Spinning Reel Fishing Techniques
Hitting the waters with a spinning reel offers you a variation of fishing techniques, depending on what you are fishing for, where you are fishing, and what equipment you have. The most commonly used spinning reel fishing techniques are discussed below, with information on how to use them most effectively when putting them to use.
As evident in its name, still fishing is a simple spinning reel fishing technique. It is the most basic, requiring the least amount of skill and tactics, yet requiring the most patience. If you are not well known for your patience, you may find yourself enjoying another technique better.
Still fishing, as it describes, is absent of much movement and manipulation and is great for beginners or kids. Once your line is in the water, ninety-five percent of the work is complete. The preplanning and preparation is the most difficult aspect of this technique. Setting up your line correctly, which you can learn more about here, will be the most sophisticated endeavor you undergo using this technique.
Once you prepare your line, you simply cast your line out to where you want it, let it sit, and wait for the fish to find it. No additional work is necessary.
While being the simplest, still fishing can also be the most versatile. You can adequately fish using this technique in most scenarios, including from a boat or on land. You can fish at all levels in the water by simply adjusting the height of your float. Once your line is in the water, monitor your float for underwater action indicators. A small bob or wobble, you may have a bite playing with your line, or a small fish already hooked. A large tug and pull, you likely have something medium to large on your hook. It is time to set the hook by giving your rod a slight lift upwards.
Cast and Retrieve
Cast and retrieve fishing is more interactive and requires much less patience; however, it does require constant reeling and casting. To use this technique, simply cast out your line, but instead of letting it sink to the bottom and sit, allow it to settle to the desired depth you want to fish, and start to retrieve.
When retrieving, it is important to go at a speed where your lure is mimicking a swimming fish. This may involve changing speeds constantly.
Once your line has been fully retrieved, wait a moment and cast it back out, starting the process over again.
This technique allows you to fish off the bottom of the water, while exploring for locations of fish, with less risk of snagging or losing your gear to debris on the bottom.
More difficult than still fishing is another alternative spinning reel fishing technique called Bottom Bouncing. As the name suggests, this technique involves allowing your “jig” or bait to bounce across the bottom of the water body. In doing so, the disturbance caused by the lure as it contacts the ground acts as an attractant for the fish’s attention.
Depending upon what type of water body you are fishing, you may be required to manually drag the lure across the bottom, as in a lake or pond. However, where there is a current, the water movement will likely do all the work for you.
This technique is beneficial to locate where the fish may be currently active. Once you have obtained multiple strikes while bottom bouncing, it is likely you found the location of a school. This would be a great time to change to still fishing, placing your bait directly in the area where the strikes occurred.
There are some risks to bottom bouncing. Moving your lure across the bottom of any body of water increases the chances that you will snag your hook on either rocks, limbs, grass, or other debris that has fallen to the bottom. Be prepared to salvage your line should it start to get hooked on something, but also be ready to replace your gear should the snag prove to be too much and you lose your setup.
Here is a picture of what your line is doing at the bottom during bottom bouncing (Photo from Wawangresort):
Jigging is similar to bottom bouncing with the exception that you are instigating the movement of the lure manually by controlling your rod. The goal of jigging is to get an up and down movement to your lure using your wrist. Simply lifting up the rod tip and then lowering it back down will create the ideal movement of your lure.
After casting out your lure, allow it to settle to the bottom of the water, usually done only in a few seconds. Oftentimes, you will physically feel the lure, or spoon, strike the bottom. Once on the bottom, simply snap your wrist up just slightly, lifting the lure off the ground, then letting the lure settle back down. You simply repeat as you slowly retrieve your lure towards you, keeping your line tight so that you can respond to a bite if needed.
Jigging can be done in different directions, including up and down, as described as above. However, alternatives to this method are side to side motions and a combination of up/down and to a side.
Walking the Dog
Visualize taking the dog for a walk on a city sidewalk. Three feet of space from edge to edge. Now, unless it is a well-behaved dog, it is likely that it’s nose will lead the dog from side to side, capturing all the smells to be had. This is exactly how the Walking the Dog technique should look: Like a dog going back and forth, from edge to edge, with little progression forward.
To use the Walking the Dog technique, which can be a difficult spinning reel technique to master, simply cast the line out and prepare for a slow retrieval. Instead of bringing the line in, as you would in a cast and retrieve, or jigging, give your rod a gentle twitch down and to the side and pause. This pause allows the lure to continue to move in the direction of the twitch. This movement will allow slack to develop in your line.
As the slack develops, twitch your rod to the other side. Allow the same sequence to occur. Throughout the retrieval, occasionally stop all movement and let the lure sit idle… then start again. Resume the same pattern of motions as you continue to retrieve your line.
This spinning reel fishing technique works best when there is a rhythm developed in the motions. The back-and-forth motion should be as seamless as possible. It is also important that, if done correctly, the lure is actually moving side to side more than it is moving towards the rod tip.
Here is a video on how to perform the Walking the Dog technique: Walking the Dog
And finally, here is a picture that provides an overview on the Walking the Dog technique (Photo from Caperlan):
Take one or all of these spinning reel fishing techniques and incorporate them into your game. Test them and see which one brings you the most success. Try different techniques in different water bodies, water conditions, and in the quest for different species of fish. Find which one works for you and perfect it.