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detroithiker

Is it wrong to think top water has small window of opportunity?

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Is there only a small window of opportunity to use them, like dusk and dawn?

I am new and I have no faith in top water frogs and poppers.

Seems like a given bass fisherman would only use it cuz its exciting, same man could be more successful with other baits.

I know they can work but I always quit using it cuz I think the lack of a bite means I should be using something else.

I have watched every video I can find about using top water and I understand where I should be casting each.

Every time I use them I get nothing, I always try to devote a full hour to learning them but nothing happens, it could just be that the conditions have never been right and I need to learn to read those conditions better.

I have never caught a fish on top water and just don't think it could ever be the best choice for a given lake, it could be the best choice for a spot but never the best choice when you could go to a different section of the lake with better odds.

Am I wrong to doubt the reliability of topwater baits like hollow body frogs or poppers?

Please remember I am new and trying to learn

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Every location is different so you are going to get different answers. In South Florida topwaters are effective any time of day,at least in the locations I fish in.Hollow body lures tend to do best fished on or near aquatic vegetation(lily pads, hydrilla,etc) and hard plastic/wooden topwaters tend to do well when fished near heavy cover,near aquatic vegetation,or even in open waters if the conditions are right. Don't give up on topwaters since these types of fishing lures are very useful in many situations. 

42 minutes ago, detroithiker said:

 

Seems like a given bass fisherman would only use it cuz its exciting, same man could be more successful with other baits.

You will be surprised how effective topwaters can be for both numbers of bass and size of bass if you spend the time needed to learn how to use these lures in various conditions. 

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I caught my PB on a top water. A rapala skitter pop which is a popper like you mentioned. Mid day. In June. Over a sunken tree. 

I also have good success with frogs over dense vegetation.. you could use punching gear... but the frog bite is exciting and excellent. Bass eat any thing they can fit their mouths around. And if its a big bass. That's anything from adult bluegill to bullfrogs , snakes and even small ducklings. 

Top water is not a gimmick. It's a proven technique.

This is in ohio. A long ways away from soflabasser. Yet just as effective. All across the globe top water is utilized. 

I wouldn't give up on it. Like I said I've caught bass top water mid day in the blistering heat. But it is definitely most effective (for me) with an overcast and a slight breeze. Also dusk and dawn.. there are many versions of top water, I suggest a buzz bait , soft plastic frog (something like the rage toad) or a classic jitterbug. Also can't go wrong with the classic popper . I'm not sure who the first to make one is.. but my favorites are the rebel pop-r and the rapala skitter pop. 

Also walking baits can be deadly. Like the Zara spook. Im a huge rapala fan so I use their version , the skitter walk. Alot of companies have one but I suggest you nail a couple on some others suggested above before you get frustrated trying to walk the dog. 

It's supposed to be fun ! Keep an open mind. And go get you a hawg. (Top water style ?) 

Good luck. 

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I guess I'm not really understanding the question? You mean it has a small window like the time of day it's effective or just the locations it can be effective? Neither is the case, that's for sure.

Some days the fish will be feeding on and near the surface and topwater will be the best way to go from start to finish. This past month has been a great buzzbait bite for me all day. Not only catching numbers, but big fish including my biggest LMB of the year so far. Today was another good day for the buzzbait and a frog as well. The frog produced the largest of the day but the buzzbait was getting more bites, which is pretty common for me. 

I'd rather fish a jig or plastic than topwater, so it's certainly not just that I like fishing topwater. 

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What they said, lol.  

The thing is, all of the different techniques, lures, presentations, etc are tools.  They can all be effective when fished in the right conditions, or useless/frustrating when fished under the wrong conditions.  Learning those conditions is part of what makes this sport a different challenge every day.  

 

My .02 on top water... I've caught excellent numbers on all of the baits mentioned above, and have generally found that top water fish tend to be bigger than average fish.  

I guess it might be helpful to ask where, how, and when are you fishing poppers and frogs?  There are plenty of folks here capable of giving you pointers and upping that success rate. 

