The Art of the Dropback - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:21 PM   #1
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Default The Art of the Dropback

I am sitting here in the library and am doing everything possible to avoid studying so I decided to type this up, as I have had a few people ask me about it as of late.

First off-if you think you can sit and drink beer all day or sit inside your salon (for those fishing battlewagons) and watch satellite tv all day and let the boat catch fish, you're just wrong. Will you hook some fish? Absolutely. Will you hook as many as if you were attentive out in the cockpit? Absolutely not. That being said, to truly understand the way marlin feed, takea drive over to the Guy Harvey art gallery at the wharf in Orange Beach and watch some of the videos they have up playing. If a guy named Bob asks youif you need help, just tell him Woody sent you.It is mostly underwater footage of marlin feeding and is some pretty spectacular footage, not to mention educational. When a school of sails or whites (who typically school in larger numbers than blues) work a school ofbait into what is called a bait ball, they will each take "turns" swimming into the bait ball and slashing their bills through the school. Injured baitfish will fall away from the rest of the pack. The predators then will come back and scoop them up quite easily.

Now, take that concept and apply it to your trolling spread. First off, when trolling, ALWAYS have your clickers on. Not only to indicate strikes, but for faciliating drop backs as it is a tension controlled freespool. Oftentimes a white (or really any fish) will knock a bait out of your outrigger clip but not find the hooks. Take that scenario I just illustrated for you and imagine what it would look like in your spread. The rest of your spread (think school of baitfish-which is what you want your spread to ultimately resemble) continues to jet forward as you drop that bait back that got knocked out of the clip. To the predator, this resembles an injured bait fish, and becomes easy pickings. This is most often done with natural baits, but if you think it doesn't apply to lures you are mad. We had a day this summer we were trolling on a nice weedline and a very determined dolphin (ended up weighing 38 pounds. Not huge, but nice gaffer fish) kept coming in our right flat and attacking the lure from the side. Three times he would eat it, but the hooks just weren't catching. Each time the hooks would pull, I would drop the lure back three to five seconds, slide the lever up to strike and wind. On the fourth or fifth time, the hooks finally found home, and we were hooked up. Some might say "oh but lures will sink if you put them in freespool" Well, what do you think an mortally injured baitfish does, ultimately?

Watch what the fish is doing as soon as you feed him. Upon picking the bait up, you will notice line peeling off the reel faster than it originally was. Resist your urge to immediately push the lever to strike. I have waited up to a seven or ten count depending on the fish. Again, watch some of those underwater videos of pelagics eating. Almost 100% of the time, for a bait to properly slide down the fish's gullet, it needs to be going head first. Now, to avoid competition from other predators, a tuna or marlin will graba baitfish, swim away from its school with the bait crossways in its mouth, and then flip the bait around so that it goes down head first. This enables the pectoral, dorsal, pelvic fins of the baitfish to slide against the bait's body and not become lodged in the tuna's mouth.

I hope all this makes sense. If not, feel free to PM me and I will try to explain further. Now, back to being academically productive

P.S. Please keep the BS off of this thread or I will have it deleted.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:08 PM   #2
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

Awesome thread. I really like the analogy of the drop back resembling a dead casualty drifting away from a bait ball. I can see it.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:15 PM   #3
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

Thank you for the kind words. I enjoy reading your posts.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:28 PM   #4
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

good stuff.makes perfect sense if you think about it. in nature, the weak always get singled out and slaughtered.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

Seen it/done itplenty of times. Always boils my gizzard!!!
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:22 PM   #6
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

Nice read Woody. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to get out of grading a stack of papers. :banghead

Your analogy was a nice break.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:39 PM   #7
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

only makes perfect sence, I haven't seen it as much as I would like!
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:07 PM   #8
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

Never had much experience with marlin (except for lever-action deer killers) but sounds logical. Have had a few mahi miss the hooks, then hook up solid when we slow the boat. Same concept?
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:29 AM   #9
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

One of the most nerve rattling and exciting parts of blue-water fishing is the drop back. In our parts, a bad drop back can blow the only shot at a bill for the day so its even more critical to pay attention and do it right. We don't get 80 shots at bills a day so each one counts that much more.

That being said, when it comes to white marlin, I hate those little bastards some days.
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Old 10-29-2009, 08:26 AM   #10
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Default RE: The Art of the Dropback

What is the best method to drop back? Do you leave the rod in the rod holder, or do you pick up the rod and point the tip straight at the fish? I have been told to do both by different people I have fished with. What method has more success?
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