Shallow retrieves in winter?

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peteren
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Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by peteren » Wed Dec 04 2019 08:43

Shallow retrieves would be far easier on snaggy rivers I fish. But having tried often with limited success outside summer, I generally revert to "bottom-bouncing" with spinnerbaits / sp's / cranks. With more success (and snags!) - but often not prolific!
Smallish rivers around 20 yards wide and 5-10 feet deep. Even when the water is clearish for winter - 2-4 foot visibility (me looking down), I still feel I need to be in "bottom half".

I respect Steve and Marks' points from earlier thread - but have had too little success to persist with trying shallow retrieves in winter.
Comments welcome!

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=39132

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Mike J
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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Mike J » Wed Dec 04 2019 11:19

Do you know the fish you seek are in there?

Not catching doesn't mean your using a method that doesnt interests them, it could indicate your fishing where they are not, or not concentrating enough in the places where they are.

If the water was gin clear what do you think you would see?
Would you see fish postioned evenly along the whole length?
Fish scattered about randomly?
How far apart would each you expect those fish to be?
How long do you think those fish would remain in those locations?
Would those fish have a feeding and resting pattern?
What natural food items are available in the water?
Are you employing the best methods to catch the fish?
Is catching fish secondary to the method you like using.

Ask yourself those questions and you will be a long way towards the success which will be all the sweeter.

:handshake:

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John Milford
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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by John Milford » Wed Dec 04 2019 12:17

peteren wrote:
Shallow retrieves would be far easier on snaggy rivers I fish. But having tried often with limited success outside summer, I generally revert to "bottom-bouncing" with spinnerbaits / sp's / cranks. With more success (and snags!) - but often not prolific!
Smallish rivers around 20 yards wide and 5-10 feet deep. Even when the water is clearish for winter - 2-4 foot visibility (me looking down), I still feel I need to be in "bottom half".

I respect Steve and Marks' points from earlier thread - but have had too little success to persist with trying shallow retrieves in winter.
Comments welcome!

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=39132
Shallow retrieves can definitely work in winter. I remember a day on a lowland river, fishing with Del Bennett and James Dean (who doesn't look like the 50's icon, just drives like him!).

The water was cold and carrying some colour, so James and I fished pretty much as you described Peter. Del however, slashed big, bright jerkbaits in the top two feet. We all caught, but Del did far better than us on that day.

It wasn't a one-off either. He repeated his performance on another occasion and had a 20 on a shallow jerkbait when we were fishing a deep stillwater in February. (Again, James and I didn't even have lures like that with us!).

I guess that proves, at the very least, that it is always worth trying something seemingly unconventional whatever the conditions. :shrug:
"He's some sort of lure savant. Or just has an unhealthy addiction to old lures. We are not quite sure . . . . . "

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Mark_Houghton » Wed Dec 04 2019 13:14

John Milford wrote:
peteren wrote:
Shallow retrieves would be far easier on snaggy rivers I fish. But having tried often with limited success outside summer, I generally revert to "bottom-bouncing" with spinnerbaits / sp's / cranks. With more success (and snags!) - but often not prolific!
Smallish rivers around 20 yards wide and 5-10 feet deep. Even when the water is clearish for winter - 2-4 foot visibility (me looking down), I still feel I need to be in "bottom half".

I respect Steve and Marks' points from earlier thread - but have had too little success to persist with trying shallow retrieves in winter.
Comments welcome!

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=39132
Shallow retrieves can definitely work in winter. I remember a day on a lowland river, fishing with Del Bennett and James Dean (who doesn't look like the 50's icon, just drives like him!).

The water was cold and carrying some colour, so James and I fished pretty much as you described Peter. Del however, slashed big, bright jerkbaits in the top two feet. We all caught, but Del did far better than us on that day.

It wasn't a one-off either. He repeated his performance on another occasion and had a 20 on a shallow jerkbait when we were fishing a deep stillwater in February. (Again, James and I didn't even have lures like that with us!).

