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Catching suspended fish can be extremely frustrating. Normal shore casting tactics don't hold up well under these conditions. To make matters worse, suspended fish are usually in a neutral or negative mood. Here are some tricks to help put some of those fish into the boat.

1:Depending how far off the bottom the fish are holding, anglers can use a Carolina or Lindy Rig to take fish. This first option is usually reserved for fish holding 1-4 feet off the bottom but depends on actual water depth. Deeper depths than 20 feet call for different tactics.

2:Vertical Jigging is usually an anglers number one choice for catching suspended fish in deeper water, but it may not always be the best choice in certain situations. Vertical jigging often employs heavy slab jigging spoons or heavier jigs tipped with livebait. Personally, I like to reserve this option for last and exhaust my other options first.

3: Heavy Jigging calls for heavy jigs obviously, but instead of a vertical approach the jigs are cast out and allowed to sink to a desired depth level and retrieved slowly using the countdown method to achieve proper and precise depth control. Consider adding livebait or a grub trailer to increase both appearance and overall body size, but remember that adding will affect the fall rate of the jig.

4:Slip bobber tactics. A shallower and slower approach to negative or neutral fish. Best used with livebait but I have seen certain circumstances where jigs were used instead of livebait and impressive catches were made. Primarily used when fish are suspended 1-8 feet below the waters surface.

5:Rattleslabbin: A relatively unheard of technique using rattlebaits instead of jigging spoons to fish for suspended fish. I heard of this back in my Army days when I spend some time in the southern states. A two tiered approach involving casting the rattlebait in, letting it sink to a desired depth level, retreiving it in slowly until it is beneath the boat and then jigging it with strong upward sweeps for about a minute before reeling it all the way in to try again. The strong upward sweeps of the rod really get those rattles hummin and can produce some violent strikes. A multi-species tactic.

6:Double jumpin: Another older technique that never really caught on here in the state. using a standard jighead and a reaper style plastic body, and angler casts to the general area of the suspended fish and allows the bait to sink to the count of three. At the count of three, the angler does a double twitch with his rod to produce an erratic action. The jig and reaper actually jumps twice in two different directions. After the double twitch, the angler lets the presentation sink another count of three and then doubles twitches again and so on until the lure strikes the bottom. This technique works best when used as a horizontal casting approach rather than a vertical approach. One of my favorite retrieves for suspended white bass. Deadly.
Never be afraid to experiment when fishing suspended fish. Often acts of frustration can lead to success and a greater awareness of fish catching techniques. Lets face it. The greater your technical knowledge is of fishing, the better your chances are of keeping yourself in fish the majority of time on the water.

Until next time
keep those lines wet 

Daniel C. Nielsen


Copyright 2000 
Reprinted with permission

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