More so than most lures, a Jitterbug is a cast-and-reel lure. Typically, the best way to work it is to cast it out, possibly wait a few seconds, and then reel it back slowly and steadily. While adding twitches or pulls or changing your cadence certainly can trigger strikes, simply reeling engages the lure’s signature wobbling action and gurgling sound, and that action and sound call fish from afar and allow them to zero in on the lure.
Those truths acknowledged, at times you can trigger strikes by simply adding occasional pauses to presentations. Pauses can be slight. More hesitations than accentuated stops. There’s just something about pausing for a moment and starting the lure moving again that tends to prompt attacks.
In fairness, it’s worth noting that a pause can also prompt a bass to turn tail and disappear. Most critters don’t stop if they know they are being followed by a predator. If the bass are biting well with steady retrieves, don’t change a thing. However, if you think you’re around them and they won’t come up, try mixing in a pause from time. You’ll know when the pause is adding value because the fish will normally hit just as the lure stops or as it starts moving again. If it works, do it more.
As much as possible, add your pauses in high-percentage areas. Just as your jitterbug passes a dock support or stick-up branch, crosses the top of a point you’ve cast across or moves over a channel edge where fish are apt to be staging, pause the presentation for a moment and see what happens.
Another time to try pausing your lure is when you spot a fish following it. Again, this is high risk, high reward. You might make it bite or send it packing. If you pause the presentations soon after spotting the fish instead of waiting till it’s followed the lure all the way to the boat, your chance of triggering a strike with a pause is far better.
Whatever the result, if you pause the lure when you can actually see the fish, you get to see its reaction, and that gives you a better idea about whether to keep your Jitterbug moving or to occasionally hit the pause button.
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