Topwater strikes are some of the most exciting action in bass fishing, and they’re also some of the most heart-wrenching, creating the perfect flow from chaos to revelation once the bass finally makes its way to the boat hooked on those topwater baits.
There’s no better time to fish topwater than the late-spring/early-summer period. The bass are coming off the bed and looking to gorge on the easiest prey possible – and topwaters do a great job of imitating a struggling baitfish on the surface.
During this period, two of the most commonly used topwaters are popping or chugging baits, and walking topwaters. Although they’re both extremely effective, there are certain situations in which one or the other may be more efficient.
Here’s when to use each:
Popping Topwater Baits:
Topwater chuggers like the Castaic BD Popper feature a flat or concave face, and a baitfish profile. By twitching and jerking the rod, these topwater baits create a splash and popping sound that drives bass crazy. Because they are most effective when worked relatively slowly, poppers are ideal for target fishing in shallow water. They can also be casted very accurately, which means they are easy to place gently next to a stump, laydown, or grass line.
When target fishing with a popper, concentrate on landing the bait as close to the target as possible, waiting for the ripples to settle, and working it with a pop-pop-pause cadence. No need to work it all the way back to the boat either – increase your efficiency by quickly reeling it up once you’re 10 feet past the target and casting again. Most strikes will come on these type of topwater baits in the first few pops.
Walking Topwater Baits:
Topwater walking baits like the Livingston Lures Pro Sizzle have a slender baitfish profile, and move in a sashaying, “back and forth” action referred to as “walking the dog.” They create a tremendous surface commotion, and draw interest from bass at a great distance. For that reason, they are ideal when you’re fishing in open water areas, and any time you need to cover water to locate feeding bass. They are also ideal for targeting schooling bass, as they can be cast a mile and fly straight every time.
Main lake points, grass lines, ledges, shad spawning areas, and shallow ledges are ideal places to quickly work walking topwater baits. To effectively work a topwater walker, make a long cast and slowly twitch your rod tip down in a steady cadence. Use the rod to move the bait, and just reel up the slack. At every twitch, the bait will dart in one direction, and then back the other way on the next.
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