I guess that proves, at the very least, that it is always worth trying something seemingly unconventional whatever the conditions. :shrug:
I think the key to those examples, is that he used lures and tactics which provoked the fish sufficiently to draw them up to strike. In both cases erratically fished baits, and presumably decent sized ones too. The less inclined pike are to come up to hit a lure, the more they need to be provoked to do so. If whatever you try, they won`t come up to hit a bait, the only option then is to go deeper and put the baits right in their face. Starting shallow and working deeper would be something i`d do too, as per comments in the other thread. In Peter`s case, in 5-10ft of water, that`s not a particularly long way for a fish to come up to hit a shallow fished bait, and they`ll certainly see them no problem, even with a bit of colour in the water.
Peter, if you`re getting meagre results on deep fished baits, and even less on shallow ones, perhaps it`s just one of those venues which doesn`t respond very well to lures through the winter? Or, maybe you`re fishing for reduced numbers of pike for whatever reason, what are the results like during the warmer months?

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by alan behenna » Wed Dec 04 2019 15:07

There's no "One size fits all" in this Pete. Access each water from apparently "what's happening", by your good self's experiences on it over some time.........and then "If it works, STICK to it"

We all have different ideas I suppose, and for one, I won't try to make Pike "come up" (unless forced to for some reason)........not when I can go straight down and find them there!

IF your trying to move them up though, then it looks like your doing it right, "sound and vision" first, alone or combined. Then take a look at what you can do with sound alone if your fairly shallow'ish in water that does have "some" visibility. They can hear and track (if they want) much better than some folks think.

They have to be there first of course, before they can be worked on, somedays' they are just not there, when you are.

:suspect:

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Mark_Houghton » Wed Dec 04 2019 15:23

alan behenna wrote:
There's no "One size fits all" in this Pete. Access each water from apparently "what's happening", by your good self's experiences on it over some time.........and then "If it works, STICK to it"

We all have different ideas I suppose, and for one, I won't try to make Pike "come up" (unless forced to for some reason)........not when I can go straight down and find them there!

IF your trying to move them up though, then it looks like your doing it right, "sound and vision" first, alone or combined. Then take a look at what you can do with sound alone if your fairly shallow'ish in water that does have "some" visibility. They can hear and track (if they want) much better than some folks think.

They have to be there first of course, before they can be worked on, somedays' they are just not there, when you are.

:suspect:
Peter`s initial question about shallow retrieves came about due to the river being snaggy Alan. If there`s a possibility of drawing the fish up to strike a bait, away from the snags, as opposed to fishing deep (possibly into those snags and risking lost lures) when there may be no need to, then it makes sense to work shallow down to deep, as opposed to the other way round :smile:

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Danoutdoors » Wed Dec 04 2019 15:48

I’d step my gear up to deal with the snags, hooks that will bend out, split rings that will pull, heavy braid etc, if you think you are getting more from deeper then keep at it, it’s all about catching fish, keep at em 👍🐊

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by peteren » Wed Dec 04 2019 17:56

Good points - thanks all.
To answer some of the points:-
It is a fairly uniform, featureless lowland river, which I have access to about 5 miles of.
8 - 3 years ago, I began to think I had "cracked" it - several doubles; sometimes 2/3 in a session (good for me, and that water).
Found by hard graft, covering water; but almost always catching "low and slow in bottom half". Spinnerbaits most-used and successful, but caught on range of lures.
Occasional "hotspots" found, despite few distinctive features / baitfish evidence. My results in last 2 winters patchier; usual number of doubles coming to others' deads; but fewer to my lures - which were often outfishing the deads back then.
Most stretches little-pressured - especially not by lures - and I often walk further than most deadbaiters to find "virgin water" - but rarely to greater benefit; so I doubt they're "wising-up".
Rarely fish it in summer; hoping it's fit and fined-down for first winter go soon!
I'm currently along Dan's lines.
Reading Derek Gibson (and Dave Pugh previously), renewed my interest in trying shallow / fast / big lures more - but previous attempts - mainly with spinnerbaits - have failed.