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Top water baits, like all bass baits, are an issue of, "right place, right time".  I've had fish completely ignore a weightless Senko, which, by all common logic, is supposed to be the one fail-safe for bass fisherman and then turn around and destroy a buzzbait.  Sometimes a hollow-body frog is the only thing that is possible to throw in a clump of lily pads without wanting to throw yourself in after getting hung up 10 consecutive casts.  Do yourself a favor and choose sunrise and sunset and find a bank with reeds, pads, cattails, grass, or some other kind of cover, and do nothing but cast along that stuff with whatever topwater you choose.  You'll get confidence in it.  

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Since your name is Detroithiker,  Im imagining your fishing some smallie waters. And since you mentioned ability to move to different sections of a lake, Im thinking you have a boat.

 Do you fish in the early morning?

 Early morning smallies on topwaters is EPIC! Fantastic! and Phenominal!  How a bass angler in such a locale, could even consider negating topwaters, just boggles my mind.

  Before your next fishing trip,... Go to your local tackleshop or basspro, buy a rebel pop-r with a white belly, Use a med action rod, with 10 pd test green stren line, attach the pop-r via a small snap. Head out early in the morning just as the suns rising, with a slight ripple or even a laydowned waters surface.. squirt some scent on the pop-r, to mask yours and factories scent, cast it out as far as you can over any semi-shallow cover, be it rockpiles, weeds, laydowns etc.,... allow the rings from the splash to disipate. Slowly reel up to the pop-r, Just before the line pulls on the lure, give a quick twitch to the rods tip. This should create a distinctive "BA-Bloop" sound. Wait till the rings disipate again, repeat.

 If this lure doesnt get slammed by a smallie, there's either none around, or you made to much noise. And if you think the waters too deep? smallies will come from 40 to 50 feet of water to slam a topwater.,..

 As for hollowed bodied frogs? any emergent weeds can hold bass, in the summertime til those weeds die off, especially under clear skies with sun beating down,. I just cast it out on top of the weeds and slowly, consistently, reel it back to me.

 These two techniques are, and have been, staples for many years now. and if they fail? theres no fish there, slowly move along and continue to fish, you should get a hit eventually. Be diligent, stick to it. Sooner or later, your going to get a bite

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I  dont stick with them for long if I'm not getting bit .  If the conditions are right , clouds , slight chop on the water I will give them a go but they better produce fast for me or I'm switching .

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1 hour ago, Keith "Hamma" Hatch said:

Since your name is Detroithiker,  Im imagining your fishing some smallie waters. And since you mentioned ability to move to different sections of a lake, Im thinking you have a boat.

 Do you fish in the early morning?

 Early morning smallies on topwaters is EPIC! Fantastic! and Phenominal!  How a bass angler in such a locale, could even consider negating topwaters, just boggles my mind.

  Before your next fishing trip,... Go to your local tackleshop or basspro, buy a rebel pop-r with a white belly, Use a med action rod, with 10 pd test green stren line, attach the pop-r via a small snap. Head out early in the morning just as the suns rising, with a slight ripple or even a laydowned waters surface.. squirt some scent on the pop-r, to mask yours and factories scent, cast it out as far as you can over any semi-shallow cover, be it rockpiles, weeds, laydowns etc.,... allow the rings from the splash to disipate. Slowly reel up to the pop-r, Just before the line pulls on the lure, give a quick twitch to the rods tip. This should create a distinctive "BA-Bloop" sound. Wait till the rings disipate again, repeat.

 If this lure doesnt get slammed by a smallie, there's either none around, or you made to much noise. And if you think the waters too deep? smallies will come from 40 to 50 feet of water to slam a topwater.,..

 As for hollowed bodied frogs? any emergent weeds can hold bass, in the summertime til those weeds die off, especially under clear skies with sun beating down,. I just cast it out on top of the weeds and slowly, consistently, reel it back to me.

 These two techniques are, and have been, staples for many years now. and if they fail? theres no fish there, slowly move along and continue to fish, you should get a hit eventually. Be diligent, stick to it. Sooner or later, your going to get a bite

Thank you for taking the time to give me all the tips, I am new and trying to learn.

Its hard to avoid getting frustrated when its you lack of skill that is the problem, nothing worse than being angry with your self right?

