, you can expect to have more strikes in an average day of fishing.
So, the next time you are out fishing, make sure to try varying the speed of the retrieve you are using with your spinning reel. Whether it is going slowly to find those lethargic fish, or varying your speed from quick to slow to elicit an aggressive strike, you are sure to see your hit numbers increase. When your strikes have increased, the rest is up to you. Set the hook, fight hard, and use your high quality spinning reel to put those fish in the boat! Happy fishing and tight lines!