In my first blog I listed 5 specific baits to help you catch more bass in the dog days of summer here in Texas. Last week we broke down deep cranking and today we are going over topwater baits, which are my personal favorite!! I will break them down into 5 basic bait categories.
Buzzbaits- I absolutely love buzzbaits for anytime the water temp is above 68 degrees. These baits can draw up huge fish and are virtually weedless. I have 3 of my favorite buzzbaits shown here that I consistently catch fish on. These are 3 totally different baits and I use them in different situations. The Santone on the left, is a traditional buzzbait and is my go to 70% of the time, it is tough and makes a great squeaking sound and gurgle action. The Moilx has a big blade but a small body and has an awesome squeaker built on the shaft. I use this bait when I am on a lake that has typically smaller fish or a lot of fisherman are using traditional buzzbaits. The last is the Strike King Sugar Buzz. It has a swinging body and is an in-line bait that is the most weedless of the group. I throw it in heavy grass and lily pads. I use 50-70 lb braid for all of my buzzbaiting with an 7’5” IROD Fred’s Magic Stick.
Walking Baits- When people talk about walking baits, they are usually talking about a Zara Spook type bait. The walk the dog action you can create with them is my preferred technique when covering points, flats or when bass are schooling. The trick is to keep as much slack as you can in the line and still effectively work the bait. You can cast them a country mile and they flat catch fish. I like to throw big and small versions of walking baits. I either throw a 6th Sense Dogma Crush, Zara Spook or Lucky Craft Sammy. You can see from the pictures the size difference in the baits. If I am fishing Fork, Falcon, Toledo Bend or Lake O’ the Pines, I will opt for the bigger baits. If I am fishing a smaller lake that doesn’t have as many big bass, I throw the smaller versions. I throw these on either 15 or 17 lb Mono. My favorite rod to use is a 7’3” IROD Stone Cold Spook & Trap rod.
Poppers- This is the bait that got me hooked on bass fishing. I love to throw popping baits around hard cover such as stumps, boat docks and cypress trees. These baits can be worked very fast, or very slow. I always want a feather tail on my popping baits, because most strikes are when the bait is motionless. Experiment with your cadence to see what the fish like on a given day. I like to twitch this bait and let it sit motionless around hard targets to draw violent strikes from bass. My 2 favorites are the 6th Sense Splashback and Yellow Magic. I throw these baits on 15 or 17lb Mono, and use the same rod for my walking baits.
Hollow Body Baits- For fishing in heavy cover of any sort, a hollow body bait is hard to beat. When there is grass of any kind, these are my go to bait, especially in the summer when pads and hydrilla are growing. I throw a popping frog like a Spro or Booyah Pad Crasher most of the time and have started using the new Live Target Sunfish as well. These baits will get in the nastiest cover and will get you bites that no other bait will. I fish these with an erratic action and use frequent stops when the bait comes into an opening in the pads or grass mat. I throw these baits on 50-70 lb braid and use the same rod for buzzbaits.
Unique- I label these type baits in a category all their own. My favorite 2 baits like this are the River to Sea Whopper Plopper and the Lucky Craft Kelly J Pop. They are kind of a mix of prop bait and buzzbait. They can be stopped and still float unlike a buzzbait. But you can’t walk them like a Spook or Sammy. These baits have recently come onto the scene when Chris Lane got 2nd on Toledo Bend using the Whopper Plopper 130. I throw the 130 and don’t even own a 90 size. The bigger profile is what I want when I am looking for that kicker fish and it has a sound that is completely different than any other bait. I throw the Plopper on 50lb braid and the Kelly J on 15-17lb mono. I use a heavier action rod with the plopper and a medium action for the Kelly J.
One more tip, when you do get a huge explosion on your topwater bait, make sure to wait at least a second to set the hook. If you jerk as soon as the fish explodes, you will miss a lot of fish!!
I hope these tips help you this summer and be looking for my next blog on Carolina Rigging.
Story by Byron Smith