Breaking down topwater fishing


James Overstreet

Topwater lures play a more prominent role in serious bass fishing than a lot of anglers think. There are good reasons for that, too. Bass will bust a topwater bait anytime the water temperature is above 50 degrees and when it starts pushing 60 degrees they really come into their own.

I think there are a couple of reasons for that. To begin with, the water’s surface provides a backstop for an attack. Bass can trap their prey against it. They can’t get away. Bass seem to know this by instinct.

Another thing is that there’s a lot of food on the surface. Mayflies, insects, frogs, snakes and mice all swim on top or, in some cases, fall in and can’t get out without a struggle. Either way it’s an easy meal for a hungry bass. And, one of their staples, shad, spawn along surface structure and cover, which puts them into easy range as well.

Like I said above, topwater baits are good anytime the water temperature’s right but they’re especially effective on postspawn females. That means they’re especially effective right now.

I have two favorite postspawn topwater lures in June. My first is a big walking bait. I like something around 110 to 120 mm. That’s about the size of a Super Spook. I make long casts and bring it back with a steady, even walking action. A regular cadence back-and-forth is a must. Bass just don’t seem to be able to resist that.

If the water’s shallow and has some color to it, I’ll throw a SPRO Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog 65. I can’t tell you how many bass I’ve caught on one of those things. They really get it done in shallow, dirty water.  

Braid — Sunline BX2 — is the best line I’ve found for either one of these lures. I want something smooth so that it helps enhance the action of my lure rather than impedes it. BX2 is silicone coated. It glides through the water like silk. I use 35-pound-test on the walking bait and 65-pound-test on my frog. 

Besides walking sticks and frogs there are two other lures I want to mention. They’re both hot right now. I don’t have much experience with either of them so I can’t give you any tips on how to fish them. I can say, however, that the Bassmaster Elite Series guys are throwing them, and they don’t fish with anything unless it catches quality bass. 

The first is a Spro BBZ-1 Rat. They come in three sizes. The biggest one has a body that’s 5.25 inches long and with the tail it’s 10 inches long. They tell me it really brings up the giants. The other is a River2Sea Whopper Plopper. It also comes in three sizes. The 130 size is 5 inches long and is developing a reputation as a big bass bait. I can say I’ve caught a number of fish on the Whopper Plopper, but I’m really just learning it.

Don’t think about topwater only in the spring and fall, and don’t think about it as an early morning or late evening lure. It’s good anytime the water temperature’s right, and does it get any better than a topwater explosion followed by a couple of tailwalks?