Summer is finally here and if you are a bass fisherman, summer time means some of the most exciting fishing there is — top water fishing.
During the summer months when the water gets very warm, the bait fish are attracted to weeds because it provides three key items needed for their survival; food, oxygen, and a place to hide. Since the bait fish hang out in the weeds the bass are attracted to them as well. When the bass begin to hang out in and around the weeds, one of the best ways to catch a lot of them in a hurry is by throwing top water baits.
Top water baits are a great tool for fishing weeds as they stay on the surface and because of that, remain relatively weedless. But the biggest lure of using top water baits is that it can be the most exciting method of catching bass. Fishing these types of baits is mostly a visual method of fishing.
You actually get to see the fish hit your lure most of the time. Nothing gets the blood pumping faster than to see a large bass break the surface of water and attack your lure. Throw in the toilet boil flushing sound of explosion when they hit, and you have a pretty intense rush to your senses. Add in the battle you have of cranking in a leaping bass through all those weeds and you have very satisfying experience that will please any angler.
There are many top water baits available on the market. Some of them have been around for years and still catch fish quite well. I can still remember my grandfather tying on a jitterbug to catch summer bass. Due to space and time, I am going to cover ten of the most popular top water lures but there are many others out there.
* The Buzz Bait is truly one of the most exciting top water baits ever made and my favorite. I have caught many quality bass over the years with this bait, and won’t leave home without it. There is no other top water bait that can find and catch fish faster in weeds. When the Buzz Bait bite is on, you can load the boat in a hurry. To work this bait, simply tie it on your line and cast it out. When it hits the water, immediately start cranking it back, keeping it on top of the surface.
* The Pop –R can produce a lot of bass when fished correctly. This bait will make a gurgling disturbance in the water when you twitch it. Try to work this bait in one area as long as possible, after the twitches, let it sit while reeling in the slack. Sometimes working it faster will produce as well. The only downside of fishing this bait is that it can wear out your wrists in a hurry.
* A Spinnerbait is probably one of the most versatile bass baits an angler can use and one of the most effective ways to work it is to use it as a top water bait. You can cast it out and immediately begin “burning” it back by cranking it in quickly. Cranking it fast enough to keep it on the surface of the water will generate a lot of reaction strikes especially along weed edges.
* For lilly pads and thick mats of weeds I like to go to a Tournament Frog. This plastic bait can be especially fun to fish when the bass explode on them. White is my preferred color choice.
* The Superfluke or any of the other soft jerk baits probably has one of the best injured minnow actions of any top water lures. Use a 4/0 or 5/0 wide gap hook and place it in the soft jerk bait Texas rigged with no weight. Cast it out and beginning working it back by twitching it. Most keep the lure close to the surface but allowing it to flutter down in the open pockets of the weeds can create a vicious reaction strike.
* A very popular and old standby top water lure is called the Zara Spook. This is a cigar looking bait that is built with no action. The action you give this bait can be deadly if you work it properly. The common name of the action is called “Walking the Dog.” The way you work this bait is to cast it out, then after it hits the water just let it sit for a couple of seconds, then with your rod tip down (almost touching the water) lightly twitch your rod while reeling your slack in at the same time. Try different retrieves such as three twitches, let it pause, then three or four more twitches all the way back in.
* The floating worm is probably one of the best top water baits that an angler can use. The best way to rig and work a floating worm is to tie on a one foot leader using a very small barrel swivel tied to your main line and a light wire hook on the other end of the leader. The swivel helps prevent line twist, and the small swivel has less weight than a bigger one. Next, take the floating worm and feed the point of the hook straight down the center of the front of the worm, pushing about one inch on the point of the hook, and then push the point through. Then, while the floating worm hangs straight down, place the point of the hook just inside the belly of the worm keeping it straight (Texas Style). When you cast it, let it sit for a moment, and then slightly twitch it, making sure you keep the slack out of your line. Repeat this all the way back to you, then cast again. White and bubble gum are very popular colors for floating worms.
* The Senko is probably one of the most popular baits on today’s market. The best way to fish this bait for top water is to rig it Texas style without any weight. Cast this just about anywhere there is weeds and slightly lift the tip of your rod while reeling in the slack, thus keeping the bait on or just under the surface.
* The Torpedo is known by many as a prop bait, which it has a small silver prop on the end of it. The best way to work it is cast it out, then let it sit while making slight twitches, thus causing a little bubbling action, then let it sit again, slowly working it back to the boat.
* One of the easiest lures to master for top water fishing is the Stick Bait, also known as a Hard Jerk Bait. This is a floating hard plastic looking minnow called a Rogue. You just tie it onto your line, cast it out, and then make slight twitches with it, letting it pause often.
No matter what type of top water lure you use, make sure you have the right gear for it. I prefer a rod that is at least six and half feet long in medium to medium heavy action. I only use bait casting reels and like fourteen pound test line.
One final tip for top water fishing, don’t set the hook until you feel the pressure of the fish on your line. Many times a bass will blow up on the lure and miss it and will turn right around and strike it again. Your senses of sight and sound often times override your sense of touch and you immediately set the hook when you see the fish boil and you end up with nothing. Wait until you feel the pressure of the fish before setting the hook. It can be hard to do but it is essential for catching those fast action bass.
Until next time, good hunting and good fishing!