How to Turn Lazy Follows into Picture Fish
By Sean Ostruszka, Social Media Liaison
If you’re an optimist, they’re a good thing. If you’re a pessimist, they’re one of the most annoying occurrences in the sport.
They’re “lazy” follows. You know the ones. The fish is following a couple feet behind or below your lure, body straight as an arrow. You start figure eighting like crazy; it just sits there. As stated before, these can be taken as positive signs of life ” you clearly did something to peak its interest ” or it can be taken as maddening, especially if it keeps happening.
While no one really knows why the do this, guides like Gregg Thomas of Battle The Beast Guide Service have figured out ways to still get these fish in the boat. It just depends on if you want to gamble.
“When a fish does that it’s usually not interested in eating; it’s just curious,” Thomas said. “You’ve intrigued it, but not enough to get it to commit. Then you have to make decision to either leave it alone and come back later or to try and get it to go right away.”
Normally, Thomas opts to leave the fish alone and come back later in the day, especially around peak feeding times like moonrise or sunset. The exception is if it’s a particularly large fish ” we all know how hard it is to just leave a giant, semi-active fish ” or if he feels there was even a chance that the fish might be more active than it let one ” it was following with a straight body, but it was only inches behind the lure. In the second scenario, Thomas will finish his pass and then make a second through the area.
“Making a second pass can be a gamble, because if the fish does eat it might nip the lure because it’s not fully active,” Thomas said. “So you might not get the best hook-up. You don’t want to burn a fish, but it also could be the only time it might feed that day.”
Regardless if he opts to come back later or make another pass, Thomas throws lures that compliment the lure that raised the fish. In other words, he throws different lures that still have some similarity to the lure that made the fish curious. If the fish was raised on a black-and-orange bucktail, he might come back with a black-and-orange twitchbait. Or he may switch from a bucktail to a spinnerbait in the same color, just for a different look and vibration. If he raised it on a natural-colored jerkbait he may stick with the same jerkbait but switch to a bright, unnatural color.
“You just have to figure out what component was missing from the lure the first time,” Thomas said. “By throwing a lure that compliments the first one, you can figure out if it was the action, profile or color that got its attention, and then you can refine it from there. Sometimes you may not get the fish to come back up by switching lures, but a lot of times you will and you’ll get it to bite.”
For more information on Gregg Thomas and Battle the Beast Guide Service, visit battlethebeast.com.
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This article originally appeared in the April/May 1994 issue of Musky Hunter. To see more classic articles like this, subscribe…
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