“What are you doing after your plug is out of the strike zone?” I asked Steve.
“Retrieving,” he replied.
“Just like that?”
“Just like that,” he said.
Turning, he glanced at the black over chartreuse, over white plug I had placed on the counter and nodded, approvingly.
“Montauk special,” he said. “That’s what they call it down there.”
The rock gardens and rips across the northeast flooded my memory as I began to envision the countless spots the “Montauk Special” has taken fish for me throughout the years.
Like most of the lures I fish, the Super Strike Darter is most effective during a very specific span of a retrieve. Timing matters with glide plugs, specifically how long the plug remains in structure.
I don’t expect it to catch fish all the time, or just because I throw it out there. I expect the darter to catch fish only when it passes a very specific part of structure, be it a garage-sized rock, or an inshore reef, or a mussel bed. Otherwise, it is just a piece of plastic floating in fish-less water.
Your retrieve speed should take this fact into account. When we fish, it is easy for us to think about how our retrieves effect the action of the lures we throw.
But while the action of a lure is important, I have found it even more important to modify my retrieve to enable my bait to stay in the area I am targeting for the longest amount of time possible.
Consider this scenario: If I am standing on a rock and casting parallel to the shoreline in a boulder-field, the only two times I am retrieving quickly are a) to pick up slack line when my lure hits the water and 2) when my lure is out of the vicinity of the boulders and I need to get it back. Otherwise, when my lure is close to a rock in the boulder-field, I slow my retrieve speed to a crawl. This enables my lure to stay in the structure longer, increasing the amount of time a fish has to find it.Over the years I’ve observed very proficient surfcasters. Steve McKenna, one of the best, has many stories to tell, but his best advice has always been his dissemination of surfcasting tactics. Learning to modify my retrieve has taught me more about fishing than a specific spot.
A commitment to cast placement and presentation is an attitude the greats seem to share. We must always fish structure because structure holds fish.
So the next time you make a cast to some white-washed rock or structural irregularity, regulate your retrieve to hang in there with the bass.