Many experienced or seasoned bass anglers will tell you that there is a special thrill that comes with watching a bass practically pop up to the surface behind your topwater bait. No wonder many people regard topwater fishing as their favorite method of fishing for bass; more so during summer. In fact, many an angler will readily point out to you that they prefer going topwater fishing all summer over all other forms of fishing. For this reason, topwater baits are among the most popular artificial baits used for bass fishing. These baits are of different types; and the key to successful fishing “topside” lies in learning how to use them properly.
5 Types of topwater baits
There are a myriad ways of categorizing topwater baits, but for the sake of brevity and clarity, this post will limit the classification of these lures to 5 broad categories: frog, walkers, buzzbaits, poppers, and prop baits.
- Frog: as the name indicates, these artificial topwater baits come in the shape of a frog. They are particularly effective around banks with surface weeds and in areas with matted grass or other marine flora. For the best results while fishing with frog baits, use them slowly in shallow water and under heavy cover. Using heavy tackle and a stout fishing line (20lb +, braid ideally) will also be to your advantage.
- Walkers: when it comes to walking baits in topwater fishing, these baits are perhaps the most effective overall. Their streamlined shape makes them versatile and very effective for luring all types of bass including smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass.
- Buzzbaits: the name comes from the buzzing noise that these baits are designed to make when they are used to fish for bass. The noise serves the purpose of agitating and luring the bass to take a bite. They are very effective under low light condition, hence the best time to use them are at dawn and at dusk. One helpful tip while fishing with buzzbaits is to vary your speed by alternately going fast and then slow or my putting in a hard twitch or two into each retrieve making the lure spit quickly for a second.
- Poppers: also known as topwater poppers, these baits are very effective for angling in those hard to reach spots like underneath shootout branches where many anglers are wont to overlook. It is best used in combination with a short fishing rod (6’9” or shorter) and a stout line.
- Prop baits: these baits are very effective for fishing bass during early summer when the bass are hunting for spawning bluegills. Bluegills are known to spawn in shallow water regions like weed banks, and topwater lures like prop baits have proven to be very successful in luring and ensnaring all sizes of bass.
6 Key tips for successful bass fishing with topwater baits
Although different techniques work for the various types of topwater baits, there are some rules of thumb that are instrumental for topwater bass baiting in general.
- The best baits have three treble hooks. This will increase your chances of catching the bass whenever they bite.
- Also use effectively sharpened hooks, especially the chemically sharpened ones.
- Topwaters can be fished at any time of the day without regard to the so called “ideal times” like dawn and dusk.
- For clear water conditions, naturally bright colored baits are your best bet.
- Always alternate your retrieve speed between slow and fast to stimulate the bass.
- Noisy topwater baits are very instrumental in luring bass to the surface.
All said, topwater bass fishing can be done successfully all summer, provided you employ the correct tools, technique, and appropriate timing.
My personal favorite topwaters are the Lucky Craft Sammy 105 (three hook version) in American Shad, the G Splash, and the Kelly J propbait. I also love the new Din R Bell Buzzbait from Picasso which has unique a tungsten knocker.