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Mark_Houghton » Wed Dec 04 2019 18:21

peteren wrote:
Good points - thanks all.
To answer some of the points:-
It is a fairly uniform, featureless lowland river, which I have access to about 5 miles of.
8 - 3 years ago, I began to think I had "cracked" it - several doubles; sometimes 2/3 in a session (good for me, and that water).
Found by hard graft, covering water; but almost always catching "low and slow in bottom half". Spinnerbaits most-used and successful, but caught on range of lures.
Occasional "hotspots" found, despite few distinctive features / baitfish evidence. My results in last 2 winters patchier; usual number of doubles coming to others' deads; but fewer to my lures - which were often outfishing the deads back then.
Most stretches little-pressured - especially not by lures - and I often walk further than most deadbaiters to find "virgin water" - but rarely to greater benefit; so I doubt they're "wising-up".
Rarely fish it in summer; hoping it's fit and fined-down for first winter go soon!
I'm currently along Dan's lines.
Reading Derek Gibson (and Dave Pugh previously), renewed my interest in trying shallow / fast / big lures more - but previous attempts - mainly with spinnerbaits - have failed.
Well, at least you know the fish are still present if the deadbaiters are catching. Something i`ve noticed is that lure preferences can change from season to season, for no apparent reason. It sounds to me like your previously productive spinnerbaits are off their menu, for whatever reason. As far as spinnerbaits fished shallow goes, for what its worth i`ve rarely done much on them fished fast and shallow over deeper water either, unless fished over tall submerged weedbeds. I`ve always done better with them fished deeper and slower. I`ve always leaned towards jerked minnowbaits when I wanted something shallow and erratic, as theyve done so well for me in the past, others would probably choose gliding jerkbaits to do the same job. Deep down, if there`s little weed, it might be worth trying something different like big lipped cranks crawled back mega slowly along the bottom. Something that can be fished really, really slow and still swim well, which will easily reach the bottom(pick a lure that`ll run deeper than the deepest area you`re tackling, and a buoyant one too). Fishing them really slow, you can usually float them over any snags present, as you`ll get plenty of warning when the lure`s hit something before everything locks up. Fat profiled baits are good for this as the body shields the hooks to some degree when snags are encountered. That`s what I`d lean towards anyway mate.

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by peteren » Wed Dec 04 2019 20:20

Mark_Houghton wrote:
peteren wrote:
Good points - thanks all.
To answer some of the points:-
It is a fairly uniform, featureless lowland river, which I have access to about 5 miles of.
8 - 3 years ago, I began to think I had "cracked" it - several doubles; sometimes 2/3 in a session (good for me, and that water).
Found by hard graft, covering water; but almost always catching "low and slow in bottom half". Spinnerbaits most-used and successful, but caught on range of lures.
Occasional "hotspots" found, despite few distinctive features / baitfish evidence. My results in last 2 winters patchier; usual number of doubles coming to others' deads; but fewer to my lures - which were often outfishing the deads back then.
Most stretches little-pressured - especially not by lures - and I often walk further than most deadbaiters to find "virgin water" - but rarely to greater benefit; so I doubt they're "wising-up".
Rarely fish it in summer; hoping it's fit and fined-down for first winter go soon!
I'm currently along Dan's lines.
Reading Derek Gibson (and Dave Pugh previously), renewed my interest in trying shallow / fast / big lures more - but previous attempts - mainly with spinnerbaits - have failed.
Well, at least you know the fish are still present if the deadbaiters are catching. Something i`ve noticed is that lure preferences can change from season to season, for no apparent reason. It sounds to me like your previously productive spinnerbaits are off their menu, for whatever reason. As far as spinnerbaits fished shallow goes, for what its worth i`ve rarely done much on them fished fast and shallow over deeper water either, unless fished over tall submerged weedbeds. I`ve always done better with them fished deeper and slower. I`ve always leaned towards jerked minnowbaits when I wanted something shallow and erratic, as theyve done so well for me in the past, others would probably choose gliding jerkbaits to do the same job. Deep down, if there`s little weed, it might be worth trying something different like big lipped cranks crawled back mega slowly along the bottom. Something that can be fished really, really slow and still swim well, which will easily reach the bottom(pick a lure that`ll run deeper than the deepest area you`re tackling, and a buoyant one too). Fishing them really slow, you can usually float them over any snags present, as you`ll get plenty of warning when the lure`s hit something before everything locks up. Fat profiled baits are good for this as the body shields the hooks to some degree when snags are encountered. That`s what I`d lean towards anyway mate.
Interestingly Mark, I sought out some "Big Macs" - big lipped buoyant cranks as you probably know - to reef-dig / snag-hop there. They fished ok, albeit too buoyant to crawl back mega slowly along the bottom; caught a few - but fewer than other lures. May try mega-slow again; but intrigued at faster options, as I think covering water to find scattered fish, is key.