39 minutes ago, scaleface said:

I  dont stick with them for long if I'm not getting bit .  If the conditions are right , clouds , slight chop on the water I will give them a go but they better produce fast for me or I'm switching .

See! now this is exactly what I do every time!

I get no action and switch to something like a square bill or drag a worm and BAMB! I get hit right away, this is what destroys my confidence in the lures.

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until water temps drop to below 60, i have some sort of topwater tied on all times and this year, it has been 2 or 3 different ones.  I have enjoyed a really good topwater bite this season at all times of day and night.  It is about the situation you are presented and your ability to entice a strike with the topwater.  

Some of my bigger fish on topwater have been caught mid day near cover.

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Often,.. the only way to gain confidence in a "new to you lure" is to go out and fish just that lure, nothing else. Stick to that lure!  Dont get mad, be stringent on learning the new lure,..or if you still get mad?, you can use that anger to be defiant towards your lack of knowledge. Get it in your mind that you are going to learn this topwater thing no matter what. You can even go so far as to just leave all other type lures home. Instead, take a few different topwaters with you ,.like a heddons torpedo for choppier water surface, or a zara spook for laydown surface,.. etc.

 If you do fish smallie waters from a boat, find a rocky lake with a bunch of submerged rocky hazards, go out in the early morning and fish those hazards with that pop-r,.. It will work, smallies love crayfish and those rocky hazards, should have some, at least most lakes rockpiles will

I know that when you have a technique or lure that works for you, its difficult to avoid using it, when what you are doing isnt working. But, although getting stuck on just a few lures will work to put some fish in the boat, you will catch more with more techniques

 I think there's a topwater thread here in the Tackle forum, describing tips and techniques on how to use each topwater lure. check it out

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To me and where I fish the most, there are 2 types of fishing.  Hollow body froggin and everything else.  The lake I fish the most has a LOT of little fingers and little areas that are FULL of surface muck.  Without a frog about 1/3 to 1/2 the lake would be shutoff to me.  I typically start the day fishing everything else until the sun gets high in the sky and then I switch to a frog and the REAL ACTION starts.  Those big girls go up into those grarly areas and just lie in wait for me to throw my frog in there and then KABOOM!  The fight is on.  The closest thing to hand to hand combat you can have with a fish.  I LOOOVE it.  BUT...more than just thinking it's a hoot, it is also very very productive.  Do NOT give up on Frogs and top water in general.  When that bite is on, NOTHING is more productive and will produce some huge fish.  My PB is ALSO on Top water as I suspect a lot of guy's are.

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"Is it wrong to think top water has small window of opportunity?"

Yup.

You got to get this through your head: you will never know if you don´t try.

Like with every lure is a matter of timing: the right location, the right presentation, the right conditions.

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I often try top water stuff throughout the day, but I don't stick with it very long if I don't have success.  If you're fishing around standing timber and you think the fish are suspended I think a popper or a spook is worth a try.

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I'll at least try a topwater almost every time I'm out, with the following rules of thumb:

--cloudy, overcast, dawn, dusk, low light I will always try a topwater for awhile before giving up. Here I like walking baits, buzzbaits, propbaits.

--When the sun is out, I'll keep a topwater handy in case I find shade -- i'll zip a popper or propbait into the shade of a dock or under an overhanging tree.

--I'll try a hollow bodied frog in pads/slop any time.

--I might also try a few random topwater casts here and there any time there isn't otherwise an obvious pattern. 

--If I'm catching them I stick with it; if I'm throwing one for awhile without getting a blowup, I'll put it away.

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Topwater fishing is definitely not your normal bass fishing with rubber worms. A lot of it does vary on location. For instance in PA i do extremely well on poppers and walking baits especially at dawn or dusk, but working these lures down weedlines has produced fish for me at all times of day. I've never really got a response on the hollow bodied lures up here though. I mean, I catch fish on them, but normally if I'm gonna fish topwater I'm throwing a Heddon One Knocker Spook, an X-Rap Popper, or a Jitterbug. Try different cadences for the lures as well you'd be surprised how a slightly different action on a topwater could change your entire day of fishing. Hope this helps!

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13 hours ago, detroithiker said:

 

Is there only a small window of opportunity to use them, like dusk and dawn?

