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detroithiker

Can anyone recommend a top water that is best for learning?

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I always see fish hitting the waters surface but never really learned to fish that action.
I have picked up a few lures for it but I can never seem to make any lure cause a strike when the fish are hitting the bugs.
Now I am not just talking about the evening, I am mostly referring to middle of the day surface feeding.

So where should I start? The popper, Jitterbug, and hollow frog I own all seem far to big when they are just grabbin little bugs.
I have tried all three and just give up after about 20 casts or so without as much as a little splash.

Now I know I need practice before I can catch anything with topwater bait and I have watched videos for each of the three, but it seems like the fish are feeding on such small bugs you would have to be fly fishing to really imitate them.

Can anyone recommend a top water that is best for learning?

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Popper and super spook. Try early in the morning around cover. Also try hollow belly frog in grass 

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The Zara spook I would say is a good learning bait. Imho, it's a foundation lure that will teach how to walk baits. You walk a spook, you can walk every other bait that can be walked. 

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I think a spook or a buzzbait are the easiest to learn. You say that you see fish hitting small bugs, are you sure they are not panfish?

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I have always had good luck with Buzzbaits and Jitterbugs. Love that topwater strike!

 

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I think it's important to realize what the fish are feeding on. If you are sure they are bass, are they hitting baitfish on the surface? Blowing up on frogs up shallow? Sucking bugs off the surface (something I usually associate with panfish). It's best to try and imitate what they are feeding on. If you show up to the lake and there are hundreds of ripples, most likely it's panfish sucking bugs off the surface. Larger bass generally are not going to be bothered with hitting tiny flies that had the misfortune of crash landing into the water. Most bass surface lures are going to be mimicking baitfish of some sort. I think the easiest for you to learn would be a spook, buzzbait, or  jitterbug. 

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Zara Spook. Learn a loop/rapala knot and teach yourself how to walk the dog. 

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I would have to say popper here as far as ease of use. Super fun and when the bass want that type of bite it doesn't get better. Spooks are awesome too. For me spooks work better walked slowly and stopped every few feet if you can help it. I have to agree about bass not wasting time on little bugs. It is probably bluegill or rockbass creating those stirs. I fished topwater exclusively for two years as I knew no better. So i had alot of time with my poppers and spooks.

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A duo pencil is supper easy to work and i have done well on them.  They do walk easy and should teach you the feel to work other spook type baits.

http://duo-international.com/products/realis-pencil-85/

 

 I also like the DUO bug.

http://duo-inc.co.jp/bass/en/realis-grade-a/shinmushi/

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As far as easy to use, a spook, popper, and buzz bait cover your basics for open water and a frog, mouse, or even T-rigged creature/craw/worms thrown across pads cover your vegetation options.  To make things really simple, associate poppers and spooks with open water/above submerged grass and frogs with surface vegetation.  Make things simple.

Once you start to learn basics of presentation, it's important to understand conditions.  Most daytime insect bites are likely to be panfish, so don't frustrate yourself throwing a 5" walking bait at a 4" fish.  Similarly, understand when it's in your best interest to throw a top water and when it's very inefficient.  If you're throwing them over exposed shallow flats in the middle of the summer with a big bright sun overhead and the temperature pushing 90 degrees, you're likely to become more frustrated than successful.  Don't worry about when to "break the rules" fishing a bait or how to be successful with it under difficult conditions until you have a good understanding of the basics and some mastery of the core presentations.  Throw them early, late, when it's overcast and when you see bait pushed to the surface because that's when you'll have success, build confidence, and you'll actually be able to take notes.  

 

Good luck, man! Topwater fishing is as fun as it gets. 

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Nothing more exciting than a good topwater bite.    I typically start every fishing trip trying one type of top water or another.  There are many good topwater baits that are easy to learn the basics of.  Some of the baits that I have used that are both easy to walk and catch are, the Heddon Superspook Jr, Lucky Craft Sammy, (lots of good copies of this bait) Cavitron buzzbaits, they get on top the water quick and allow you to move your bait slower than most. and lastly I prefer the Jackall Iobee frog, it is one of the easiest frogs to walk and requires no modifications out of the package.   

