Surface Fishing Twitch Baits - 101
What is a "twitch" bait?
First off, what is a "twitch" bait? I first heard this term from my Brother-In-Law when he saw me catching fish on one and mumbled, "I never could catch anything on those twitch baits." A twitch bait is really nothing more than a floating crankbait with a very small lip.The bait runs a few inches under the surface with a steady retrieve and returns to the surface when the retrieve is stopped. Some examples would be the original Rapala(tm), or some of the floating Yo-Zuri(tm) lures but there are many models and brands, so pick your favorite.
How do you fish it?
Now onto the important part, how to fish the bait as a "twitch" bait. This is a real simple method but it requires some imagination. The whole idea is to imitate a dying fish on the surface. You've all seen them, those fish that make a few ripples on the surface and then swim a foot or so before returning to the surface again due to exhaustion. This is no different. I fish it in different areas depending on the time of day and weather. One thing though, if its real windy out skip the small twitch bait and move to something that runs underwater or makes a bigger surface disturbance. Basically you will want to cast the bait and let it sit until the rippes settle. Be ready for a strike though, because I have had fish hit the lure when it first lands on the water. Give it a quick jerk to make it dive forward and then let it surface. Twitch it a couple of times on the surface to make it ripple but not move. Repeat and mix up this process. Sometimes I will give it two or three jerks to make it jump forward underwater. Other times I will twitch it just enough to move it forward over real shallow weeds to the next open hole. Here are the areas I concentrate on depending on the time of day.
Night to Early Morning Locations
When fishing one of these baits early in the morning I will fish shallow weed edges or flats with some kind of cover. Usually you will be seeing the tail-end of the night feeding crowd that has been out on the prowl. As the light gets brighter they will move closer to structure for ambush possibilities.
Here is where you get to test your casting skills. Move up towards the thick weeds that have open pockets. Start casting to the close pockets and work your way out. Move the boat quietly to avoid pushing the fish to other cover. If you don't cover all of a pocket on the first cast then throw back again, the fish might not move far from cover to get their meal.
Evening to Night Locations
Start moving towards the weed edges and flats again. The edges near the cover that you fished in mid-day seems to usually produce. I have fished these baits with success at night but usually move on to Jitterbugs for surface work and Texas-Rig worms for fishing structure. I will write an article soon on my experiences with night Bass fishing.