Bass on Top? Go Lipless
Bass fishing is incredibly simple to talk about,
but it's so hard to put into practice, isn't it?
For example, it's easy to theorize that bass can
only be found feeding in one of three places:
on the top,
on the bottom,
or suspended in the water column somewhere in
Now the suspended in between bass usually don't
exist in shallows less than six feet deep where the majority of
bass fishing is done. In deeper water where bass do suspend in
between the top and bottom, they can be hard to locate and even
harder to entice them to open their mouths to take a bite. In
deeper water, most of us fish the bottom or the top because
that's where bass bite best, and that's where we feel most
comfortable catching them.
So, in theory again, we fish the shorelines, or
the bottom or the top in deeper water. Why? Because all three of
these locations have a finite edge - the bank, the bottom, or the
surface - towards which all life gravitates, including prey,
predators and anglers. Prey species like these edges for the
protection it affords them. Predators like these edges because
they can trap prey against them. We like these edges, because it
gives us something solid to target. We have and will talk about
fishing the shore and the bottom in other articles at
Bassdozer.com. Let's talk about fishing the final edge - the top
- in this one.
I fancy the top to be like a looking glass. We
can see in, they can see out, but neither one of us ever crosses
it. It's also a mirror. Sometimes a calm, flat reflective mirror
that reflects back what's underneath it to a fish. Usually, a
choppy, broken, refractive mirror that scatters shards of light
rays into the water. In either case, calm or choppy, the
reflective and refractive qualities of the surface offer
concealment to prey, and confusion to predators who can't be too
sure whether what they are seeing is life or memorex.
Enter the angler and his arsenal of decoys!
First, there's the diminutive popper that
slashes and spits, concealing itself in its own disturbance.
Often best for calm conditions.
Second, there's the fat stogie-sized
walking bait for a moderate chop. Spooks, Sammys and other sassy
side-shifters that never stay still. Walking baits conceal
themselves in their own little struggles. Bass may hardly know
what's happening or what they are. They have to belt them to find
Third, there's the buzzbait that plows a
trackable wake and churns a little frenzy even in rough chop. On
a bouncy, wind-smurred surface, try black.
Fourth, have a spinning rod ready to drop
a soft bait into the swirl of a close swipe on a popper, walking
bait or buzzbait. Simply use an old-fashioned straight shank worm
hook. Thread a castable unweighted soft plastic like a Senko or
Fat Boy onto it, and leave the hook bend and point totally
exposed. You may want to pull the eye of the hook back into the
plastic, and lock it on with the tip of a toothpick broken off
though the eye
Fifth, in heavy wind-swept waters, try
hustling a big double-bladed spinnerbait from a few inches to a
few feet just under the surface. Use willows for maximum
reflection, and try a fire tiger skirt for obvious visibility
Sixth, go lipless
in any and all topwater scenarios. You usually can't
go wrong with the chrome-sided models which are mini-mirrors in
their own right, reflecting back the sunlight and the water color
around them. As it's the fall season now, don't be shy to throw
big 3/4 and 1 oz. lipless baits. Most natural baits are of
similar sizes. They cast like bottle rockets launched at breaking
fish, and cover water faster than all of the above-mentioned
lures. Just keep your arm in its socket.
In most topside scenarios, especially in the
fall, all the above baits can be worked faster than at other
times or under other conditions. Now, faster doesn't mean
splashier or crazier. It just means faster, which can often
trigger bass prowling the edge - on top. Try it. Your edgy
topwater bass might like it!