It’s that explosive time of year again. Topwater fishing for bass makes the most exciting memories and it’s crucial to get in on the action right now. Nothing beats the feeling of a fish crunching your bait on the surface, throwing water everywhere and getting your heart rate up to dangerous levels.
There’s a lot more to topwater fishing than it looks. While it’s fairly easy to jerk a popper or walk a stick bait, there are a few intricate details to pay attention to. These tips will help you refine your topwater game and keep you on the fish. Get ready for some fierce blowups!
1. Cadence Is Key
Fish will change their preference on a day-to-day basis, so it’s up to you to figure out how fast or slow they want the bait. Try everything from a steady, consistent walk to a fast-paced series of twitches followed by a long pause.
Irregularity often triggers strikes, since the fish aren’t able to track the cadence and are more on edge throughout the retrieve. Throwing in a few aggressive pops or walks can excite the bass just enough to attack.
2. All Day, Every Day
Topwater fishing is not limited to early mornings and evenings! Don’t be afraid to work your baits in the middle of the day, especially in summer. Some of the most phenomenal topwater bites can be found at random times during the day so keep twitchin’ and poppin’.
3. Soften Up
I prefer slightly softer rods when it comes to throwing most topwater baits (except buzzbaits and frogs). Usually on a popper or Spook you’ll have at least two treble hooks. A softer rod will provide just enough give to drive those trebles without tearing their mouths, and the rod stays loaded better during the fight.
Bass who commit to topwater are full of energy and will most often jump one or more times, so it’s important to have a rod that keeps them pinned. I use a Powell 705CB for most of my walking bait applications and it has been an absolute blessing.
4. No Mercy, No Stretch
It’s always best to use braided line when fishing any type of topwater. The zero-stretch properties of braid help you work your lure properly and set hook faster. Braid also floats much better than mono or fluoro so you’ll eliminate any sinking issues.
Braided line allows you to fish heavier without sacrificing line diameter. For example, thicker braid in the 50-65lb class will roughly be the diameter of 12-15lb monofilament, allowing you to maintain enough line on your spool and cast just as far if not further than usual.
Heavy braid lets you fish thicker cover worry-free. Now you can toss your bait between brush piles, tules, etc. and still be able to horse the fish out of cover quickly. Not to mention it will last months longer than mono/fluoro and save you money in the long run.
5. Swap ‘Em Out
I don’t care how good the treble hooks are on any lure, I always switch them out. You’ll find that I say this a lot in my other articles but it’s a great investment for all baits with trebles.
Swapping out hooks allows you to control three factors: hook size, thickness, and shank length. Sometimes sizing down helps to keep the hooks from tangling, especially if the bait has three sets of trebles. I usually get hooks that are at least 2x or 3x strong – anything above a 3x is unnecessarily thick for bass fishing and requires more force to puncture their mouths. You can find a wide variety of high-quality hooks from brands such as Gamakatsu, Owner, VMC, etc.
Changing your trebles also gives you the option to add feathered trebles. This gives the bait a more flashy presentation and allows the bass to key in on those feathers. You can either swap every hook out for feathered ones or just the back hook as a focal point.
I hope this helps you improve your topwater game! If you have any questions/comments please leave them in the comments section below, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks for your support everyone, tight lines.