Keep Your Presentations Natural

In my lifetime I have spent a lot of time observing the natural actions, and reactions of how animals interact in the wild. Observing how a tree frog swims in a clear swimming pool, lizard falls from an over hanging tree limb to the waters surface, etc..

Using these observations will lead us to ways of improving our overall lure presentations.

If you have ever thrown a cricket or grasshopper into the water from a dock or shoreline, its natural reaction is to swim back towards the shore. Success in reaching Tierra-firma is usually futile due to a hungry bream or bass.

A lot of my tournament success this year has come from taking the same approach with my lure presentations where ever possible. Success has come from a variety of top water presentations utilizing creature type plastics. Toads and lizards have been my go to bait until the sun reaches a point in which the fish are driven deeper into cover.

My technique has been to position the boat within the inside of a grass line or, the inside of the front line of

fishing inside outbound


flooded timber, and casting my lure of choice ten to fifteen yards beyond the outside edge of the grass line or row of timber.

The goal is to mimic that scared insect, or creature that has fallen abruptly into an unfamiliar realm. Bringing it back towards the shoreline is a natural reaction as well as a natural presentation that appears to bass as natural forage.

To achieve the desired action, what I do is before the lure reaches the water I engage my reel which causes the bait to slap the water like a miniature belly flop. When the bait hits the water my rod is usually held in the 11:00 o’ clock position, skittering the lure erratically across the top of the water until it reaches the outside weed line, or against the trunk of the tree I have brought it into. There are two types of strikes that will happen using this approach.

The majority of my strikes occur within the first two feet of entering the water, or, within two feet of approaching the intended target. The first scenario occurs earlier in the day when bass are most likely to be cruising for forage. The latter becomes more prevalent once the sun raises high enough to clear the shoreline. When fishing a weed line such as maiden cane or Kissimmee grass, I’ll hold the bait against a stalk of grass for a moment, perfectly still as if stopping to rest for a moment.

When fishing offshore hydrilla, keep it natural there too. A crawfish in the wild will crawl slowly, often spending a few minutes at a time in one position as it filters nutrients from the water or feeding from the stem of the weed.

I mimic this by fishing a 3.5” crawfish, usually in natural colors and with a glass rattle insert. I will cast it out, allow it to sink, and crawl it slowly until I feel it wedge against a stalk of hydrilla. At that point I will hold the rod tip at 10:00 o’ clock with line tightened, and using my free hand I will lightly rap the rod above the reel, sending vibrations down the line to the bait causing the rattles to emit the natural clicking noise caused by a real crawfish. After making several raps on the rod hold still, with line still tight, and you will feel a slight tick in the line, indicating that a bass has sucked the crawfish in. This technique requires a great deal of patience and attention to detail. It is a very slow technique that requires diligence, but also a technique that will pay off huge dividends.

My equipment choice when using these techniques is a 7’11” MH Flipping/Pitching stick with a 6:3:1 high speed bait casting reel. Since the lure in top water presentations is kept with the head of the lure above water, line type is not very important so heavy braid can even be used. My preference has been P-Line CXX due to its low visibility and abrasion resistance when using a subsurface presentation.

Good luck and keep it natural!

Joseph Pepper

Editorial Staff Member

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