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On The Lake: Topwater Fishing Box How To Master Topwater Fishing Techniques

Summer is officially in full swing, and you know what that means: it’s topwater time! Topwater fishing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a specific angling technique that requires baits, lures, and tackle that float on top of the water’s surface, typically in shallow water areas. Since it floats on the surface of the water, topwater equipment mimics the movement of insects, frogs, and small baitfish that bass love to snack on during the hot summer months.

One of the very best things about topwater fishing is the way it allows you to actually SEE all the explosive action of a hooked bass. Talk about an exciting, heart-racing catch! It’s important to remember that aquatic vegetation is ultra-high during sunny summer months, and bass like to hide in the shade of grass, lily pads, and weeds to escape the sun’s blazing rays and breathe the fresh oxygen. That said, you need equipment that can stand up to all the heavy cover you encounter.

To prep you for topwater fishing season, June’s Bass XL box came equipped with all the soft plastics, hard plastics, terminal tackle, and Lucky Xtras you need to get started:

  • Whaletail Plastics – Topwater Swimbait
  • Gambler Lures – Cane Toad
  • Cold Blooded Baits – Popper
  • Big Mouth Baits – Hollow Body Frog
  • Senshi – Yawara
  • Mustad – 4/0 1ct & 4/0 Wide Gap 2ct
  • Mustad – Feathered Treble Hook
  • Lucky Xtra – Braid Line 30lbs*

*NOTE: We also recommend backing the reel with monofilament line to reduce slips!

In a new video from Scot Arganbright and Erik Thue, the two LTB anglers break down each bait from June’s box, and explain how to master the topwater fishing technique. From now on, all of our “On The Lake” videos will review products individually AND paired together, so you know exactly how to use ‘em on the water! Check out a few tips and tricks from Scot and Erik below:

1) How To Fish Heavy Cover
a. To pull fish out from heavy cover, you need a heavy-action rod and a high-speed reel. In particular, Scot likes to use a 7:1 to a 7:6 heavy-action rod, and an 8:1:1 reel, but you can decide what feels best in your hands! A heavy-action rod and high-speed reel combo lets you pick up your line really fast when the fish explodes from the water, then yank them real hard to set the hook and reel them back to the boat.

2) How To Pick A Good Spot
a. When topwater fishing, pay attention to the vegetation! Especially in a big country lake, you can have 200- to 300-yard stretches of straight lily pads. To key in on the fish hiding below, look for little differences in the aquatic terrain, such as grass sticking up through the pads. Often, those small irregularities can lead to bigger and better bites! Another good idea is to look at where lily pads come out and form a point; that may just be a bass ambush spot.

3) How To Throw & Retrieve
a. When topwater fishing with a standard walking bait, the way you throw and retrieve that bait makes all the difference! For the most natural-looking presentation, you should throw the bait through little gaps in the cover or down a point. Next, lightly pop the slack line to move the bait one way, then pop your rod tip again to move it the other way. Once you get that cadence down, you can slowly walk the bait back and forth all the way to the boat!

Alright, Lucky Tackle Box anglers! That’s it for now – did you learn anything new?! With the right tips, tricks, and techniques up your sleeve, you’ll be a master of topwater fishing in no time. All it takes is a little practice, we promise!

Next up on our list of in-depth tutorial videos are 1) Heavy Cover Fishing and 2) When To Pop Vs. When To Walk. Stay tuned for more, and tight lines on the water! Remember – nobody works harder to help you fish better :)


Topwater Fishing: Scot & Erik Video Transcription

Scot Arganbright:
Welcome back, LTB Nation. I'm Scot Arganbright.

Erik Thue:
And I'm Erik Thue.

Scot Arganbright:
And it's the middle of summer. That means it's topwater time.

Erik Thue:
It is time to start wrangling fish out of the heaviest, nastiest cover out there, and this box is set up just to do so.

Scot Arganbright:
Let's go get them.

Erik Thue:
Let's do it.

Erik Thue:
The fish are eating, guys, and this time of the year is a great time of the year to be able to start busting some of the biggest largemouth in shallow water cover. This month's box is going to be able to trigger some of the best topwater eats that I think you guys are not going to be able to forget years down the line. Let's get out there because things are just getting eaten everywhere.

Scot Arganbright:
All right, gang. We're up shallow. It's summertime. These fish are looking for any type of cover to get up underneath. They're looking for shade. That means, well, wait a second. It's frog season. It's time to throw frogs. First up in the box, we've got the Gambler Cane Toad. We're going to rig that Texas rig style, coming straight through the barb, sliding that all the way up to the top, and then you're going to come through the cane toad. Then make sure you bury that hook because we're here in heavy cover. We're buzzing this right over the top of these pads. These fish are looking for that shade.

