I have yet to meet a bass angler that doesn’t love the sight and sound of a largemouth bass engulfing a topwater lure. It is like watching a great white shark crush a seal during shark week. It just does something to us seeing the fish get tricked into thinking it was a crippled baitfish that he was coming to maul on the surface. Now that the spawn is almost over and bass are creeping into the post spawn, things like guarding fry and feeding on spawning shad are what the bass are thinking about.
There is a lot more to consistently catching bass on top than meets the eye. I will dive into the where, when and how’s of topwater fishing and what has been successful for me.
- Shallow spawning flats are always a red hot area to start your search for topwater bites. Try to locate ditches or drains leading into these flats that will have more bass coming and going.
- Isolated Cover.If you are on a bank that has one boat dock with the next dock over ½ mile away, this dock is usually a magnet for bass. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cypress tree, dock, mesquite bush, or boulder all of these are great when you can find them isolated from the others.
- Bream Beds.Now that the spawn is winding down, bass will be leaving the beds and bream will be taking their place on lots of them. Fish the outer edges of the beds you can see clearly and fish the beds you can barely see as well.
Once the water temps creep up into the mid 60’s to low 70’s, you know it is time to start throwing a topwater bait. I have caught a lot of bass on top wen the water was in the low 50’s too. These are just the optimum time when the bass’s metabolism is in high gear and ready to feed up after the rigors of spawning. The biggest myth is that you can only fish topwaters on cloudy or low light days. Don’t be afraid to throw a topwater all day when the fish are in the post spawn feeding binge.
For me there are basically 2 types of topwater baits- Walkers & Poppers. Both have their place and deserve to be tied on a rod and ready for action.
Walkers- (Zara Spook style) are designed to be thrown in larger areas like the flats I mentioned above (In my opinion). These baits have a larger profile and have a lot of drawing power. My favorite walking baits are a 6thSense Dogma (Chrome Threadfin & Baby Bluegill), Super Spook Jr or a Lucky Craft Sammy. The preferred cadence for these walkers is a rhythmic side to side action. It is not a race to get it back to the boat, but I do prefer a medium to faster retrieve. If I notice I am getting followers I may slow it down or add in a few brief pauses.
Poppers- These baits are designed to draw fish from cover and be worked much slower than their walking cousins. These baits are usually shorter and have a feather treble hook on the back. My favorite poppers are a 6thsense Splashback in Bluegill Fire & Spanish Bone, Yellow Magic and a Storm Chug bug. My favorite retrieve on these is more of a let it sit and give it 4-5 short twitches and pause for 5-10 seconds. Then get it back going with fast erratic twitches and another pause. MOST bites will come on the pause.
Equipment- All of these baits are treble hook baits which means you want quite a bit of tip on you rod. A medium/fast action is what usually gets the call for me. I personally like rods designed specifically for topwaters such as the IROD Genesis 7’3”Stone Cold Spook/Trap Rod and the Cashion Topwater 7’ Medium Action.
Line- There are a few schools of thought when it comes to line and topwater baits. You can throw straight braid, straight mono or braid with a mono leader. I typically use the first 2. I like to use 30lb braid on my walking baits and I use 15lb mono on my poppers. I just don’t trust the knot all day for braid to mono. I have fished with several people that use these knots and have a great deal of success with them. I just don’t have the confidence in it just yet.
Last tip is upon the explosion, let the rod load up. DON’T snatch as soon as the fish boils on the bait. Your hook up ratio will sky rocket if you allow the fish to take it down like a cork rather than trying to set the hook as soon as it breaks the surface.
There is no better way to get someone into fishing than topwater fishing. Get your gear out and give some of these tips a try and see if you don’t get a few of those toilet bowl flush style blow ups this Post Spawn.
G’ Luck & Tight Lines Texas Nation