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Reaction bite

Reaction Bite: How To Get A Fish To Bite When They Are Not Feeding

How To Get A Reaction Bite.....

My last fishing trip has inspired me to write a blog on how to make fish feed when they are not hungry.  Most people assume that fish will eat whenever food is placed in front of them. This is not true at all.  When fishing specific areas that you know hold fish year round you expect to catch fish.  But what if your fishing and don't get a single bite?  Anglers must be able to change an aspect of their fishing strategy to catch fish. 


Redfish not Feeding

Lure Infront Of Redfish (Photo Credit: Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine)


During the spawn, bass will sometimes not eat because they are protecting their bed or they are so caught up in spawning that that won't eat.  Other times the fish has just eaten and therefore is not hungry.  How do you catch fish in this scenario?  During the spawn sometimes you can annoy the fish into biting.  For example, taking a lizard and laying it on the bass bed.  The Largemouth Bass will almost always pick up the lizard and move it off of its bed or even eat it in an attempt to save its roe.  You can also try a flashy slow moving or fast moving lure to get a reaction bite out of the bass.  


Bass Strike

Bass Strike When Provoked (Photo Credit: Bass Angler Magazine)


Reaction bites occur when the fish is not hungry, but it allows for the predatory instincts to take over.  For example, have you ever cut the head off of a rattlesnake only to have its mouth keep opening and closing when you flash something in front of the snake's eyes?  This is very similar to getting a reaction bite out of a fish.  If something darts in front of the fishes face it will eat it not knowing what it is or even having time to think.  This is known as a reaction bite and can be obtained in several different ways.


Sea Trout

Sea Trout On Grass Flat (Photo Credit: Jay Fleming)


How Do You Provoke a Reaction Bite?


When fishing for Sea Trout in Florida, I key in on the reaction bite from these fish.  I will work a Mirrolure or fluke on a jig head in areas where I know trout are located.  I will start by making several different retrieves with varying speed, depth, and rod tip action.  Sometimes the fish want multiple little jerks consecutively, or the fish want to be spaced out aggressive jerks with the lure.  Eventually, I find the retrieve that the fish want that day/time of day.  Every once and a while ill even find days that the trout will only feed on fast, steady retrieves.  Some days they like a deep rattle bait, sometimes a high pitch rattle bait, suspending, sinking, floating, flash, dark or light colors ect.  Try varying lures until you find what works then stick with it.  Every day on the ocean is different with changing pressures, light, and temperature.  When you find a pattern of a lure, stick with it and remember the conditions. 


Anglers, next time you're wondering why the fish are not biting try something different.  You never know what will work that day.  Slow, steady retrieve, twitch retrieve, different colors.  Anything you can do to get that reaction or aggression bite from a fish. We would love to hear from you. Do you have any questions or tips we should have covered? Leave a comment below or email us at Send us all your fishing pictures to be featured on our social media page.We hope this article helps you think as to what is happening when fish are not biting. When this happens try to provoke a reaction bite no matter if you are saltwater fishing or freshwater fishing.

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