Fishing the Twitch Bait

Submitted by Brett Fitzgerald on January, Jan 16, 2009


Finding fish using a Count Down Lure

Finding fish on slopes and drops is easier when using a countdown twitch bait. Fishing flats that drop to ledges, holes and channel edges is the ticket any time of the year but it's excellent in cool water.

A fishing lure with a sinking rate of a foot per-second allows you to count its fall through the water column to the depth you desire to begin a twitching retrieve. This countdown method provides the accuracy needed for fishing deep flats, drop offs at channel edges, and holes.

Once the lure reaches the desired depth begin reeling and apply a sharp twitch to your rod tip to cause the bait to dart from side to side. This twitch-and-retrieve cycle followed by a countdown pause mimics a small fish in distress.

Slow steady retrieves while fishing at the same depth with a sharp twitch every 5-6 seconds is recommended. Twitching the rod tip too often will cause the line to foul the hooks, slow and steady with one sharp twitch every few seconds eliminates line/hook fouling .

These lures can also be jigged straight down in deeper water using the top eye. The count down method will let you vary lure depth easily. To shallow it up, lift the rod and make a few fast reel turns to bring the lure toward the surface.

Fishing with a twitchbait gives you command of drops and deeper environments -- best of all fish do eat the twitchbait.

Be sure to crimp your treble hook barbs (see conservation note below).

While there are many brands and lots of choices. I like the MirrOLure Series III S 51MR or the new S 38MR Series III small profile pictured in this article when fishing deeper flats and drop offs . These baits combine natural baitfish patterns, 3-D red eyes with holographic foil, rattles to attract fish, and are realistic.

try these color combos for:

Cloudy days-or low light: red head / white back & belly / silver sides with black dots

Clear water-bright sun: Chartreuse back / white belly / silver sides

Turbid or dark tannin water: Pink back / yellow belly / silver sides

When game fish are feeding on smaller baitfish, this new 3 inch 3/8 oz MirrOlure model S 38MR Sinking twitchbait is ideal. Twin line attachments provide varied diving depths. The reflective foil and its small profile create a more realistic baitfish.

Rod, Reel and Line Combos for the Flats

When spin fishing flats, a good combination is a 7' medium action rod with a spinning reel sized to give the outfit balance and a light feel. I use the Diawa 3000 reel for snook, trout and redfish in open water loaded with 15 to 20lb (equal to 6lb mono) braid, this provides all the line strength needed and coated braided line increases casting distance. Heavy mono line seems to slow the drop rate of the lure. Attaching 3 feet of 30# fluorocarbon leader will ensure stealth and up catch rate when using either braid or mono especially when fighting snook with their line gouging rough mouths. Note When targeting tarpon and big snook a heavier rod, reel and line is useful especially when fishing structure such as bridges.

Comment on this article: Have any pointers, questions, favorite lures or or other thoughts then we want to hear from you. Direct your E-mails to

Tight Lines, Rick

Conservation Note

"Long ago we passed the point where we could go fishing and head home without another thought. With more people fishing, and increasing stress on coastal environments, it’s more important than ever for anglers to pay attention to coastal conservation." Aaron Adams, Mote Marine.

Crimping barbs on all treble hooks allows easy lure removal and will ensure higher survival rates for catch and release. Crimping barbs is not a deterrent to catch success.

Handle all the fish you catch like friends, please.