In conjunction with and continuing with previous article; ‘when fish are jumping but not biting’, what do you do when you notice the fish are following your lure right up to the boat/shore and then they turn and swim away? A lot of the same principles apply here as with the earlier article. The same principles apply as far as trying to determine whether it is going to be a good or bad fishing day, the moment you arrive at your destination. Here we are going to cover some other possibilities of why this happens and what you can do to remedy the situation.
Mix up your retrieval speed
Before you go out on the water or find a cozy quiet place on the shoreline, evaluate the weather and what nature is telling you. Come up with a plan on how you want to approach fishing for the day. Stick to the plan, have fun, and be patient. As the day progresses, nature will continue to give you hints about the fish and whether it is a good day to catch them. Make sure that you have all the most popular lures for the type of fish you are seeking out. Color, size, trailers, and any extras that you can think of.
If you can physically see the fish following your lure, you get excited. You think this is the one, it is going to strike, and then BOOM; it turns and swims away. Your heart sinks, and you cast again. Some anglers believe that the fish are telling you something. They are suggesting that something is not quite right. You are on the right path, doing the right things, but something is just a little bit ‘off’ and it is causing them to swim away instead of bite.
When this happens, you will then need to begin the process of elimination and experimentation. They obviously like something about the lure you are using but dislike another aspect of it. The easiest thing that you can try is your retrieval speed. But if they are following your lure now, is that really the issue? Some would say that it is not, but others would say that you should still mix it up and find out for sure.
Try mixing up the color.
Your next possibility is going to be changing the color of the lure. Not the style/type, just the color. Maybe they like the lure you are using and the size you are enticing them with, but the color is not quite what they are looking for. So, you go through your tackle box and retrieve your various colors. Make sure to give each new change time to work (or not work). As you are changing the lure colors, experiment with the speed of retrieval or the way you are jigging the lure.
Change lure size but go back to original color.
If changing colors doesn’t seem to be working, then some anglers suggest that you go back to your original color but change the size of the lure. Go down a size and see if something smaller is what they are craving. See if your jigging method with a smaller lure entices the attack. It may get a little boring but try to be patient. They are following but not biting the lure for a reason. It is just going to take a little time to figure out what they want. You can also try moving to a shadier spot and trying out some topwater lures. But don’t get discouraged if you don’t figure it out. It just may not be the day to catch any fish. But only to be able to observe them.
Try adding a trailer
One other way that anglers have suggested, who have had this exact same issue with picky fish; if you are using a jig or a spinner bait, try adding a trailer. If none of these options are working for you it possibly may just not be your lucky day. The fish are just there to tease you and make your mouth water, thinking of the amazing ways that you can cook them up.
Do you need to attack from a boat or on shore?
As with our earlier article, read nature. What is the atmosphere telling you? Is it calm, quiet, cool, cloudy, and are there birds present? If there are birds present, then you will need to decide if you want to launch your boat into the water or if you may have more luck from the shore. There are so many variables and speculations on why you are or are not having any luck catching fish. Especially when you can clearly see other anglers catching them right and left.
Maybe just relax…
If you are on vacation and fishing in a completely new area, take a break. Have lunch at a local café or go hang out at the local bait shop and see what the locals are saying. They will know the area extremely well and can tell you different things to try, the ‘lucky’ spots for certain species, the perfect time of day, bait/lure to use, and anything else that may help you out.
If a certain species of fish is ‘teasing’ you by following your lure, and then shunning it maybe you need to try fishing for a different species all together. Completely change your lure/bait and see if you can entice a different fish to strike. It may just be that a species isn’t interested or hungry at that point and instead of stressing yourself out, by trying to figure out what they want, aim for something else. Many bodies of water that hold fish, have many different species swimming around together. You may have to change location completely or you may just have to worry about casting further out. Completely change to top water and go find a nice quiet cove. Troll out deeper or closer to ledges or forage and see what you can entice. There are so many different reasons why fish do what they do and not even an expert has all the answers as to why you are not catching fish.
When most fishermen go out, it is to relax and unwind from a busy week at work. So, try to focus on that. Enjoy your unwinding time (or your vacation) and not focus so much on why they are not biting. Enjoy the water and the company, if someone comes along, and enjoy nature. Catching fish for a meal or 2 is just a bonus.
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