Scot Arganbright:
Again, in our last video, we talked about power fishing. Another great bait is this cane toad to power fish. You're going to run down the bank. You're throwing this thing rapid fire. One, two, three, four, nonstop, buzzing it quickly over the pads and looking for those most active fish. When you get that bite, make sure that you give it a couple seconds and then just jack him, lean on him, hit him hard.

Erik Thue:
Next up is the Paddle Tail by Whaletail Plastics. This is a tail-thumping swim bait. We have this rigged up on that 4/0 Mustad hook in the box. You're going to be able to slide this through some of the heaviest cover, right through lily pads. Slow down that retrieval rate and allow this thing to boil across the water and catch some big fish.

Erik Thue:
Now on the flip side, we could also add a keel-weighted hook to this and fish this off some deeper areas, maybe some ledges or deep weeds and grass. This is going to be a great bait all season.

Erik Thue:
Came up and dipped. Pinned her right in the corner of the mouth. The great thing with Texas rigging, that Paddle Tail from Whaletail, you can see it just slid right up through. It gets away from the fish, and I'm able to slide it right back on down and get back to fishing. Just a little guy, but hey, we'll take it.

Scot Arganbright:
As a kid and to this day, my favorite topwater bait is the Popping Frog. So the reason that's my favorite is everybody loves a good strong explosion on topwater, correct? Right? Yeah, definitely correct. So the Popping Frog from Big Mouth Baits is what we have here in this month's box. So you're going to throw this at any type of shallow cover. Again, lay downs, pads, especially, heavy cover.

Scot Arganbright:
To get those fish out of that heavy cover and fish this frog effectively, you're going to want a heavy-action rod, and then you're looking at a high speed reel. So you can start 7:1, 7:2, all the way up to a 7:6 heavy rod, and it's a 8:1:1 reel. That allows you to pick up that line really fast when that fish explodes, get them out of that heavy cover, pull on them, yank on them quick, get them out of there and get them back to the boat.

Scot Arganbright:
All right, gang. So the difference here today, and what I want to talk about the difference is we've got on our right side here, just straight pads, regular, nothing in there, just regular pads. And a lot of the time in a lot of the country, you're going to have 200, 300 yard stretches of stray pads. The big thing that you're going to want to look for in those areas are differences. So on the left side here, we've got some grass that's sticking up through the pads, and that is where it's a little bit different. That little small irregularity can lead to more bites and more fish.

Scot Arganbright:
The other thing you're going to want to look for are points. You can see here, the pads come out and form a point. A lot of the time, that's an ambush spot for these bass to get on that point, and then when you roll that little Gambler Cane Toad through there, they're going to smash it.

Erik Thue:
We have the Popper by Cold Blooded Baits. This is a great topwater bait that you're going to be able to really slow down your presentation. We added that Mustad number six feather hook that's in your box this month. This is going to give it a little bit of hang time down there. So when you do pause, this is still attracting fish at all times.

Erik Thue:
We can work this in open water, with weed beds surrounding, with also hidey-holes, if you would, in the lily pads. You small mouth boys in the North, this is a great one to be chugging along those shell rock piles for big small jaws.

Scot Arganbright:
Next up, we've got the Senshi Yawara. This is your standard walking bait. However, we've added a Mustad feather hook to that bait to add a little bit more bait fish imitation, add a little bit more flash. What you're going to do with this bait is you're going to throw this through the little gaps in the cover, down a point, and you're going to walk that bait back to the boat.

Scot Arganbright:
What you do there is you take your line and you're going to pop that slack line really lightly. Get the bait moving one way, pop your rod tip again and get it moving back the other. Once you get that cadence down, you can walk that bait back and forth all the way back to the boat. When you get a bite on this bait, you can set the hook right away, pull into that fish. They're just treble hooks, so you can pull into them pretty softly and then bring that fish on back to the boat.

Scot Arganbright:
All right, we've got to wrap this up here. We're absolutely smashing them right now.

Erik Thue:
Let's not to forget about that Lucky Xtra? This is going to be a 30-pound braided line. There's 75 yards there. You're going to want to back your reel with some monofilament. That's going to allow for no slipping. We don't want anyone slipping up. Get out there and get in that heavy cover. Smash some huge fish with this, guys.

Scot Arganbright:
Stay tuned. We've got two videos coming up soon here, heavy cover fishing and then when to walk and when to pop.

Erik Thue:
Don't forget, ring that bell, subscribe, comment, question. If you have any questions, comment below. We'd be glad to help out and answer them as best we can. We'll see you guys on the water next time.

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