Taking on Topwater
Jun 14th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jun 14th, 2022 at 12:27 PM
By Dan Amundson
Nothing gets an angler’s heart racing like explosive topwater strikes. Regardless of the species, seeing a fish violently burst out of the water to devour its prey continually leaves anglers with wide eyes and smiles on their faces. It never gets old. Whether you’ve been using topwater lures your whole life or are just getting started this season, there are a few things to remember as you head out on the water.
Choose the Right Gear
In order to fish topwater successfully, you need the right equipment. While the target species is the ultimate factor in what to use, most anglers grab a medium-heavy or heavy baitcasting setup. Topwater anglers choose heavy braid so there’s no stretch on the hookset, and it gives them the strength to pull bass out of heavy cover or do battle with toothy critters like muskies and pike. This is no place for an inferior braid; 50- or 65-pound test 4ORCE from TUF-LINE is an excellent option. A durable 4-carrier braid, 4ORCE is a round, incredibly strong, abrasion-resistant line with minimal stretch that drives hooks deep. Steer clear of fluorocarbon as it sinks and will pull your lure underwater, defeating the purpose of fishing topwater.
It can be overwhelming when deciding what lure to throw, as there is a multitude of options. Find something that mimics your target species’ prey. Choose a hollow-body frog If you’re chasing largemouth in pads and thick vegetation. The award-winning LIVETARGET Hollow Body Frog has all the attributes needed to catch big fish; anatomy, detailed color, and effortless action. On the strike, its soft body collapses easily and the custom double hooks translate to higher hook-up ratios. If you’re on a lake with lots of shad, tie on a LIVETARGET Commotion Shad to mimic a wounded baitfish. This life-like hollow body bait generates a tremendous splash and noise that is inviting to surface-feeding Bass and Northern Pike. The unique rear-spinning blade is custom-designed to generate powerful splashing, a broad bubble trail, and a deep penetrating “blooping” sound that will call fish in from a distance. Wherever you fish, remember to match the hatch! Be sure to read the water and weather conditions as well. If you’re fishing on a windy day, throw a lure that creates a lot of commotion like a propbait. Because these lures displace so much water, fish can hone in on the bait even when the lake is choppy.
Get a Solid Hookset
The biggest mistake anglers make when fishing topwater is setting the hook prematurely. The tendency is to set the hook when they see the fish break the surface consequently pulling the lure away before they can bite it. Avoid this by waiting for the lure to disappear under the water with the fish. Then bury the hook into their mouth and enjoy the fight.
Don’t Give Up On Missed Fish
It’s not uncommon for fish to attack a topwater lure and completely miss. When this happens, don’t lose hope. If you’re patient and don’t set the hook on the blow-up, your lure will still be in the strike zone and ready for round two. Continue to work it back to the boat, pausing every so often to give the fish time to catch up. If it doesn’t bite, cast right back to where it originally attacked. That fish is likely still hungry, and if it didn’t get spooked it might strike again. Lots of fish are caught on a second effort.
About the Author
Dan Amundson is an avid hunter and angler from Minnesota. In addition to writing, Dan is the producer for Sporting Journal Radio. He also guides waterfowl hunts and ice fishing in western Minnesota. You can keep up with Dan by following him on Instagram @dan_amundson