IN THIS HOME STATE of Minnesota, it’s not all that unusual for Seth Feider to see snow on the ground or a little bit of ice on the lakes as October progresses. However, he knows that it’s a different story in Texas. Down here, many fish are just now leaving their summertime haunts and heading out on a big fall feed.
He’s a big fan of flipping deep grass in warm temperatures. Yet, when there’s wind and overcast conditions, or during low light hours, he thinks there’s no better lure for catching big fish than a walk-the-dog style topwater.
Up north he’d be more likely to start with a buzzbait. Although some anglers like a popper, he said that style is “too time consuming and too limited on casting distance.” A walking bait, however, can be thrown at bass 10 feet from the boat, or those blowing up on shad 50 yards away.
His favorite is the Storm Arashi Top Walker. Although the 4¼-inch version is a mouthful, in the Lone Star State he tends to start with the 5 1/8-inch model. It weighs more than an ounce, displaces a lot of water, and rattles to call fish from a distance.
Perhaps most important, it offers three treble hooks and hangers that allow the hooks to rotate away from one another. He’s usually not picky about colors, as long as they represent shad.
Indeed, shad are primary forage that determine where and how he’ll fish. “They’ve been deep all summer, and now they’re moving up,” he said. “Maybe not to the backs of creeks yet, but to points on the main lake and shallow humps. I don’t mean humps that come up to 20 feet of water. More like high spots, places where you might hit your motor.”
Threadfin shad can attract big schools, including quality fish. However, Feider said, throughout the South, you’re more likely to catch a monster school if you can dial in the gizzard shad locations.
“That’s where the big fish will be. The threadfins often have a lot of pound and a half to two pounders.”
He starts with a relatively fast retrieve, in order to cover water and to get fish to give away their locations. If he experiences multiple missed strikes he’s likely to alter his cadence before he switches colors, sizes or lure shapes.
The three ultra-sharp factory treble hooks minimize short strikes and fruitless blowups, but he’s also careful to make sure that the points don’t get rolled over or dulled. Because fish will often slash at these lures, the best way to maximize your landing percentage is to make sure that your hooks are always brutally sharp.
Feider fishes the Top Walker on a seven-foot, medium-heavy Daiwa Tatula Elite rod paired up with a Tatula SV reel with an 8.1 to 1 gear ratio. That fast retrieve speed allows him to get the lure back in and then out after traversing a key strike zone.
It also enables him to catch up on fish that smoke his walking bait and then charge directly at the boat. At only 7.2 ounces, it’s comfortable to fish all day. He spools it up with 30-pound Sufix 832 braid, to which he affixes about 18 inches of 20-pound test Sufix Advance Monofilament, which disguises his lure slightly and provides a bit of a shock buffer.
The beauty of this presentation is that it excels in low light conditions, when bass are feasting on shad. Yet, it can provide all-day action.
The visual thrill is what bass anglers live for, but the big catches it produces precludes them from picking up another rod during the brief lulls.
Email Pete Robbins at [email protected]