BoatUS ANGLER: Bait and Tackle
A Topwater Tutorial
by Kurt Dove, BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff
For much of the country the month of May indicates bass in the post-spawn behavior. From this phase of bass behavior right through the early part of summer is often a premier time to target bass on topwater lures. As with any lure there are many types to choose from and it can get confusing. I will breakdown for you several types of topwaters and some productive brands, and where they can be used to have success!
The popper style baits are awesome for keeping a lure in the strike zone for a long period of time. A Rebel Pop-R is the mainstay in popping baits. BASS Elite Angler Zell Rowland made them wildly popular back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Other great poppers are the Yellow Magic and the Rico. I like to use poppers around wood cover, rip rap and on the edges of vegetation. They are not weedless so be sure not to throw it into or on top of vegetation.
For me walking topwater lures that sashay side-to-side are primarily used in open water situations. Over top of points or along big stretches of rock or bank that may have a specific depth change. I typically use the ima lures Skimmer or Big Stick. For many years the main stay in topwater baits was the Zara Spook made famous by BASS Pro Charlie Campbell back in the 80’s. This style of topwater baits can be awesome on big fish!
Best worked with slow steady retrieves. I will mention two types of buzzers here. The buzzbait, which is a metal blade that spins on top of the water attached to a wire and hook running just under the surface behind it. Then there is the plastic buzz frog like the El Grande Lures Sapo that runs on the water’s surface with little paddle feet that make a gurgling sound and commotion. These are great baits to use in open water or over the top of cover like grass or wood. They are very versatile and the strikes are explosive!
Prop baits like the Devils Horse tend to be very popular in Florida although they are very productive in all parts of the country. Prop baits are especially productive around spawning bluegill beds where largemouth will prey. The prop bait will have one or two blades at the front or rear, or both ends of the lure. With small strokes of your rod the blades spin and cause a violent disturbance on the water’s surface causing the bass to suspect an injured fish and then striking the lure.
Hollow belly frogs like Optimum Furbit, Spro bronze eye or Snag Proof are very good lures. With practice you can learn how to sashay your frogs for open water effectiveness, or throw them in the middle of the nasty slop and hang on for giant strikes!
May and June are awesome months for great topwater action! I hope you can get out on the water and take advantage this year!