How many different ways can you work a lure ?

I was writing a feature for Sea Angler magazine yesterday, principally about the simple art of cranking bass lures across shallow ground - just about the easiest and arguably most effective way to go lure fishing for bass. But then I got thinking about all these different kinds of retrieves and "twitchy" ways you can fish various hard and soft lures. I feel that a whole new world is opening up to so many of us, and the more I learn, the more I am realising just how little I actually know. It gives me a huge buzz. Nothing to do with size or numbers of fish, more the fact that bass fishing is such an involving way of life and fishing that keeps my brain so occupied.

In the photo above, my mate Andy is casting and retrieving a shallow-diving minnow (jerkbait) type bass lure - we were out last weekend for a few hours, and beautiful though it was, conditions were a bit bright for my liking. Going to keep at it though, and Nathan lost a nice fish at his feet (have to mention Ben's mighty mullet that was around the size of his lure). For all I hear and talk about different ways to retrieve lures, there is nothing wrong with simply cranking various lures back in. The key though is to be able to vary things to find the feeding fish.

Take the lure that I said the other day was my best bass lure of 2009 - the MegaBass Zonk Gataride 120. This thing can kill by doing no more than casting it out and winding it back at a medium to fast kind of pace, indeed the lure loves being worked like this. But there is just so much more that can be done with a jerkbait/minnow type lure (note the name "jerkbait"), and while a lot of it comes down to skill on the angler's part, more than we give it credit for is down to confidence. Having the confidence to do something different when you know that simply winding your lure straight in has caught for you before. Change can be a good thing.

The eternal question - might a different way work better today ? How about winding the Gataride back in really slowly so it rolls very gently from side to side ? How about a mix of straight wind with the odd twitch ? How about twitch, twitch (jerkbait) all the way in ? Or what about jerking it hard and then letting it do nothing more than slowly float back to the surface ? Leave it for a few seconds, and then do the same thing. Jerk it, let it float back up. How about holding the rod tip up, winding real slow, and making the lure roll from side to side just below the top ? I am not even scratching the surface here.........

Bear with me on this one, for I am sure many of you out there are applying a whole lot more skill to your lure fishing than I am. But one of the wonderful things about this form of fishing is the way in which anglers are so keen and willing to share information that furthers the sport. Look at all the different bass anglers I fish and photograph with - French, Cornish, English, Welsh, Irish, Channel Islanders, etc. An awesome bunch of people who are really on the ball and moving this fishing forward in leaps and bounds. A part of me wishes I could jump forward to this time next year to find out how much more I have learnt.............