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Jar11591

Topwater For Smallies, More Effective Than For Largies?

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Does anyone else feel like smallmouth are significantly more willing to bite on topwater than largemouth are? I have fished for both species extensively and it seems like during evening and early morning hours, the smallmouth cant wait for the popper to hit the water before exploding on it. But in largemouth lakes that i fish in, it seems fairly rare to get a strike on topwater, whether its a buzzbait, popper, walking stick or a frog i throw over the lillies, even in spots i know there are fish. Any ideas/input?

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I do better with topwaters on smallies too. 

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Nope, I catch way more largemouth on topwaters than smallmouth and largemouth usually seem more willing to hit topwaters than smallies. I really wish it wasn't that way but that's how it seems to work out for me. It does depend a little bit on the bait though. If I'm fishing buzzbaits it's probably 95% largemouth but if I'm fishing a walking bait or popper I'll get a better mix of the two. To me, spotted bass seem the most predisposed to hitting topwaters, probably because they tend to school so much so you get the competition strikes.

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We have a very good smallmouth fishery, but the topwater bite is overwhelmingly largemouth.

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  I am a diehard topwater fisherman, and while I will agree that smallmouth will try to destroy these lures, I have had great success with largemouth as well. I can usually get either species at any time of the day so long as the water surface isn't too choppy. The only exception I've seen to this rule is with a buzzbait, as a light chop can actually be better with a buzzbait.

   For topwater largemouth I fish it in and around structure 75% of the time...especially with pads or grass. The other way I've had good success with for larger bass is to fish them over deep water (8-15') with clear water seemingly being preferred.

   The one difference between smallmouth & largemouth with topwaters is the action you impart on the lure.... smallmouth will generally nail a popper regardless of action, but largemouth seemingly prefer a more subtle action be it walking the dog or whatnot. Another ticket to largemouth would be a radical direction change, especially with a buzzbait. Running your lure into structure will also trigger a lot of strikes.

  Hope this helps, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Kirk

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To me it is more of where you catch the smallies.  I fish moslty rivers for smallies and i agree that i get more of a topwater bite for smallmout but i believe it is more because of the type of fishery and the lack of available forage, meaning they are more opportunistic feeders.  I have fished for smallies all day and never took a topwater off the fly rod but that is rarely the case in largemouth fishing.

 

One thing i will add is that i do not tend to get the big girls smallmouth fishing on topwater unless it is a prime condition for them where largemouth it seems to be more sprad out as far as size goes.

 

Lake smallies, i cannot comment because i have never caught a smallie in non-moving water.

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I think smallies are more apt to hit them year-round more than largies, but Zell Rowland would disagree!

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  I am a diehard topwater fisherman, and while I will agree that smallmouth will try to destroy these lures, I have had great success with largemouth as well. I can usually get either species at any time of the day so long as the water surface isn't too choppy. The only exception I've seen to this rule is with a buzzbait, as a light chop can actually be better with a buzzbait.

   For topwater largemouth I fish it in and around structure 75% of the time...especially with pads or grass. The other way I've had good success with for larger bass is to fish them over deep water (8-15') with clear water seemingly being preferred.

   The one difference between smallmouth & largemouth with topwaters is the action you impart on the lure.... smallmouth will generally nail a popper regardless of action, but largemouth seemingly prefer a more subtle action be it walking the dog or whatnot. Another ticket to largemouth would be a radical direction change, especially with a buzzbait. Running your lure into structure will also trigger a lot of strikes.

  Hope this helps, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Kirk

Interesting...so a more subtle approach for LM? I do catch them on topwater occassionally, it just seems like smallies are far more willing topwater biters. Wierd thing is i fish for largemouth a lot more, and i dont have a problem catching them with other methods, just cant get consistent with the topwater.

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   Subtleness can often make the difference with topwater baits. I have the most success "walking the dog" (make the lure continually go left to right/side to side) by twitching the rod in quick, short, downward snaps. This is critical if using a cigar style bait such as a Zara Spook. With the spook alone I usually have 3 models of the same lure..one with no rattles, the standard issue spook with rattles and the one knocker spook, just let the bass tell you what they want. To generalize this, the clearer the water, the less noise I want from the lure. That is not a hard fast rule mind you, but it is a good starting point for me. You'd work a Lucky Craft Sammy the same way, and I can even work a popper the same way. The one thing I noticed when fishing poppers is that clear water requires a more subtle action and dingy water will find me making a commotion on the surface...again, not a hard & fast rule.....