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Mark_Houghton » Wed Dec 04 2019 21:12

peteren wrote:
Mark_Houghton wrote:
peteren wrote:
Good points - thanks all.
To answer some of the points:-
It is a fairly uniform, featureless lowland river, which I have access to about 5 miles of.
8 - 3 years ago, I began to think I had "cracked" it - several doubles; sometimes 2/3 in a session (good for me, and that water).
Found by hard graft, covering water; but almost always catching "low and slow in bottom half". Spinnerbaits most-used and successful, but caught on range of lures.
Occasional "hotspots" found, despite few distinctive features / baitfish evidence. My results in last 2 winters patchier; usual number of doubles coming to others' deads; but fewer to my lures - which were often outfishing the deads back then.
Most stretches little-pressured - especially not by lures - and I often walk further than most deadbaiters to find "virgin water" - but rarely to greater benefit; so I doubt they're "wising-up".
Rarely fish it in summer; hoping it's fit and fined-down for first winter go soon!
I'm currently along Dan's lines.
Reading Derek Gibson (and Dave Pugh previously), renewed my interest in trying shallow / fast / big lures more - but previous attempts - mainly with spinnerbaits - have failed.
Well, at least you know the fish are still present if the deadbaiters are catching. Something i`ve noticed is that lure preferences can change from season to season, for no apparent reason. It sounds to me like your previously productive spinnerbaits are off their menu, for whatever reason. As far as spinnerbaits fished shallow goes, for what its worth i`ve rarely done much on them fished fast and shallow over deeper water either, unless fished over tall submerged weedbeds. I`ve always done better with them fished deeper and slower. I`ve always leaned towards jerked minnowbaits when I wanted something shallow and erratic, as theyve done so well for me in the past, others would probably choose gliding jerkbaits to do the same job. Deep down, if there`s little weed, it might be worth trying something different like big lipped cranks crawled back mega slowly along the bottom. Something that can be fished really, really slow and still swim well, which will easily reach the bottom(pick a lure that`ll run deeper than the deepest area you`re tackling, and a buoyant one too). Fishing them really slow, you can usually float them over any snags present, as you`ll get plenty of warning when the lure`s hit something before everything locks up. Fat profiled baits are good for this as the body shields the hooks to some degree when snags are encountered. That`s what I`d lean towards anyway mate.
Interestingly Mark, I sought out some "Big Macs" - big lipped buoyant cranks as you probably know - to reef-dig / snag-hop there. They fished ok, albeit too buoyant to crawl back mega slowly along the bottom; caught a few - but fewer than other lures. May try mega-slow again; but intrigued at faster options, as I think covering water to find scattered fish, is key.
I`ve not used Big Macs but understand they are very buoyant. As far as covering water quickly, it can be difficult to find a balance where youre covering water sufficiently, but not at a speed that`s going to affect your chances (ie too fast for the conditions/mood of the fish). Less casts per swim with a high confidence bait that will draw strikes quickly if fish are present, would be my aim, so i could move more frequently to find the fish, and still be confident that if a fish was present in an area, the bait would attract attention straight away from any willing pike.
It was interesting to read Derek Gibsons comments on that thread you posted, about how quickly he moved swims. Even in winter 3 or 4 casts would have him moving to the next spot unless he had a fish, or interest in the lure. His thinking being that he was only interested in finding active fish which would hit the lures, and not being too concerned about any fish he may have passed by, that may be in an area but are unwilling to hit. Good way to look at it :thumbs:

