My chatterbait vibrates erratically, then stops with a thump. I set the hook hard, but the lure comes loose—I missed the fish. The reaction lure’s noisy ruse may be ruined, but all is not lost with the right follow-up.
Not deterred, I lean down and turn on my GoPro, telling the lens, “I’m going to follow up with a Z-Man StreakZ XL.” That’s right, I’m calling my shot. I switch to the soft plastic rod, cast to the same spot, jig, jig and whammo!
Hungry Fish are Fooled by a Follow‑Up Lure
The follow-up lure technique is mainly used when fishing a reaction lure such as a spinnerbait, chatterbait, buzzbait or crankbait when the noise, color and vibration elicits a violent strike. Sometimes the fish hits so hard it misses the hook.
Fish are like people: some folks can do flips across a balance beam while others trip when walking down the sidewalk. I imagine the fish stunned its prey and will be looking for an injured victim.
The first response is to throw the same lure back to the same area, but the fish may not be fooled twice. When I know my adversary is lurking, but fear it may be wise to my ways, I switch up to my backup plan. Follow these steps to choose and use a follow-up lure.
Tips on Fishing with a Follow-Up Lure
1 Be Prepared
Tie on the follow-up lure before you leave the launch. Match the color and size to your reaction lure.
Keep Your Follow-Up Handy
Keep the follow-up rod in easy reach. I keep it in the same rod holder all day. I can grab it without looking.
No matter how hard the fish hit, don’t make another cast with the reaction lure. It ruins the ruse.
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Land the follow-up lure close to the original strike.
Put on a Show
Let the lure die. Keep enough tension to feel the bite. Use the rod tip to twitch the lure. Let it swirl in place.
Capitalize on Strike Two
As soon as you feel the fish, set the hook hard. You won’t get a third chance, so make it count!
Didn’t hook up on the initial reaction? Try fishing a follow-up lure. | Feature photo: Brooks Beatty