   The other important part of this equation in my experience is structure or cover... an example would be fishing stick-up or wood that breaks the surface of the water... don't be afraid of snagging (I know, with the price of some of these lures this can be a scary proposition, but well worth the risk...besides, I've never snagged a topwater I couldn't retrieve after I was done fishing the area) as I want to bang that topwater off of any piece of structure that I can find. That really seems to trigger some vicious strikes from largemouth as well as smallmouth, though it is far more common with largemouth in my area.

   One pointer I offer to anyone fishing topwater is to be patient setting the hook. That took me a lot of missed hook-ups until I was able to settle myself down with the hook sets. I know wait until I feel the fish before setting the hook. I can't tell you how many times I hooked up on the second strike as the bass missed the lure on the 1st attempt... and if you set the hook as soon as you see the boil on the water you'll miss a lot of Bass. The easiest way to learn this when working a stick bait is to try not to focus on the lure... I will work mine back just going off of sound on days that I'm setting the hook too quickly and go strictly by feel. I usually have to do this for my 1st dozen casts with a topwater to allow myself to settle down.

   My other pointer is to make sure you continually stay up on your hooks. With treble hook lures I will wind up changing the hooks (or sharpening them in a pinch) every 3rd or 4th trip out when I use the same lure. I tie my own feathered trebles to boot and carry a variety of hook styles, sizes and dressing colors with me most of the time. No feeling is worse than losing a place in a tournament knowing you had the fish on but was unable to land it due to it becoming unbuttoned due to a slightly dull hook.

   Have a good one, Kirk.

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When the conditions are right, both smb & lmb come up to clobber topwater baits.

 

Whether it's frogs in some vegetation for Green bass or walking baits through the boulders for bronze backs and in some rare and very special times and places, you get both large & small mouth hitting the baits. 

 

I can not declare either one a better surface feeding fish over the other.

 

A-Jay

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One of my best "The One That Got Away" involved a Zara Spook. I was facing west as the sun came up.

When this smallmouth jumped it was bright gold reflecting the sun. As I remember the event, she looked

to be about 12 lbs 1oz. I guess she thought we were playing catch and threw the Spook nearly all the way

back to the boat.

 

 

 

:fishing-026:

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I tend to catch more largemouth topwater fishing, but when a smallmouth wants a topwater they absolutely smash it with a hatred only a smallie can have.

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Depends on where you are it seems like. The river i fish I use a buzzbait as a search bait to cover the area and see where I get a hit or a reaction and then slow down and check it out real good. Largemouth are the biggest hitters on that river when it comes to topwater. But seems like you get out on the big lakes where smallies can school up then you get em coming from 15 ft down to hit a top water as hard as they can.

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I definitely do better with smallies on topwater over largies. on lakes i've been in you throw a popper down shore line over some structure with some calm waters you can usually grab 5-6 in a evening... but for largemouth i find only time im productive enough is on a good set of pads...nice big opening and little froggy going acrossed 

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In my experience, it depends on the lures.  Here is a list of my experiences for topwater

 

1. Buzzbaits - Overwhelmingly Largemouth

2. Hollow body/Plastic Frogs - Overwhelmingly Largemouth

3. Poppers - About 50/50

4. Jitterbugs - Smallies tend to favor, but not by a lot

 

So if you added all that up, in general Largies seem to be the winner for me. 

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I definitely do better with smallies on topwater over largies. on lakes i've been in you throw a popper down shore line over some structure with some calm waters you can usually grab 5-6 in a evening... but for largemouth i find only time im productive enough is on a good set of pads...nice big opening and little froggy going acrossed 

Crazy how it differs for you and me and we are both in Southern Ontario. 

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I tend to catch more largemouth topwater fishing, but when a smallmouth wants a topwater they absolutely smash it with a hatred only a smallie can have.

I'll agree with that too, I have had also smallmouth come from deep water too for a top water (15-20+).  However, a largemouth can be just as aggressive once in awhile.  To date the biggest hit on a top water has been a largemouth for me.  This probably 2-3 lber tried to nail my hollow body frog, he over shot it and was flying in the air a good few feet.  It was comical. 

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I definitely do better with smallies on topwater over largies. on lakes i've been in you throw a popper down shore line over some structure with some calm waters you can usually grab 5-6 in a evening... but for largemouth i find only time im productive enough is on a good set of pads...nice big opening and little froggy going acrossed

I have noticed the same thing, and I always figured that smallmouth were just more catchable on topwater. But based on the answers here, I guess that isn't the case. Gonna try some new approaches this year with surface lures.

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