Written by Andrew Schadegg
Topwater is super fun!
If you’ve ever caught a fish on the surface, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s exciting and explosive. It gets your heart racing more than any other technique in fishing, so learning how to do it better is on every anglers’ list.
Since we all want to get better at it, here are 7 quick tips on how to improve everyone’s favorite way to fish!
1. Let it Sit – Poppers, walking baits, frogs or any topwater you can work fast or slow deserves a couple of extra seconds sitting on the water after you cast it out. The old adage of “let the rings dissipate” after casting is true. Many times you’ll get hit before you move it.
2. Work it Quick – Just like with many subsurface bait, cadence is key to topwater fishing. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and work the bait the same way every time. Try smoking that sucker across the water, way faster than you normally would. You’d be surprised how often you get slammed.
3. Find the Pockets – A lot of us love to blast a topwater as far as we can chuck it to cover the maximum amount of water. This isn’t always the best way to fish them. Try short, targeted casts. Under docks, beneath tree limbs or any place you might think to “flip” a bait normally.
4. Wait…Then Set the Hook – This is the hardest thing to do when that 7 pound slaunch-donkey comes barreling out of the weeds to destroy your Spook. You gotta wait before ripping on him. Give him a chance to come down with the bait and dive under the water, then set the hook.
5. Change out Your Hooks – This is true of all your reaction baits, but after you’ve lost a double-digit at the boat because he bent out all your stock treble hooks (which happened to me), you’ll switch them out quick. Get some sturdy ones, like Mustad Triple Grips, and start swapping. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.
6. Switch Up Baits – Just because they stopped blowing up your buzzbait, doesn’t mean the topwater bite is over. A lot of times I’ll work a Plopper or buzzbait in the morning and then switch to a popper, walking bait or frog during the day. They may still be looking up, but just want something slower.
7. Keep Trying – A lot of new anglers are intimidated by topwater fishing. Don’t be discouraged because you miss a few fish… (and you will). It might be a timing issue or maybe you don’t have the right rod, but don’t stop working on it and learning the technique. It will pay off, big time!