Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Whip Useful Technique; Retrieve Works Well on Fish That Prefer Quick-Moving Baits

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Whip Useful Technique; Retrieve Works Well on Fish That Prefer Quick-Moving Baits

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob McNally

The rock band Devo likely wasn't thinking about fishing when it recorded the well-known song "Whip It." But First Coast fishermen should take the song title to heart when casting and retrieving lures (and sometimes natural baits) for a multitude of inshore species.

Who dubbed this basic, but deadly, retrieve the Florida whip is lost in the long, rich history of inshore fishing. But it's safe to assume the tactic has its roots in the Sunshine State, where the water is warm and the fish often desire a snappy retrieve. But the whip is useful to marine anglers everywhere.

The Florida whip is a simple technique with many variations and subtle nuances that can make big differences in effectiveness. Essentially, a normal cast is made, then an angler "whips" his rod to one side or the other (tip down, or level to water), retrieving quickly to keep slack line out. Then another rod "whip" is made to activate a lure, and so on. The motion is much like setting a hook hard and fast, except an angler "sets" a hook constantly through a retrieve.

A jig, spoon, tube lure, plug or other artificial retrieved this way zips through water and is a turn-on for many species, especially fish preferring quick-moving baits. Bluefish, striped bass, barracuda, mackerel, snook, sea trout, jacks, redfish and others frequently strike lures using a Florida whip while refusing other retrieves.

A whip retrieve imparts a sawtooth action to many lures, particularly jigs and spoons. During a rod whip a lure darts forward and up, but as line is retrieved prior to another whip, a lure hesitates and dives. Then another whip motion is made and a lure rises and increases speed. This frequently is an irresistible strike trigger for gamefish, especially ones following a lure.

An important key to using a whip retrieve is keeping line taut between rapid rod motions. Much of the time strikes come following a whip. If slack line is allowed between whips, fish are lost, or never are felt by an angler. Many whip fishermen develop a rhythmic cadence using the retrieve, which helps in keeping line tight between rod motions and in detecting strikes. …

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