Since I started chasing bream on lures, the most common question I regularly get asked is ‘What retrieve do you use on your cranks?’ Sometimes I wish I had some real elaborate answer, like I use a double twitch-pause with a draw or a twitch- burn-twitch-pause routine. Well I guess all different retrieves have their merits on any given day, but my answer to many is never rule out the power of ‘The Slow Roll’.
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to compete in the Australian Bream Tournaments (ABT) rounds in bream laden waters of Tasmania. Tasmania is known for it’s big bream, which have a fond liking to slender suspending lures. Many who have targeted bream in ‘Tassie’ have found the most common way to catch them is using slow twitch-twitch-pause retrieve giving the big bream ample time to engulf your lure. While this technique works for most applications in those waterways, it can often be to your catch rate detriment if not performed right or if the fish are in a skittish mood. The sudden jerking of the lure can often scare fish aware as it’s aggressive style can often be too much for bream especially when the bite is timid at the best of times.
After several days of fishing other waters of Tasmania before the ABT event, I found the ‘Tassie Twitch’ was just not working for me this time round. Whether it was a combination of time of year, bream bite patterns, rod tapers, leader length or even the fact I hadn’t fished this way in three years, my brain was in overdrive to work out a solution. It wasn’t until prefish (practice) day before the St Helens event when I decided that I was going back to what I know, what actually works for me at home, what I’m the most comfortable doing and that is a slow rolling retrieve. It worked for me in my home waters of Redcliffe, it worked in Mallacoota earlier this year, it also helped in Gippsland Lakes on my day two and definitely caught fish on the Gold Coast late last season.
So out I set to slow my whole game, keep the lure in the zone for longer, maximize my chance to get a bite. I chose to throw a Daiwa Presso 6F, which in the past has been a premier bream lure anywhere in the country let alone for Tassie bream. Using the slow roll with an occasional pause, the Presso’s subtle wobble is enough to grab attention without losing interest accommodating for any bream’s appetite. Results were immediate as I was into fish, were they bream, no but they were biting fish to say the least. I believe the simple adjustment of slowing the pace down was the secret, giving the fish time to make up their minds, letting the older wiser fish make bad decisions.
On Day 1 of St Helen’s, Steve Morgan (the eventual winner) gave me what I feel was a very important piece of fishing advice, ‘let the fish tell you what they want to eat’. Don’t get set in your ways of throwing your favourite lures, doing the same stuff, work out the pattern, evolve. This powerful sentence resonates through my mind each and everytime I hit the water now, which is allowing me to increase my catch rate, broaden my thinking and learn new patterns for my favourite fisheries.
So never forget the power of the slow roll, making a sometimes complicated sport…… simple.