Written by Andrew Schadegg

It may be the hottest time of the year, but it can also be the most exciting if you know some of the secrets to summer topwater fishing.

When you’re looking for those big surface explosions, keep these 4 tips in mind and you’ll get more bites and land more fish.

1. Target the Shadows
This is a major key to topwater fishing in the summer. The heat of the summer has bass looking for the coolest water they can find. Of course, low-light hours are always primetime for topwater, but it doesn’t have to end when the sun comes up. Go after those spaces under over-hanging trees, next to bushes, matted grass or under docks. Follow the shadows throughout the day and you can keep that surface bite going.

2. Watch for Schooling Fish
In the summertime, keeping a spook or popper on your deck is a really good idea to take advantage of those times when a topwater opportunity might arise. Keep your eye out for baitfish schools flipping on the surface and toss your bait nearby, especially if you see bass busting the surface on those schools. This can put multiple summer fish in the boat, really quickly.

3. Mix Up Your Presentation
Just like a golfer has different clubs for different applications, an angler uses different lures depending on any number of factors. Throughout the day, it’s important to adjust your topwater baits for various situations. Frogs, rats or other hollow body baits for heavy grass, weeds and slop. Buzzbaits for weedlines, poppers for docks or walking baits for open water. Let the fish tell you what they want and make adjustments to your cadence, how long you pause or your lure itself if the conditions call for it.

4. Hold on a Second
In the midst of a giant topwater blowup, one of the hardest things for an angler to do is wait to set the hook. For newbies, this is even harder. However, it is really important to wait until you feel the fish turn on the bait and then rip on them. Many times, bass will miss the bait. They’ll come up and hit behind it or just knock it in the air. If you let it sit still for a couple seconds, many times one small twitch and they’ll destroy it again. With a moving bait, just keep that steady retrieve and you have a chance that they’ll come back at it.