Time for Topwater
Welcome to late summer – also known as the warmest period of the year. It’s not all that uncommon to see some anglers to hang up the rods for a few weeks and focus on other water activities during the so-called ‘dog days of summer.’ The weather may be hot – but thankfully the fishing can follow suite if you’re targeting them in the right manner. Enter – topwater fishing.
Similar to any other style of fishing, topwater excels in specific scenarios. Fortunately for anglers, late summer often provides with the ideal conditions for topwater fishing. Sunny, flat, calm days are truly hard to beat. This combination not only allows fish to key on baits easier, but it also allows anglers to fish this style of baits more effectively. Windy conditions, heavy chop and too much cloud cover can definitely have a negative impact on how effective a topwater lure can be, especially with smaller lures.
It’s easy for anglers to assume that topwater fishing is best utilized in shallow water situations. Well, that’s true, partially. While a lot of anglers target shallow water areas with topwater, prime locations can occur anywhere on a body of water. Shallow areas often hold the majority of cover, like weeds or brush, that fish relate to. However, on certain bodies of water it’s not uncommon to find premier topwater bites in the deeper portions of the lake. These specific bites are more common in water bodies involving clear water. Fish treat the surface of the water like an edge in any other portion of the lake. They’ll often drive bait to the surface. If you can find the bait, you can find the fish.
Specific indicators can help anglers determine how effective topwater may be. Look for fish surfacing, bait fish breaking the surface, and so forth. That being said, don’t completely write off topwater lures if you aren’t seeing such activity.
When it comes to topwater baits, the options on the market on in excess. However, there’s a couple of categories that work well for a wide range of species and scenarios. The popper and the walking are perhaps the most versatile. They can be popped, they can be walked, they can be fished aggressively or they can be worked more passively. Some days one method or another can make all the difference.
Poppers are specifically designed to be popped along the surface. Since the baits float, they can be paused for long periods of time. In terms of topwater, they’re an ideal option for beginners. They can be worked fast or slow and pack some serious fish drawing punch into a small profile. Eurotackle’s Z-Popper is the ultimate choice for finesse anglers looking to add micro-sized topwater lures to their arsenal. At 1.75 inches, and 1/8 oz, this micro popper is perfect for panfish, trout, and bass. For anglers looking for a little more drawing potential, Caperlan’s line of premium WXM PPR poppers are an effective option. The PPR comes in two sizes, 50 mm and 65 mm and feature a feathered treble at the rear – which can be very helpful at convincing the wary bass into biting. Whether you pop them, twitch them, or walk them, these lure options are perfect poppers for any angler.
Walking baits are also a great option for topwater anglers. While this category takes a little more practice than poppers, or other topwater styles, the added effort can pay dividends on the water. Walking baits, or walk the dog baits – like Caperlan’s WXM STK – have the ability to draw fish in front great distances. The STK line, in particular, were specifically designed by European engineers to plus-sized European Perch. That being said, they’re fantastic finesse options for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The STK is offered in two sizes – 45 mm and 70 mm.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again – have the right tool for the job. Every style of fishing has specific gear requirements that allow anglers to get the most ‘bang for the buck.’ Topwater fishing is no different.
One of the biggest mistakes that anglers can make with topwater lures relates to line choice. In many angling scenarios, fluorocarbon is king – expect when it comes to topwater. While it’s essentially invisible in the water, fluorocarbon sinks, which can be problematic with topwater lures. Most anglers rely braid, mono, or a combination of both, for working topwater lures.
When it comes to rods for topwater angling, there’s a lot of variability. Generally, anglers opt for slightly shorter rod for these techniques, as they aid in the overall workability of the lures. Rods in the 6-to-7-foot class are effective for working a wide variety of lures. Fast to Extra Fast actions are typically preferred as well. Rod power has a little more variability, as it’s more related to fish species and lure size.
If you haven’t spent any time targeting fish via topwater, it’s safe to say you’re missing out. If you poll a number of anglers on their favorite style of fishing, you’re likely to find a majority that would lean towards topwater. There’s something about explosive topwater blowups that’s hard to replicate with any other style of angling. This late summer period is a great opportunity to give it a try. Employ the right lures, key in on the right areas, and rely on the right conditions.