Key factor for all fishing: monitoring lure drop rate
Here’s a top tip for becoming a more efficient angler. The fall rate of a lure is the speed that your lure drops through the water column. On a hot bite while jigging for panfish or walleyes, fish sometimes are just smacking it! So don’t waste time waiting for a slow-falling lure to reach those fish. Switch to a larger or heavier jig to get the lure down there faster to those aggressive biters.
If activity slows down or fish otherwise become more neutral, then change your jig size and dressing accordingly for a more appetizing, slower drop.
This applies to all species of fish. For finicky bass, I want a slower fall rate whether it’s a wacky worm, a jig and a creature, or whatever. When you have a tough bass bite, that drop rate is a major ingredient in being successful. Fish see that plastic descending, and the slow fluttering drop entices neutral to negative biters. A slow fall in this situation is crucial.
Multiple factors affect a lure’s drop rate: line diameter, the type of line, the size, shape, and density of your lure or plastics. Even water resistance can affect that rate of lure fall. Remember that fluorocarbon sinks faster than monofilament, so this accelerates the drop.
The sink rate or drop rate is a one of the biggest factors I monitor in ice fishing. When using a slow drop rate, we have to practice patience, confidence and concentration. We also have to understand we’ll catch more fish from a faster drop, but if the bite slows, change up your tactics. The rule of thumb is go smaller and lighter when the bite turns negative.
In ice fishing situations, especially with bluegills and crappies, remember that lighter line will get your lure down faster. This also, as we’ve explained in previous blogs, allows a more natural flutter and provides less drag for finicky biters. Two-pound-test or less provides for less drag and a faster fall versus, say 6-pound-test.
Finally, the new tungsten lures on the market are streamlined and dense to sink quickly this allowing us to fish faster. Invest in some this winter.