When, where and how to throw which topwater
Written by Andrew Schadegg
The Jenko Fishing Flea Bag 110 walking bait was one of the killer topwater lures included in the July LTB Bass Box. Walking baits are a slender, cigar-shaped, floating plug that cast a mile and with the right rod technique, can shimmy back-and-forth across the water and present an enticing meal for a passing bass.
When: Year-round, but fantastic early spring through the late fall. Really effective in the summer early in the morning or evening, cloudy days, or when you see schooling fish.
Where: Open water. Work it over the top of submerged grass beds, next to docks, along structure or anywhere you see balls of baitfish flickering or fish busting the surface.
How: Cast the bait out with 15-20 pound monofilament or 50-65 pound braided line. Leave some slack in your line, before giving your rod small pops or jerks to allow the bait to walk back and forth across the water. Vary your cadence, pausing for intermittent periods of time.
Keeping your bait in the strike zone can be difficult with topwater techniques, but that’s where popping style topwater lures shine. With a cupped mouth and profile that tends to be smaller, it is the perfect choice for mimicking small baitfish flickering on the surface. The July LTB Bass XL subscribers got the Castaic BD Series Popper as well as the soft bodied Z-Man Pop ShadZ, that was in all Bass boxes this month.
When: Spring through fall. They excel during long, hot summer days when bass don’t want to chase bait as far.
Where: Open water. When bass are missing moving topwater baits or you need a slower presentation. Shade pockets, under docks or overhanging trees. Excellent around schooling baitfish.
How: Use 12-15 pound monofilament or 30-50 pound braided line. Give the bait small, downward “pops” with your rod tip. Mix up the pauses and speed of retrieve.
HOLLOW BODY BAITS
This category includes everything from frogs, rats, hollow body bluegill or sunfish, and products like the innovative Flip In The Bird which was included in the July Bass XL Box. Bass are opportunistic feeders, so anything that falls out of a tree or scurries off the shoreline is immediately on the menu for a waiting lunker.
When: Spring through fall, but a fantastic summertime bait.
Where: Weed canopies, heavy cover and along shade pockets or edges. Anywhere near an ambush point.
How: Heavy 65-80 pound braided line and a stout rod with a fast tip. Getting bass hooked and pulled out of the cover is the key to this technique. Work it right over the top of the thick stuff, walking it back and forth. When a bass sucks it down, pause just a second to allow the fish to turn and get it fully in her mouth before a sharp, solid hookset.
As far as action goes, fast-moving topwater baits take the cake. There is nothing more exciting than running a buzzbait over the surface just after daybreak and seeing a massive explosion as a bass brings it down. July LTB Bass subscribers got two fantastic moving topwater baits, including the Evolution Baits GrassBurner and the Bruiser Baits Kickin’ Frog.
When: Year-round. Excels in spring through fall.
Where: Along weed lines, sparse tules/reeds, along structure and docks, riprap and shade pockets.
How: Throw on 17-20 pound monofilament or 50-65 pound braided line. Typically a medium heavy rod, similar to what you would throw a spinnerbait with is a good choice. A steady retrieve is normally the best bet and make sure to let them take the bait completely underwater before setting the hook.