Catch ‘em on top this fall

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Gettys Brannon

There’s no better time to catch bass on top than right now. The water’s down, the bait’s shallow, bass are shallow and the bite’s hot. But you still have to catch them. They aren’t going to jump in the boat.

The catching part starts with the right line. I know you hear from time to time about monofilament for topwater lures, and there are even some anglers that talk about fluorocarbon. As far as I’m concerned that’s nonsense. 

Monofilament has too much stretch and fluorocarbon sinks. Both of those traits mess up topwater lure performance. It’s hard to get the right twitch or get a good hookset when most of the energy from the snap of your rod is absorbed by the line, and why do you want the nose of your lure pulled down by line that’s sinking? Topwater lures are supposed to be on top.

The line you should use — the only line you should ever use — is braid. It has no stretch and it floats. That does away with the shortcomings of the other two types of line. 

I know that the first thing I’m going to hear is that the bass can see braid, especially with baits that are slow moving or sometimes stationary. That’s also nonsense. There’s no way a bass can see line lying on top of the water when it’s looking up. It just doesn’t happen. And, I don’t care if the water’s so clear that you can see the bottom at 15 feet.

Bass are aggressive predators. They’re after a topwater lure because they want it. They’re not paying attention to anything else. I fish every topwater bait I own on braid, always and without exception.  

There’s another myth I want to discuss. Some anglers are recommending that a River2Sea Whopper Plopper — arguably the hottest topwater lure in the country right now — be fished at the speed that creates the loudest plop. That’s nonsense, too.

You fish any topwater lure, or any other lure for that matter, at the speed that produces the most bites on the day you’re fishing. No angler, regardless of how much experience he or she has, can tell you how to fish one unless they’re in the boat with you when you’re fishing. There’s no good or bad way to fish any lure unless it’s catching them (good) or not catching them (bad).

You don’t fish a buzzbait at the same speed every time out. You don’t walk a bait at the same speed every time out. You don’t fish a popper the same way every time out. Is one particular topwater lure all that different? 

When the topwater bite is on it can be very speed and action sensitive. I’ve seen days when crawling a buzzbait as slow as possible will kill ‘em, and I’ve seen days when you can’t reel one too fast. The same thing can be said of every topwater lure in my boat. I fish them different ways and at different speeds until I find what’s attracting the bass during the day and at the hour I’m fishing. After that I keep doing the same thing until it stops working.

Don’t let yourself get held back by myths and old wives’ tales. Do what works and take advantage of some spectacular bass fishing this fall. The excitement of a head shake and a tailwalk is something every angler should experience. That’s what it’s all about.