There is a lot of talk today about different lures and techniques for catching fish. Which baits work best? What colors should one use? Etc. There is no question however fishing topwater lures can be the most exciting way to catch fish. Not much can compare to the thrill an angler experiences when a big predatory fish slams into a topwater lure being worked across the surface. In this article we will discuss the different types of topwater lures and the best techniques for using them.
Poppers have a concave face on the front of them designed to make a popping or gurgling sound when used. They may also mimic the splashing a smaller fish makes when chasing bait fish at the surface. These will have one or two treble hooks attached to them and can be used in clearer areas where there is no chance of snagging the open hooks. They produce well during the evening or when bait fish are schooling and being chased by the target fish.
Sputter baits such as Yakima Baits Ace in the Hole have propellers on the front and back of the plug. This will cause the bait to splash water while being retrieved. The purpose of this lure is to mimic sick or injured prey splashing on the surface to attract target fish for an easy meal. These can be retrieved fast or slow. The best method is to vary the speed of the retrieve and even stop it and let it float for a bit to entice wary predators. These are again best used in open water to avoid snagging the open treble hooks.
Plastic frogs are my personal favorite. They are have a double hook which curves up into the soft plastic body making them weedless. This is ideal for fishing grass mats and other structures such as lily pads and weeded areas. Some may have a cupped front while others are simply shaped like a frog. Either way, run these across the top of a grassy pond and hold on. The Booyah Pad Crasher shown here is a very popular and productive model. Fish it slow or with a varied retrieve for best results and don’t be afraid to toss it into some gnarly places to pull out those big fish.
Stickbaits are just as the name implies. They are a torpedo shaped plug with no frills or fancy add-ons. These are used with a twitching retrieve to get the “walk the dog” action that can trigger a strike. Many times they can be used in a very slow manner and will be hit when sitting still. Stickbaits take a bit of practice to get right but can be very productive in the right hands and the right situations. Baits like these such as Heddon Super Spook have two or three treble hooks and are best used in open water.
Buzzbaits are made strictly to annoy the fish into striking. These lures are made to make noise and splash and basically cause a lot of disturbance in the water. They can be used during spawning season and run over grass beds. They can also be fished in the evening on flat water to entice a fish to strike. The concept of these baits is that the target fish assumes it is a predator or threat and will strike out of aggression.
Topwater baits are great for getting aggressive strikes from big fish, often times when nothing else will work. Don’t forget to keep these useful baits in your arsenal and pull them out from time to time. You may be pleasantly surprised.