Wheeler’s topwater tips

Category: Tournament

 Apr 6th, 2016 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Apr 6th, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Gene Larew pro Jacob Wheeler is known for being a serious competitor at big events. Whether it’s the Forrest Wood Cup, BASSfest or the BFL All American, he shows up big time on the big stage. He’s won all three of those events.

When the bite is right, Wheeler is a dangerous competitor. If the bass are biting on top, he feels he’s got a legitimate chance to win.

The Rapala pro shared his springtime topwater concepts with BassFIRST as he was heading down the road.

Water temperature is key.

Jacob Wheeler (James Overstreet/Bassmaster)

“You can catch bass on a topwater in cooler water,” said Wheeler. “But if you really want a lot of success on topwater, temps have to be around 58 or higher.

“In spring, that can vary each day at times. One day it can be 80 outside and breezy raising the water temperatures. The next day cold and rainy lowers them. Really pay attention to temperature.”

Don’t stick with one style of topwater lure.

“Every type of topwater lure has its time and place to be productive,” said Wheeler. “A buzzbait is excellent early on up shallow when there isn’t much surface debris. Same with a Skitter Pop. Once there is debris in the area you are fishing or the cover is heavier, neither are ideal.

“That’s when you switch to a frog for its weedless/snagless qualities. In fact, a frog is an excellent spring choice for topwater. The shape resembles a bluegill, perfect for fishing around spawning areas.

“Point is, you need to learn where to throw the lures.”

Wheeler prefers to keep several topwaters tied on during the spring.

“I use a one-two punch with topwaters,” said Wheeler. “Actually a one-two-three punch. I have hundreds of topwater lures. All varieties. I’ll assess what the cover is I may be fishing. Then I’ll often tie on something that moves somewhat quicker like a buzzbait. A slower presentation like a Skitter Walk. Then a heavier cover option like a frog.

“Keep them ready and you’ll end up catching more bass.”

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