Thursday, 1 December 2011

In Love with Topwater Terror

I`m not sure exactly what it is about fishing topwater baits that excites me the most.
Is it the water splashing explosions that make your heart miss a beat?
Is it the anticipation of the strike?
Is it the expectation of a bigger than average fish that thinks your little topwater lure is its next meal?
Or is it simply the enjoyment of witnessing the strike.

When using most other baits, lures or presentations, the actual strike is not seen, but rather felt.
With topwaters, most of the time, it is the visual strike that hooks anglers both young and old.
I can tell you first hand, no matter how good the smallmouth bite is on our cottage lake, it is almost impossible to get my girls out fishing, except of course, when I say we`re going to throw topwaters.
The mere mention of topwater baits and smallmouth bass, fills the boat with willing guests.
And, the best part is, the fish don`t even have to be BIG, to excite them.
The mere sight of a fish engulfing that little topwater lure makes them all giggly and instant panic sets in once a fish is hooked! Everything else in the world stands still for that one minute tug of war, scrap with a spunky smallmouth.
Now when it comes to filming shows for Extreme Angler TV, well, topwater fishing can be either feast or famine.
Most times I`m certain I can convince my share of bass to strike a topwater bait, weather it be a Strike King Spit n King, Snag Proof BuzzFrog, Perfect frog, walking style bait or buzzbait. Getting strikes is not the hard part, hooking up with bigger than average Bass is a totally different monster.
Big bass love to jump Big smallmouth can spend more time out of water than they are in water once hooked. And if that first, hookset wasn`t a good one, or didn`t grab enough meat, its usually a sad ending to a great story.
Weather I`m using buzzbaits over rocky flats in fall, small poppers or walking baits in summer or snag proof frogs on the California Delta, I try to ensure, that very first hookset is the right one! I`ll even let the fish take the bait down a few feet before seeting the hook, which does increase the odds of bigger fish getting wrapped up in heavy cover, but overall, that slightly longer pause before my first hookset, hits more meat than it misses.
When it comes to using the right equipment for topwater fishing, I don`t mess around.
My topwater equipment choices are just as intense as my choices for rods, reels and lines for fishing soft plastics.
Strong, yet light and beefy enough to hook bigger fish, yet  have the right tip action on lighter action rods for those drag pulling brown bass at boatside. Tiny treble hooks hooked lightly in a big bass yap are easily pulled free by a drag system to tight or rushing a bigger than average fish to the net.
St.croix make all the right actions and models for me. I`ll match them up with different Ardent casting reels and either braided line for heavy cover largemouth or 10-12 lbs monofilament when I`m fishing smaller poppers or walking style baits for smallmouth in open water conditions.
Overall, matching the right equipment to the conditions and locations you are fishing will increase your odds of landing, photographing and releasing those big bad bass next season.
Long live the topwater bite!


  1. Top water is next years thing to master for me.
    Just bought a new Ardent C400 / St.Croix Bass Mojo 6'8" Topwater rod and am scoping out lures to fill a new plano box.
    This blog will help.

  2. Can't beat the heart stopping splash of a bass breaking the surface to grab your bait...My daughter will throw a jitter_bug for hours hoping to land a monster....maybe next year!

  3. Is it simply the enjoyment of witnessing the strike. Cause I like to see The Action.

  4. Yay, thanks for sharing all this wonderful fishing knowledge, Karl. :O)