In this article I’ll be discussing the use of topwater lures in your fishing trips. The topwater lure is another tool in our toolbox (tackle box) designed to cover another edge in our quest for the bass whether is a Largemouth, Smallmouth or Spotted Bass.
As the water starts to cool down in the fall the bass will start to feed heavy for the coming winter or cold water season just down the road in a few weeks or a couple of months. As the baitfish or shad move towards the shallow water and migration into the creeks the bass will not be too far behind. As this happens you can experience some of the best bass fishing of the year as you will see the bass hit the lure as it is worked on the top of the water column.
There is a lot of different topwater lures on the market and I’ll try to cover a lot of them here. The four most popular topwater lures are, (1) Walking lures, (2) Popping lures, (3) Buzzbaits and finally (4) Frogs. Then there are prop baits, spoons and wake baits to name a few more. As before in the other Bass Fishing Basics 101 articles these to are tools in our tackle boxes.
I’ll start off with the number one topwater lure which is the Walking lures. These include such popular lures as Heddon’s Zara Spook, Lucky Craft’s Sammy, Rebel’s Jumpin Minnow these lures are only a very few but probably the most popular among the topwater anglers. These lures also come in different length’s and weights. The 4” models are fished most often as it allows the angler to make long casts to schooling bass and closely matches the shad the bass feed on.
The Equipment you’ll need to Fish Topwater Lures – Walking Lures
The Rod, there is probably a lot of dispute on the different lengths, power actions and tip actions for fishing these lures. I’ll start off with the Walking lures and the rod I personally like to use on these lures. My favorite rod for the 4” walking lure like the Zara Spook in the Jr. size in a 6’6” Medium Action rod with a Fast tip action. If I go up to the larger Spook in the 5” or the saltwater version I’ll bump the rod to a 7’ or a 6’6” in Medium Heavy action with a Moderate tip action. These actions on these different size lures will allow you to walk the lure side to side in the zig-zag action needed to get the bass to strike.
The Reel, you probably already have the right reel which is a 6.4:1 or 7.1:1 gear ratio. The high speed is so that after to make a cast then you can reel the lure back in fast for another cast. Since the lure will be worked slow most of the time the high speed is not an issue. I prefer the low profile reels like the Shimano Currado 200E7 or an Abu Garcia Revo –SXHS to name a couple.
The Line, here again different fishermen will have different opinions. I have two different lines I like to use on the walking lures. My first choice is monofilament in either 10 or 14 pound tests. The other one which I’m starting to fish with more is Suffix 832 in 20 pound test braid. I really like braid when fishing around grass like hydrilla, milfoil or coontail weeds. If I’m fishing open water without any cover around then I’ll usually throw 10 pound monofilament most of the time.
The Equipment you’ll need to Fish Topwater Lures – Popping Lures
The Rod, the rod I personally like to use on these lures is a 6’6” Medium Action rod with a Fast tip action.
The Reel, I use the same reels as I use with the Walking lures.
The Line, my first choice is monofilament in 10 pound test. If I’m fishing open water without any cover around then I’ll usually throw 10 pound monofilament most of the time.
The Equipment you’ll need to Fish Topwater Lures – Buzzbaits and Frogs
Now we are talking about a totally different type of topwater lure. These lures come in a lot of different sizes, weights, and blade and arm shapes. The most popular one that has been around for ever seems like is the original Lunker Lure buzzbait. There are single blade models, double blade models, two blades side by side like an airplane double prop models. There are inline models and long wire models.
My favorite one of all these is a custom one made by a fishing buddy of mine that is called a Brass Knuckle. This is a jointed buzzbait the swivels behind either the brass or tungsten weight he uses. He also uses a 6/0 spinner-bait hook which does not require you to use a trailer hook on the buzzbait. This lure has a great metallic clacking sound and I’ve caught a lot of bass on this buzzbait.
LB’s Custom Lures – Brass Knuckle
The Rod, the rod I personally like to use on these lures is a 7’ Medium Heavy or Heavy Action rod with a Moderate tip action.
The Reel, I use is a high speed reel in 7.1:1 gear ratio.
The Line, my first choice is Suffix 832 braid in either 20 or 30 pound tests. I like braid when fishing the buzzbait since the fish will usually hook themselves since braid does not stretch. If you are around heavy cover then the braid is a must. With the Frog I will more than likely be fishing around heavy cover like weeds or grass mats. In this case I’ll up my braid line test to either 50 or 65 pound test.
The Lure, I would suggest that you start off with maybe six lures in your tackle box. The brands will be up to you but I’d suggest Heddon’s Zara Spook in two sizes. The large one will be their three hook model Super Spook that is 5” long, and their Zara Spook Jr. which is 3.5” long. Colors are up to up but I like anything with a pearl white belly and the other one in Bone color. In the summer when the bass are chasing small shad fry I like the Zara Spook Jr. in Clear with a white rear treble hook.