Ultimate Bass

Topwater Fishing: Why and When

There is nothing like getting out on the water during a nice, quiet morning during the summer months searching for the big bass that are lurking below you in the waters you plan to fish. I start every morning with some type of topwater bait. Not only do I start my morning with a topwater bait, but I end my night with a topwater bait as well. Why? The lakes and rivers that you’ll fish, most of the time, will be the calmest during the morning and evening hours. Topwater baits allow you the excitement of seeing a big bass emerge from the water, aggressively seeking breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I enjoy using a lot of different topwater baits, all allowing a different presentation to the bass that sit below these baits when they in the water. Some of my favorites include, the Heddon Spit’N Image, the Storm Chug Bug, Cavitron Buzzbaits, and Strike King’s Rage Tail Toads. These all offer the fish a little different presentation, but all can be very effective first thing in the morning. There is nothing like fishing one of these baits on the calm waters early in the morning and seeing and hearing a big bass explode through the surface attacking the lure on the end of your line.

The Heddon Spit’N Image is a very unique bait that I have had success using for both smallmouth and largemouth. It seems to be a favorite of smallies, probably because of its small, unique presentation as you walk it through the water. Most of the success I had had using the Spit’N Image has come as I walk the dog, pausing occasionally allowing the lure to remain still and allowing the bass an opportunity to swallow the lure.

The Storm Chug Bug allows a bigger, slower presentation. The success I’ve had using the Chug Bug has come when slowly twitching the bait and allowing it to pop, and also letting it sit for large amounts of time, giving the fish plenty of time to decide whether or not to attack the bait. Most of the hits that come on the Chug Bug come when the bait is sitting still in the water. You always have to be ready and the red lip on most of the Chug Bugs allows you to carefully watch the bait as you move it through the water.

The Cavitron Buzzbait is a faster moving topwater bait that buzzes through the water, leaving a wake path in the water you’ll be fishing. It is this loud buzzing and the wake path that the bait leaves that will attract the fish to the surface causing an instant reaction strike. Don’t fall asleep reeling these buzzbaits in, otherwise you’ll be rudely awakened by the explosion that is sure to take place.

The Strike King Rage Tail series offers a lot of unique baits for big bass. The Rage Tail Toads are my favorite in the series mainly because of the fun it allows you to have with a unique topwater presentation. I use the Zoom Horny Toad hooks with the Rage Tail Toad and have had a lot of fun and success with this combination. The Rage Tail Toads fly across the top of the water, similar to the way a buzzbait would, creating a large wake behind the toad, as the legs flutter in the water, attracting the big bass below.

There is no better feeling than watching a big bass come from below the waters to attack a topwater bait on the end of your line. Whether you decide to use these baits and techniques early in the morning or as the sun goes down, I would highly recommend trying some of these baits when the water is calm. These techniques will work when the water isn’t calm, but my success rate and enjoyment using these lures and techniques has been much better under calm conditions. You won’t regret trying topwater baits. There is absolutely nothing like it and I would be surprised if it doesn’t become your favorite bass fishing technique, like it has for me. Go out, have fun, and don’t forget to be safe out on the waters. Catch ‘em up!

By John Karbowski



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