When bass fishermen snap a Heddon Zara Spook, they’re looking to impart that 180-degree whiplash swing that drives a largemouth mad. That’s not the case for inshore anglers — at least it shouldn’t be, saltwater specialist and brand ambassador Scott Larsen explained.

The angler from New Port Richey, Fla, explained that a subtle approach is the way to go when targeting the gulf’s Big Three — seatrout, redfish and snook — early in the season. “None of them respond well to an aggressive retrieve,” he said. “You’ll catch jacks and ladyfish, but few, if any, of the fish you’re looking for.”

A chartreuse Saltwater Super Spook Jr. is Larsen’s go-to bait. “Chrome and natural patterns work, too, but there’s something about chartreuse they really love,” he said. “You have to work the lure slowly, though, say 3 or 4 small twitches, then a pause followed by 2 more twitches and another pause. And the walking action must be tight; the head should swing just 2 inches or so to each side. You want it to imitate a mullet, or a wounded baitfish.”

There are two techniques he uses to achieve the proper action. “The first is very simple; anyone can do it,” the angler said. “After the cast, just hold the rodtip nearly straight up right in front of your face and twitch it softly — almost like you were wormin’ for bass.

“Most of the time, however, I prefer to keep the rodtip down. But instead of snapping it toward the water, I hold it out in front of me perpendicular to the retrieve and make subtle twitches to the side. It’s more of a natural and relaxed position, and you can fish all day without getting tired.”

Whether he’s fishing lighted docks or breakwalls for nighttime snook, mangroves for reds or potholes in the turtle grass for trout, Larsen uses fairly stout gear — a medium to medium-heavy baitcasting rig with a 30-pound braided main line and 25- to 30-pound flouro leader. And he always applies a scent attractant to the Spook Jr. “It just adds another level of appeal,” he said, “especially when the lure moves slowly like it does with this type of presentation.”

Take Larsen’s advice and think “slow and subtle” the next time you break out a Saltwater Spook for reds, snook and trout, and watch your catch rate climb.