A six-pack of topwaters that doesn't fit the mold

Brent Broderick: Think Tank Triggerfish

Brent “Brody” Broderick employs the Triggerfish, a jointed, shad-shaped topwater with a propeller blade on the rear, when he wants a lure that’s “steerable” through thick cover. “I was a skeptic at first, but the way it lays on its side makes it look just like a dying baitfish.

“I throw it in places where other guys would throw a frog,” he continues. “It’s particularly good under overhanging trees where you can’t see it.” In fact, he’ll often spend most of a retrieve with the bait out of sight, waiting for a telltale splash to give away a strike. He’ll also use it around willow bushes, stickups and laydown logs — any piece of thick cover that most other anglers would flip.

“It has a pivoting head, so you can dial yourself in on directing it where to go,” Broderick adds. He’ll start with a steady retrieve, but when he wants it to shift direction, he’ll stop it momentarily, forcing the head to pivot. When he resumes his slow, steady retrieve, the lure will track in the direction that the head has turned.

Broderick fishes the lure on a Dobyns Rods topwater stick, usually with 30-pound Vicious Braid, which maximizes action and floats, thereby keeping the lure from diving. Furthermore, it allows him to winch bass out of gnarly cover. He’s done best on the silver shad and baby bass patterns, although he switches to perch when confronted with bedding smallmouth.

Clark Reehm: Deps Basirisky

It may get generically categorized as a frog, but the Basirisky is named after the Basilisk lizard. With its wobbling side-to-side action, it also
resembles a baby duck teetering across the surface. Clark Reehm thinks the hollow body and its perpendicular legs replicate the action of an old-school favorite: “It has an action like a totally weedless Jitterbug,” he says. “It’s especially great around milfoil, and unlike most other frogs that you have to work, this one is pretty much a do-nothing situation. You just reel it steadily, and it creates the action on its own.”

Most importantly, he said it’s a great change of pace when conditions are prime for a hollow-bodied frog, but the bass have seen hundreds of them.

As a result of its flush-mounted single hook, the Basirisky comes through vegetation cleanly, but it also has a remarkably good hookup percentage. It’s tail-weighted, and the body compresses upon impact to ­allow the hook to penetrate.

The Basirisky is available in 60mm and 70mm sizes, which weigh a 1/2 ounce and 3/4 ounce, respectively. Reehm keeps his color choices simple, as he does with all of his typical frog fishing — “white, black and some sort of natural shade are all you need,” he says. He fishes it on a Dobyns model 736 rod (7-feet, 3-inches; 6-power) and Seaguar Kanzen braided line. “It rolls and walks better on lighter braid, but I’ll never go less than 40,” he says. “If you’re around extremely heavy cover and big fish, you can go as high as 80.”

Outside the box

Many anglers believe there’s no more exciting way to catch bass than on top, but there is one way to improve the experience — catch a big one on a bait that nobody else on the lake has in their possession. Dial in that pattern and have the day of a lifetime while others beat the water to a froth and scratch their heads.

Originally published March 2013. To view more of Bassmaster Magazine, click here.