We are not talking about skipping work, (even though that may sound good), but a casting presentation of skipping your lure out over the water. With the hot summer weather we find many Bass and other fish will seek out areas near shore with overhanging trees, docks or other object that create a shaded area. These fish are for the most part unreachable by most anglers using overhand casting. But you can drop a lure right on them in their strike zone by skipping a weightless soft plastic fluke stickbait, wacky worms or some tube baits.
We have recently been asked what this is all about and since I have mentioned this casting technique and have been using it the past few weeks, I felt it was time we write about it. Skipping is a great way to reach those spots where few anglers fish or spots that just get ignored because they are so hard to reach. By skipping we mean just that, skipping or flicking a lure along the surface or water, between small gaps in trees or brush, overhanging trees, under docks or piers and over weedbeds. One impressive skip we saw was under a rope and the lower unit of an outboard on a big pontoon boat. All these spots hold fish that do not see many lures and skipping is the only way you can reach them.
This skip cast will take some time and practice to master, along with some concentration to consistently place the bait where you want it. We have found there to be a wide variation in preference concerning skipping gear. You do not and will not need a long rod like in flipping. We find a 6 foot rod with spinning gear to work best for getting the smaller lures further back under overhanging brush with little worry. In fact you may find a shorter rod much easier to learn and maintain some accuracy. Baitcasting gear is very difficult to use and will give you backlashes along with a shorter skipping distance.
As for line, 8 - 10 pound test seems to work well for us and heavier lines would depend on how thick the cover is your fishing. I have tried some braid lines but found the limpness made it harder to finesse a lure back over a tree branch or ropes without wrapping around the object, however, FireLine does work OK for us. Picking a lure or shape of lure is like picking the right shape of rock to skip (some shapes are just better). You will find the more streamline soft-jerkbaits with some buoyancy to work well along with some tube type baits. Some we have success with are Flukes, Senkos, spoons, tubes and sometimes a pegged Texas rigged worm. We have a friend who is an awesome skip caster that uses a banjo minnow with spin casting gear..? It is amazing to see.
OK, how do you do this skipping? Skipping a lure is just like skipping a rock, backcast just like winding up for a sidearm pitch or a sideways swing. Bringing the rod forward in a fast-pitch or power swing way and releasing the line so the lure starts skipping out in front of you so it hits the water about halfway to your target and stopping at the target. The key is to release when lure is at maximum speed and parallel just above the water. As you flick the lure out across water it mimics startled baitfish leaping out of the water which attracts the attention of bass in the area. Many strikes come as the lure stops skipping as it runs out of gas and settles in the water, so be prepared to set the hook. If you get no bites, just let the lure settle to the bottom while keeping the line tight, then wiggle it some and work it back. Make sure to try from all angles of a dock or other areas before you move on.
One other technique is as it stops and just before it settles, retrieve it back a few feet fast across the water, than let it settle. Bites can happen fast since this skipping will stimulate a reaction strike, so be ready. One other thing to watch or be prepared for is the fish to grab your lure and head for deeper water swimming right at you which means you will have to reel like crazy.
As you can see, this takes practice and time to find a comfortable method of skipping the lure out that best works for you. I have at times used both hands on the rod and if the cast is short, keep rod tip close to the water and use a quick snap of the rod tip. Some precautions are to be careful around ropes which snag easily. If this happens, clip your line not the rope. If around pontoons, do not use exposed lead which can blast into the hollow aluminum. Or better yet, do not fish around personal property that could be damaged.
People wonder why we Fish, well here is another aspect of learning a new skill that makes fishing fun and challenging. So Practice, Practice, Practice until you can add this highly effective technique to your bag of tricks for catching fish.
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Till Next Time, Enjoy Your Summer, GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !