Bass Fishing: Topwater Lures
Topwater fishing is one of the most exciting methods of fishing, and one of the easiest to learn. The reason topwater fishing is so fun and easy is because its very visual. You can see your bait and how its moving and you can see when a bass bites it. Topwater lures are most effective during the sunrise and sunset hours. During this time the amount of light penetrating the water is reduced and the bass are more willing to come up to the surface and get your lure. There are several types of topwater lures such as poppers, buzzbaits, and frogs. Each has its own way of attracting bass.
Poppers are similar to crankbaits but they have no clear bill on the front, instead they have bowl shaped indent, and in the middle of the bowl and place to tie your line. The idea behind this bait is to imitate a bait fish that is injured and swimming erratically. The reason for the bowl indent is to spit water when the lure is jerked forward. The retrieve that I always start with is a slow retrieve, pause, jerk, jerk, pause, then start over. The bass will almost always go for the bait during the pauses. Remember the more erratic your retrieve the more convincing you will be. Try changing directions, varying the lengths of the pauses and varying the speed of the retrieve.
Buzzbaits are very similar to spinnerbaits in design except where spinnerbaits have blades on the top, buzzbaits have a propeller. The propeller is designed to run along the surface creating a wake and making noise, while the actual bait is slightly below the propeller. The result is that it looks like a baitfish skimming the surface when view from below. Since the propeller is making noise the buzzbait will attract bass from farther away then any other topwater lure. The key to effectively using the buzzbait is to vary your retrieve until you find the speed the bass like. Remember your trying to imitate a baitfish just cruising along the surface here. So constant speeds broken up by slight pauses is a good way to start.
The last topwater we are going to talk about is frogs. Topwater frogs can be made from soft plastics or the more expensive frogs are made from a more durable rubber plastic. The hooks are on the top of frog and this means they are great for fishing in cover such as lily pads or tall grass. Because you can fish in this kind of cover, frogs have a longer window of time when they are effective during the day. My favorite technique for fishing frogs is to find an opening in the lily pads or grass. Cast my frog past the opening and reel until my frog is at the far end of the opening and pause for a few seconds. Then I reel at a moderate speed to get my frog across the opening then pause again when it gets to the other side. This is usually when the bass will strike. Because frogs are larger than your average bait they can produce larger fish. Remember when shopping for frogs to get designs that resemble real frogs in your area.
Topwater fishing is one of my favorite techniques of fishing because of the adrenaline rush of seeing a bass explode on your bait. There really is nothing quite like it early in the morning. It is also a great way to teach beginners what a bite feels like, so when they are using a lure they can't see they remember the feeling. Overall topwater is just a fantastic way to fish.