I am new and I have no faith in top water frogs and poppers.

Seems like a given bass fisherman would only use it cuz its exciting, same man could be more successful with other baits.

I know they can work but I always quit using it cuz I think the lack of a bite means I should be using something else.

I have watched every video I can find about using top water and I understand where I should be casting each.

Every time I use them I get nothing, I always try to devote a full hour to learning them but nothing happens, it could just be that the conditions have never been right and I need to learn to read those conditions better.

I have never caught a fish on top water and just don't think it could ever be the best choice for a given lake, it could be the best choice for a spot but never the best choice when you could go to a different section of the lake with better odds.

Am I wrong to doubt the reliability of topwater baits like hollow body frogs or poppers?

Please remember I am new and trying to learn

Welcome to bass fishing.

What you have read and learned about top water bite being higher percentage during dusk and dawn is correct....if the bass active feeding near the surface at that those time periods. Most bass anglers like to catch bass on top water lures followed by faster moving lures because it's fun see bass strike a top water and most bass anglers like to cast retreive faster moving lures.

When to use top water lures is usually trail and error like most other presentations. I look for evidence of surface feeding activity, a swirl, splash, baitfish, frogs, terrestrial critters swimming on or near the surface any time of the day or night.

The reason bass anglers have lots of lures is the fish have a mind of their own and we don't know what they are thinking. 

If your goal is to catch top water fish keep trying, if you simply want to catch bass don't get locked onto any one type of lure.

Tom

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I use a general rule of thumb around dusk and dawn I will throw topwater just about anywhere. Later in the day I throw close to cover. The only difference is I fish in water that is no deeper than 8 feet. Hope that helps.

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Last year I caught bass on topwater on every outing in the spring, summer, and fall.  It didn't matter if the sun was out, cloudy, night, or day.  This year I could count the topwater bites I've had on one hand.

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5 hours ago, WRB said:

 

The reason bass anglers have lots of lures is the fish have a mind of their own and we don't know what they are thinking. 

 

Tom

Yeah...that's exactly the reason.  At least this is exactly the reason I tell the wife.  It has NOTHING to do with the fact that we just like gear.:lol:

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3 hours ago, Bankbeater said:

Last year I caught bass on topwater on every outing in the spring, summer, and fall.  It didn't matter if the sun was out, cloudy, night, or day.  This year I could count the topwater bites I've had on one hand.

Now this is good to learn, knowing that there will be times that a good bait just will not work and that those times could last for days weeks even most of a season is very helpful info, thanks.

The more I learn the less I need!

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8 hours ago, detroithiker said:

Now this is good to learn, knowing that there will be times that a good bait just will not work and that those times could last for days weeks even most of a season is very helpful info, thanks.

The more I learn the less I need!

OH,.. Contraire!

The more you learn about bass fishing the more you "will" need.

 More lures, more rods, more line, more tackle boxes, more boats (as in ,... puddle jumper, canoe, bass boat, kayak, etc:). and yes ,.even more knowledge,.....The "needs"???? are almost endless. Ive been bass fishing for 50 years, and im still learning, as new techniques evolve, and still buying, to apply those new techniques.

 Although some like the senko, and ned rig Ive yet to jump in on, Im sure I'll get to them some day.,..Its more like I have older techniques that do much the same.

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This time of year especially, but really anytime the fish are feeding I use buzzbaits, walkers, and  poppers quite a bit. It's like any other technique,  if I'm getting bites or seeing fish feeding on top then I'm throwing them until I stop getting bites. If not then I turn to other techniques. 

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My fishing buddy and I fished a small(20 boats) team tournament on southern lake champlain last Sunday. We finished 3rd and almost all of out fish were caught on topwater (hollow body frog and Spook) and all 5 of our keepers were.

I fished another tournament in July and finished 9th, and again, all my fish were caught on topwater, this time a Whopper Plopper and black Cavitron buzzbait. I didn't even start throwing the buzzbait until 11am.

If the body of water and the conditions are right, topwater baits are great producers, and many times produce bigger fish. If you give up on topwaters you'll be missing out on a lot of fun and some great fishing.

 

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