Dead sticking is when you are doing nothing with your lure or bait. Basically, you have your bait out there and it’s not moving. Most anglers don’t just cast artificial lures out there and leave them without moving them. When using the dead sticking technique, there is usually a twitch involved somewhere to make the bait look alive, then the angler will kill it (stop moving it) and see if a fish picks it up.
Dead sticking is common with saltwater and freshwater fishing. In freshwater, the soft plastic worms, creature baits and lizards are best if they are loaded with scent or if they float just off the bottom. With minnow baits, the more realistic they look, the better chance they have of getting bit. Some of the saltwater baits have enough scent added that you can usually get plenty of bites without doing anything with the bait. Just cast it out and hold it. One of the most common way to use the dead sticking technique is with topwater lures. A twich followed by a long pause up to 30 seconds or so will usually result in some extremely big fish exploding on the surface to eat your lure. It’s common for bass, pike and many saltwater species of fish too.
The reason why dead sticking works well is that there are good amounts of fish that aren’t in an aggressive mood, but when tempted with a good looking bait for long enough, a lot of fish will actually eat the bait. By keeping the bait in the strike zone longer, it gives fish that aren’t in an aggressive mood a chance to eat the bait.
The problem with dead sticking is that you’re not going to cover much water, which may result in less fish overall on the day. Pick your spots and times for dead sticking and it can be a nice way to catch a few more quality fish.