Catching fish is what brought you to the sport of fishing, but catching them on topwater is what makes you an addict. Bass are the apex predator in most of the lakes in America, and you can see it firsthand when throwing surface lures. It’s one of the most exciting ways to fish, and below we have a few tips and pointers to help you find that topwater monster.
Once the water temperature begins to hit 60 degrees that’s when you’ll want to break out your surface lures. Now, that being said, there have been times when bass have eaten a topwater in the dead of winter, or swam up from depths during a summer afternoon to snap at a buzzbait. So, if you’re ever fishing in these conditions and you’re feeling froggy then go ahead and tie one on and see what happens.
During the days of early spring, before the water has warmed up, it’s best to use a slower presentation. Walking a Zera Spook or a floating minnow will be the ticket. Give this some time to sit in between retrieves to allow the bass to attack it. Once the water starts to heat up then it’s time to start throwing lures that displace water.
When the water temperature hits the mid 60’s, poppers, propellers and walking baits are going to be your best friend. The bass’ metabolism is going to be higher and they’ll be more willing to chase their food. The lures mentioned above all imitate an injured baitfish that bass have a hard time saying no to. Your best bet is to try retrieving these past different types of structure. If nothing hits on your first pass then try pausing the bait in the strike zone to entice an attack.
Bass are finicky though, so it's not like you can just go out and throw a popper and catch them. If you’re committed to the topwater bite then you will need to rotate your lures. Once the bass show you what they like stick with it.
Typically, you will want to throw topwater during low light conditions such as dawn, dusk, and at night. However, during the spring or fall you can throw these during the middle of the day. That’s when the water temperature will be at its warmest and the bass are most likely to be looking up.
Make sure to take into account the depth of the lake or pond you’re fishing. Some of the major lakes in your area will take longer to warm up in the spring. So, if you’re itching to throw some topwater it’s best to try out some of the smaller and more shallow lakes in your area. Farm ponds are a great bet this time of the year.
Along those same lines you’ll find that different areas of larger lakes heat up quicker than others. The first spot you should be checking out are pockets along the northern shorelines. These get the most sun during the day and wind up warming up quicker than other areas.
Topwater anglers should take more caution than normal to not spook the bass. When approaching an area, you should be using your electric trolling motor to ensure a calm and quiet approach. Try to avoid casting directly at structure. Your best bet is to cast over it and then retrieve past it. If you do wind up short casting then let your lure sit in that area for 30 seconds to a minute. This lets the bass get used to the presence of the lure and could potentially anger the fish into a strike.