These are my personal choices, they may not be right for you, but they will certainly get you started in the right direction.

 

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If I had to recommend 3 lures to learn/gain confidence in topwater fishing (along with my personal recommendation) :

 

1. Popper (Rapala Skitter Pop)

2. Buzzbait (Megastrike Cavitron)

3. Wake bait (Jitterbug, Rapala DT Fat 1 or Storm Arashi Wake)

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A beginner can use them all . The only one even a little bit difficult is a walking bait and they are easily learned .You could always get a floating Rapala and just let it set .  My favorite is a buzzbait and all you do is reel it in .

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torpedo or buzzbait or rage tail toads or the various rebel floater/divers. i got a lot of top water blowups on the rebels the instant they hit the water, youre likely to catch a lot of panfish with them too though...

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Topwater, in general, has been among the easiest things to learn... You can see the lure working, so there's immediate, visible feedback.  And since the different flavors of topwater are have their own nuances (buzz frog vs hollow-body, pop-r vs spook, etc), I think it's worth just picking one that you think looks like fun and focusing there.

The hardest thing about topwater is slowing down your brain enough to resist snatching the bait away after the strike.  That heartbeat between toilet-flush and reel-and-set seems like an eternity.

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It sounds like you already have a heavy rod if you're fishing frogs, so I'm going to go a different direction - get a whopper plopper or a Mini MS Slammer in black or bluegill. Slow retrieve on the surface so they can do what they do. Don't. Look. Back.

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An MS Slamer is a solid choice if you have the rod to handle it!!!  An s-waiver is also sweet.

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The Strike King Rage Shad. You rig it weedless so you can throw it anywhere. When you're not worried about losing it, you can experiment with different retrieves, cadences etc. You can then apply that to other topwater baits. Good luck!!

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Spooks, poppers and humpin toads

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One of the easiest (if there are no surface weeds) is the Heddon Baby Torpedo. And it is very effective. You just toss it out and reel it in.  When it gets bit, you just keep reeling. No fancy hookset or special timing needed.

BTW, I'd bet those guys popping bugs on the surface are bream of some sort. There may be hungry bass below them awaiting an opportunity to nab an innocent little bluegill. Maybe toss a senko where the bug suckers are feeding and let it sink to the bottom on semi-slack line.

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It's easy to vary the retrieve on Jitterbugs and poppers.  You can see what the bait is doing.

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On 7/31/2016 at 7:01 PM, detroithiker said:

I always see fish hitting the waters surface but never really learned to fish that action.
I have picked up a few lures for it but I can never seem to make any lure cause a strike when the fish are hitting the bugs.
Now I am not just talking about the evening, I am mostly referring to middle of the day surface feeding.

So where should I start? The popper, Jitterbug, and hollow frog I own all seem far to big when they are just grabbin little bugs.
I have tried all three and just give up after about 20 casts or so without as much as a little splash.

Now I know I need practice before I can catch anything with topwater bait and I have watched videos for each of the three, but it seems like the fish are feeding on such small bugs you would have to be fly fishing to really imitate them.

Can anyone recommend a top water that is best for learning?

I'm no expert but for the most part, I have very little luck with topwater in the middle of the day. Very early and late in the day outproduce midday topwater 10 to 1 for me. Also, 20 casts and give up?? Sounds to me like your're fishing the same water, the same way, and expecting different results. Cover some water!!  If you are looking to catch those little ones hitting bugs on the surface, fly fish with a little popper or drag a popper behind a float that can be partially filled with water to add some weight for casting. If you're not interested in the panfish, try the topwater bite early and late as stated before.

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On 7/31/2016 at 7:47 PM, Jon G said:

I think a spook or a buzzbait are the easiest to learn. You say that you see fish hitting small bugs, are you sure they are not panfish?

I've seen catfish come up to the top and do the same thing, thinking they where bass I was throwing every top water I had until I realized they where cats 

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