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by tony myhill » Wed Dec 04 2019 22:35

Fishing the Broads mean most of my lures are geared for shallow water. A lure I have a lot of success with is the Creek Chub Pikie. These together with silver or copper spoons can be fished fast or slow.
I have made Pikies that fish in the top foot for weedy water and others to fish down to three foot. Both create lots of flash and movement.

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by alan behenna » Thu Dec 05 2019 00:00

Different folks have different strokes etc and we don't all think the same way, if we did, then "boring" and just maybe it might cost you (or me) a fish, or two.

I can't help but note, the idea is to attempt to "make" them active of course, the start and the finish of it.
If their not immediately willing then attempt "to go to them", if they haven't "come to you", keep a lure in-their-face for long enough and maybe, just maybe, you can get that response triggered in that predator that just might need a little more of that "prompt" if they happen to be a tad "quiet" at the mo. Sometimes it needs work.........and sometimes the time you invest in "it" can pay off, big (being the word) time.

Search that water, in a way your happy to do so, but make a proper job of it, your way.

:thumbs:

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Monts » Thu Dec 05 2019 09:19

Peter,

You and I have met and we both fish similar styles of river. You could do worse and get Mark to knock you up a couple of his 'Snipers'. Loads of wobble and flash. They can be worked both slow or fast. When retrieved fast, as I posted on the LAS forum about 12 months back, they really rattle your teeth, not a lure to use with a hangover.

Great fun to use and they catch fish. I'll be taking mine out this Saturday, conditions look spot on, the first time in weeks.
If you wanna go fishing go fishing.- John Gierach

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by peteren » Thu Dec 05 2019 20:02

So what are Mark_Houghton Snipers?
Can't find them on his site...

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Monts » Thu Dec 05 2019 20:30

peteren wrote:
So what are Mark_Houghton Snipers?
Can't find them on his site...
MH Sniper.JPG
They are mentioned here.

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=33964

:thumbs:
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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by peteren » Sat Dec 07 2019 10:42

Thanks Jason.
Got several of Mark's fine lures.
Like most lure nuts, I suspect I've already got plenty of tools for the job; it's finding where / how to use them (depth, speed etc)...

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by Mike J » Sat Dec 07 2019 12:48

Ive modified the megga diving Big Macks with good results in the salt.
To get them to move slower and deeper for longer I attached a nomb lead on bridle (bent wire) below the lip then filed the lead off until the bass loved them.
I think half the BM's attraction was that nothing at that time went that deep.
If you try adding lead bear in mind the deeper the lure runs the more bouyant it becomes so what sinks it a foot on the surface wont take it down to the bottom.
Your 14ft isnt deep, if you think a fish is on or just off the bottom, will lift off a couple of feet to follow from below your lure that should be running at say 10-11ft (maybe :wink: )
And if its got a rattle kill it!

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Re: Shallow retrieves in winter?

Post by peteren » Sun Dec 08 2019 10:34

River was fit at last.
Dabbled with a few bigger lures / shallow / quick retrieves; but started finding pike when I "reverted to usual" - hinged spinnerbaits worked low and slow.
No monsters but 9 fish - either side of mate's 3 deadbaits, on which he only had 1 (missed) run.
All takes in bottom foot of around 7 foot depth.
hoping I can get back before it colours up again!

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