Forget finesse fishing for a few weeks and get aggressive

You get what you ask for from the fish.

What does that mean?

It means that if you tip-toe around with your presentation, you encourage fish to tip-toe up to it to begin inspecting it. If, on the other hand, you create erratic vulnerability into your presentation, you tend to encourage fish to hammer it.

Not a new idea. Buck Perry was talking about speed trolling to encourage reaction strikes a million years ago. Yet many impressive catches have been made using finesse presentations, with both live bait and artificials. Many anglers default to slow enticement, especially after a cold front passes, throughout the summer months.

But when you’re after true predator fish (“fish that eat each other,” as Larry Dahlberg puts it), consider the triggers and how effective speed can be.

Legendary guide Dick “the Griz” Grzywinski does not baby walleyes. His rip-jigging technique is famous. He books along at a pretty fast clip and “rips” his rod forward, lets the jig sink, rips it again, and so forth. He figures if walleyes want it they’ll catch it. He’s right.

Doug Stange of In-Fisherman has been encouraging us to use hard-thumping plastic tails on jig heads for walleyes for years. His style attracts savage strikes. He gets what he asks for from the fish.

Mark Fisher of Rapala showed me his go-to method with X-Raps years ago, where he uses aggressive pops of the rod tip to create that vulnerable minnow look. You can reel it in straight if you want to, but on most days I pop-pop-pop, twitch, reel, repeat.

There are some things to keep in mind. High speed, erratic presentations tend to work best when water warms, at least for warm-water species. And some species like things moving slowly or stopped completely, especially on some days. This can be particularly true of bass. so don’t stop experimenting, ever. Every day of fishing should be treated like an experiment. But don’t be surprised if fish respond best to a presentation that asks them to make a decision.

Or, more accurately, that brings out their predatory instincts.

Mark Strand blogs and produces films and audio at

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