Choosing the Right Rod for Topwater

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Which rod will you use to work topwater? Choose carefully.

Few forms of fishing are as exciting as topwater action, and watching a fish blow up as you walk the dog or pop a popper provides a shot of adrenaline that other strikes just can’t match. Fishing topwater is, however, quite different than retrieving a jig or soaking a bait. And as a result, the rod you choose for the job will have a huge impact on just how successful you are – or are not. Sure, you can fish in just about any way with just about any rod. But if you pay heed to these particular points, you’ll choose and use a dedicated rod for topwater and never again mix and match.

fishin with topwater

Which rod will you use to work topwater? Choose carefully.

Weighty Decision – Toss a topwater and walk it back to the boat four or five times and any old rod will do. But if you’re throwing topwater all day long it will get tiring. Constantly working the tip and making the lure zig and zag will wear down those arms in no time. So in this particular case weight matters. A lot. You’ll want a rig that’s as light as possible, when it comes to both the rod and the reel.

Slow as you Go – For many other types of lure fishing a fast-action tip is best, allowing you to set the hook immediately while enjoying maximum sensitivity. But if you work a topwater lure with a fast-action rod it’s apt to jump out of the water and/or cartwheel through the air. A slow action which provides some give will jerk that lure free of the water less often, and allow you to work it with more vigor without sending it flying. Added bonus: a short pause between the strike and the hook-set is often most effective, and if you’re on a hair trigger you’re more likely to prematurely yank the lure out of the fish’s mouth with the instant hook-setting power of a fast tip.

The Bottom Line – Many of us love fishing jigs, spoons, and other lures with braid. But when you use braid with topwater you pay a price in several ways. First off, the lack of stretch and instantaneous hook-set is another reason you may jerk the lure away from the fish too quickly. Second, like that fast tip, braid encourages airborne, cartwheeling plugs. The give of mono alleviates both issues, so it’s always best to have a dedicated rig spooled with monofilament for your topwater action.

Can you fish topwater with any old rod? Well, sure. But if you choose carefully, you’ll find that you absolutely, positively catch more fish.


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