When a bass strikes but misses your lure, it can be for many reasons. Perhaps you retrieve too fast or not quickly enough. You may have used a walleye lure (Yes, they know the difference), or maybe the lure is the wrong color or size, (yes, they are particular).
Nevertheless, Mr. Bass did try to take your lure. This tells you two important things: where the bass are today, and that they are in an aggressive mood. That means that they are catchable, if you cast back RIGHT NOW. However, to be more successful on that second cast, you might want to use an entirely different lure and draw that big guy out for an impulse strike. Remember, they usually hang out in the same area for quite a while.
For example, if your miss was using a White Hair Jig, maybe a quick switch to a Shaky-Head Worm might turn out to be deadly. You should also vary your retrieval method and speed. Twitch the worm as it falls to keep the bass interested. Maybe even go as far as vibrating the bait on the bottom. This might anger a fish that just happens to be in a bad mood. Remember, bass are an aggressive game fish. They strike because they want to, not necessarily because they are hungry.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, I went fishing with my grandsons, and Jack was pulling bass in by the dozen. Steven, who is usually the better angler, was getting none. I could not figure out why, until I noticed Jack was walking around, jumping up and down, looking in the tackle box, and all the time his rod was bobbing around as if it was at a rock concert. He was putting so much action on the bait the bass loved it. He, of course, did not realize the movement of his bait and lure were the reason for his success.
I suggest that before you start to fish, you have four or five different rigs set up so changing can be quick and easy. For example, if you are fishing near weeds, you might want to try a floating frog, but have a small jig handy to toss out and twitch and jerk it in just under the water’s surface. An easy way to keep the lures and rigs nearby is to hang them on the edge of a cleaning bucket. When you are ready, you can just reach down and make a quick change.
Remember, bass are a hard-hitting fish and strike at the lure. They do not just bite like most Lake Erie fish. Many times, they strike not for food, but because they feel like it or something angered them. Why don’t you try this lure and bait changing trick and see if you don’t add a few more lunkers to your daily total.
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