Topwater All Day
by Charles Stuart
any fisherman or woman the most entertaining method of
catching bass and chances are they will respond with "the
top water bite". From my own personal experience, I can tell
you that I laughed so much with the excitement, that my partner
thought I was going to have a heart attack!
Whilst this method has a
lower "strike to catch ratio" compared to other forms
of bass fishing, it is still worth using and keeping nearby in
case the surface comes alive with bait fish jumping out of the
water for their lives!
tackle required depends upon conditions, however, I
believe that bass can be caught all day long on a top water lure.
For me, a small arsenal of top water lures is a must, but
remember to alternate them to match the changing mood of the
fish. I prefer a 6 and ˝ to 7-foot baitcasting rod with 15lb
test line. Whenever possible before using any store purchased
lure, I always change the hooks to a premium hook such as
Gamakatsu. I have seen too many hooks straighten or break from a
large fish, or the hook been thrown, because they were not sharp
often start with the buzzbait. This lure comes with
single, double, treble and in-line, blade combinations. I like to
use smaller buzzbaits, but that is not to say that a large six or
eight inch buzzbait with loud blades will not produce. Correctly
tuned buzzbaits should NEVER run straight. If it does, something
is wrong, fish do not swim in straight lines and neither should
your buzzbait. Bend the propeller or propellers to arch the
retrieve in the water. The more splash and noise it makes, the
more fish will see it and attack it.
your retrieve quickly. After a few casts if you are
not getting any bites, slow down the retrieve until a fish swirls
near the bait1 or strikes it. This is the bass telling
you at what speed they want their meal moving. Next come top
water poppers. This name is used to cover a large group of
surface lures with cupped faces that give the "popping"
sound. This lure spits water when retrieved with small downward
jerks of the rod tip toward the water surface. The dimension of
this lure is important. Make sure you know the size and colors of
the baitfish that live in that body of water you are fishing.
Referred to in fly fishing as "matching the hatch",
your lure color and size plays an important role on bright sunny
days when the sunlight reflects off the body and flashes on the
surface of the water. On overcast days, color is not so
important, as the bass do not get to see much more than the
outline of the bait and will make a decision to either ignore the
bait, or strike at it. Again, if the fish swirl at the bait1
you should be prepared to drop the rod you and use a floating
come the "spook" baits. Zara Spook® and
Zara Puppy® or similar cigar shaped lures. (Often I will
increase the size of the hook from a 1/0 to a 2/0 with this
lure). The best method of retrieval is "walking the
dog"'. This snapping, twitching and slow line retrieval
combination takes some practice but once mastered can be deadly
when top water action is at its height. When bass are chasing
shad to the surface, this lure should be cast directly on top of
the fish, keeping the boat a good distance from the area of
activity. Casting accuracy is vital, as a badly placed cast will
waste precious moments until you can cast again. To practice your
casting in your backyard or in a park, use a rubber weight in
place of the lure. I often use an old car tire or a bucket as a
target and practice for an hour a day.
fish takes a top water offering, WAIT. Let the fish
take the lure, feel the weight of the fish and then set the hook.
All to often, the initial reaction is to strike, but this often
pulls the lure out of the mouth of the fish. When the fish are
biting, I usually count s-l-o-w-l-y to three, then set the hook.
Surface fishing spinner
baits and jerkbaits often catch fish. Again start with a fast
retrieve and slow it down till the fish tell you what they want.
The floating worm is often overlooked as
a top water lure, but can be deadly when fish will not take a
larger top water offering. If fish continue to swirl near the
buzzbait or popper, but will not strike it, pitch a brightly
colored worm (pink or yellow works well) and chances are the bass
will swallow this offering more readily.
Stuart is a pro angler, journalist and NY State Guide who fishes
the B.A.S.S., RED MAN, FOXWOODS and the ABC Tours in the
Northeast. Born and educated in England, Charles fished
professionally in England when he lived there. Charles has now
lived on Long Island, NY for over 15 years. He's fished most
lakes, rivers, streams and ponds on the island. He has fished
from the Canadian border to Florida in search of largemouth and
One of Charle's
objectives is to use the knowledge he has gained to teach young
fishermen and women the joy of the sport and the art of
"catching". Charles feels that, unlike other sports,
all members of the family can enjoy fishing together. To Charles,
fishing is a sport that does not place pressure on a child to
succeed, thereby building the child's confidence and self-esteem.
Charles is sponsored by
Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Budz Fishin Wayz, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk,
Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Power Resources cranking &
trolling motor batteries, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle,
Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, and Stamina Components.
You can email Charles