Top Topwater Tactics

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topwater plug

The Heddon Spook is a classic - and highly effective - topwater plug.

Topwater Tactics

Topwater explosions are about as exciting as it gets for most anglers. Whether you’re fishing the marshes for speckled sea trout, targeting reds in the shallows, or casting to docks in a lake, few things get the adrenaline pumping faster than the ker-sploosh! of a topwater plug attack. You want to catch more fish on topwater? These tactics will help.

topwater plug

The Heddon Spook is a classic – and highly effective – topwater plug.

Stickbaits are often best in calm, clear conditions, so chose them when the wind is down or you’re in sheltered waters. The classic walk-the-dog action simply can’t be beat, when retrieving these lures. Keep your rod tip low so the lure doesn’t jump out of the water or cartwheel, and establish a steady pace. Try going slower or faster if you’re not getting bites.

Poppers and chuggers shine when the water is riled up or discolored, and fish may have a tougher time locating prey. Again, establish a rhythm and keep the cadence steady during the retrieve. In this case, however, sharp jerks on the rod tip are in order to create the noisy “bloop” that will draw in fish. Note: in calm conditions, many anglers believe that these noisy plugs can actually spook some fish.

Timing is everything, when it comes to topwater. Daybreak and dusk are almost always the best times to use these lures. The exception comes when fish are busting on the surface in a feeding frenzy – though in this scenario, they often will hit anything that moves.

In all cases stick with medium or slow action rods, which help establish a cadence and are more forgiving about hopping the lure out of the water. Also stick with monofilament line as opposed to braid. It’s stretch will help with these same issues.

Continue the retrieve, after missed strikes. It’s very common for fish to miss a topwater plug several times before they find their target. If you stop retrieving, often the fish simply loses interest. Keep working the lure, however, and that predator will usually keep chasing it.


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