Topwater action heats up

Have the dog days got you down? Are you thinking that every bass on your favorite lake is gone for the summer? Or maybe you figure they're all so deep and lethargic that you'll need Carolina rigged dynamite to dredge them up.

 Jason Quinn is a Southerner who knows a thing or two about hot weather, hot water and the summertime doldrums. He beats them in a very unconventional manner, though. Instead of going deep, "Hardware," as his fellow Elite Series pros call him, gets busy with topwater baits.

 "Bass are bass, no matter the time of year," Quinn explains. "Even on the hottest days of summer, there are still lots of fish up in a foot of water or suspended shallow off main lake points. In fact, summer can give you some of the best topwater fishing of the entire year."

 To catch summertime bass on top, Quinn's arsenal includes a bluegill pattern prop bait, a shad-colored Rapala Skitter Walk and a black buzzbait. He has a special application for each lure.

 "I work the prop bait around areas that are holding bedding bluegill," the South Carolina pro says. "Bass will feed heavily on bluegill at this time of year. If I see bluegill beds, I know I can catch bass with that prop bait."

 Quinn picks up the Skitter Walk when working main lake points. Lures like this that "walk the dog" can pull bass from great distances.

 "All summer long you can find bass suspended around main lake points," Quinn explains. "You just have to hit a few of them and make several casts to the same area to get them to come up and hit."

 The buzzbait is used to work shallow wood cover, and it's one of Quinn's favorite summer patterns.

 "The buzzbait can be great in the summer," he says. "It's a super reaction bait. I like to put the trolling motor on high and work down a bank that has lots of horizontal wood.

 "I work the buzzbait really fast," he adds. "It's totally a reaction thing. I make a lot of casts, cover lots and lots of water and expect explosive strikes. You may not get a lot of hits with the buzzbait in summer, but you'll catch some good ones."

 The 4-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier uses the same rod and reel outfit for all of his summer topwater fishing, opting for a Pflueger Summit baitcaster with a 7:1 gear ratio mounted on a 7-foot medium heavy All Star rod and spooled with 20-pound line. He uses monofilament line for the prop bait and Skitter Walk, but prefers Vicious fluorocarbon for the buzzbait.

 "I realize that fluorocarbon sinks and may seem like a strange choice for buzzbait fishing," Quinn says, "but I like the fact that it doesn't stretch as much as mono."