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I've decided to throw crankbaits more this year and I've been fishing more clear water streams this got me to thinking about fish following up lures. Feel free to jump in with any thoughts here. Here are some observations and ideas. I've used the muskie " figure 8 on smallmouths and got it to work". One thing about catching follow up fish is that you have to be looking for them. I see more of them when I'm paying attention. A good hat with sunglasses helps too, as does clear water. A break in speed seems to work some times. If you pause they grab it. Sometimes just casting again at a slower speed helps on cranks. With jigs sometimes reeling in quickly to make another cast you see a fish following. I usually take this to mean I need to increase my retrieve speed or put on a faster lure like a crankbait or spinnerbait. This is off subject but if the fish are hitting the lure when as soon as it lands it might not hurt to try a topwater bait. People always say let the fish tell you what they want this might be what they mean.

Where do follow up fish go? They don't always swim back to where they were. Sometimes they hang out right next to you especially if there is some cover like wood or big rocks. If you're in a boat they'll hang under the boat. If you're standing in the middle of the river they'll hang in the eddy you've created. Always check the eddie you're making I have to remember that.

Trying different lures seems to help. If you've caught a few fish and a few followed in going to a different lure seems to catch a few more. Does changing color help get a few more bites? I'll have to try that.

How about multiple fish following up? Usually you have a small fish on and a big one is trailing behind. But sometimes you get a big one with a whole bunch of big ones following. When this happens it's nice to have some one along to catch the follow up fish. When you get it to work it's pretty cool. Either way it helps your confidence in a spot to see all those fish.

Paying attention being ready for the last minute strike is where I struggle I'm trying to work the lure more with the rod the last few feet of the cast. One way to make up for all these missed fish is to fish good water, get lots of bites and stay out forever. These are the fun details to work out.


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You're right on about pausing and letting the fish take it if it is following. Several years back, I had a brown spot following my Spit-n-Image. I stopped it- bam. 18" smallie. Gotta get back to Sturgeon Bay one of these days. Good fishing

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All good thoughts Phil! Speed up, pause, or use a more realistic color in clear water. Who knows unless you try. I think the point you are making is to not fish like a robot. Observing surrounding is constantly giving clues on what to throw and how. That's a very good one.



Baits like chatterbaits and buzzbaits- I throw them early on to see if fish are repelled or attracted. Seems like the Googs and suckers flee I should throw something else quieter. If the small fish chase, I know those baits are going to be a winner for the day.


All depends on being able to see into the water.

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The May Bassmaster mag has a couple interesting articles regarding bass and their relationship with spawning bluegills and shad (2 separate articles).

Ever bring a lure back to you and notice all those little fish following it?

There are ususally big bass following behind them.

Crankbaits that mimic shad right now are hot- no reason to get fancy with the chartreuse and all that.

White bottom, and the bass are looking up anyway.

Same with spinnerbaits.

White skirt, willow leaf blade.

Screams shad on the run.


Topwaters- same thing.


Remember when all those bluegills were chomping at the bit to get at the bass eggs?

Redemption time for Mr. Bass is right now.

You may think they are spawning side-by-side with the gills, but it usually isn't the case.

They are ready for payback, baby.

Easy pickin's.

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If there are two or three guys present and you notice following fish, have them toss in before you land your fish. Always try to keep one fish in the water at all times. When I was guiding we once got 7 bass doing this before it quit.


I think the bigger fish are hoping for an easy meal dropping from the mouth of the first fish as it seems to struggle with that meal. Not being able to ask them I don't know for sure but's it seems as good an idea as any other I could think of.


Changing speed and/or direction has long been a way to get a fish to commit, hence the effectiveness of banging lures off boulders, trees, the bottom , etc. One long standing theory is that the fish sense that a potential meal is escaping and make the effort to prevent that from happening.



The point about the following fish not always returning to the spot where you initially caught the fish is a good one. How often do we endeavour to place our next cast as close as possible to where we just caught a fish? It may well be better to resist that urge and fish much closer to where we landed the fish instead.


I'm not one that puts much stock in color but making a change in what we are using may prolong a bite or get following fish to commit. I would be more inclined to change the profile, vibration, flash pattern than the color of a crankbait and then proceed to different lure types. If a crankbait was the intial "hot" bait I would think that working down the activity scale would be best from something agressive like a spinnerbait down to non agressive like a slider/tube combo. If the intial bait was something on the bottom of the activity scale than switching progessively up to a crank or topwater would be the logical move.


If the fish are hitting a lure as soon as it hits the water than I would consider that a cue that something fished agressively in the upper part of the water column is appropriate. If the fish are really smacking a jig/plastic hard on the bottom that could also be a cue that a crankbait fished on the bottom may be a better choice.

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