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EGbassing

Does topwater not work in some ponds?

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I've been fishing the same pond for a couple years now because it's the only one in walking distance. In that time, I've spent hours upon hours fishing topwater, and only had one topwater bite. Even in the spring when I know they're in shallow cover I can throw a frog/spook/popper on the edges of cover for thirty minutes without a bite, then pitch a jig to the same spot and catch one on my first cast. I've tried it early in the morning, at sunset, at night, and everything in between and still only one bite on any kind of topwater since I started bass fishing this pond a couple years ago. It's just confusing. So does topwater just not work in some ponds? 

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I've fished a few bodies of water where getting a topwater bite is extremely difficult. Put on a subsurface bait and it's game on, so it isn't like they aren't biting, just won't come to the surface for some reason. 

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Have you tried various topwater lures other than hardbaits?

 

Sometimes I have better luck with a fluke or a paddletail softbait like a toad. 

Just a thought, also have you tried various sizes? Sometimes a smaller bait on top can be key. 

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There is a small 6 acre private pond I fish all the time.  It is fairly shallow, 6-7 feet at the deepest with great lily pads and shallow weed cover.  In three years I think I've caught maybe 4 or 5 fish on topwater.  Senkos, cranks, chatterbaits are the way to go there.  No idea why, just know it's the way it is. 

 

I caught this one on a Senko dropped into the weeds.

bass2.jpg

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1 hour ago, NittyGrittyBoy said:

Have you tried various topwater lures other than hardbaits?

 

Sometimes I have better luck with a fluke or a paddletail softbait like a toad. 

Just a thought, also have you tried various sizes? Sometimes a smaller bait on top can be key. 

Yup. I've tried tiny poppers, giant spooks, and everything in between. Also tried buzzbaits and frogs.

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Interesting.

-Is there a water clarity difference?

-Is this one pretty much devoid of cover?

-Depth? Does this one drop off quickly along the banks?

-Anything else different you can think of?

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It can be really odd at certain places. I've got one place you can't keep fish off a topwater and another where a topwater bite will be very rare. It can be a number of things. It seems to me the smaller, shallower and weedier a pond is, the more likely you'll get topwater bites. I guess the primary forage can make a difference. If fish don't "need" to look up for food they probably won't. If they're well-fed, they're less likely to chase something that doesn't look like their forage. And, of course, water temp is the biggest variable in topwater efficiency. Cooler temps just = fewer and shorter topwater opportunities. Mine are all but over for the winter.

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All that can be said is some ponds are not equal to others when it come to how aggressive the fish are. I fished a fairly large pond for many years and never did good on topwaters with casting gear but if i put a small popper or dry fly on my fly rod and i would catch everything from small perch and bluegills to fairly large bass (2-3 lbs)

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 My home lake  is shallow and weedy.

I have a poor to mediocre topwater hardbait bite at best. 

In complete contrast, I often have a good to excellent topwater bite on moving plastics, such as lizards, ribbon tailed worms, flukes, ,and senko-type baits, esp. around grass. That's if I can get them up on top before they get clobbered 😉

 

 

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This year the top water bite down here was limited at best. 

 

Despite what we think...the bass will do what they want

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I wonder if it's a matter of the bass avoiding topwater lures to keep themselves safe from predation by birds?  There are an increasing number of raptors in the areas I fish and it's not uncommon to see a few of them circling over a lot of the ponds.  Last year I had an S-Waver stolen by an osprey and had severely more close calls to the point where I don't fish topwater/subsurface lures if the birds are being aggressive.  

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22 minutes ago, fishwizzard said:

I wonder if it's a matter of the bass avoiding topwater lures to keep themselves safe from predation by birds?  There are an increasing number of raptors in the areas I fish and it's not uncommon to see a few of them circling over a lot of the ponds.  Last year I had an S-Waver stolen by an osprey and had severely more close calls to the point where I don't fish topwater/subsurface lures if the birds are being aggressive.  

There are a lot of herons here. I wonder if that could be it...?

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8 minutes ago, EGbassing said:

There are a lot of herons here. I wonder if that could be it...?

I don't know if herons are big enough to bother an adult bass.  Ospreys can get to like a 4-5' wingspan, I have seen them ****** up a ~2' carp before so I am sure they could grab a bass that gets too shallow.   

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20 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

Interesting.

-Is there a water clarity difference?

-Is this one pretty much devoid of cover?

-Depth? Does this one drop off quickly along the banks?

-Anything else different you can think of?

It's fairly stained water. There's a decent amount of shoreline weeds, laydowns, etc. It's really shallow in half the lake (2 - 4 feet) and the other half of the pond just drops off to deeper water (5 -10 feet). It's kind of odd.

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I find it sometimes I want to make the bass bite what I want to fish with.

 

As an angler, it's our goal to give the bass what they want instead of what we want. So if they want jigs instead of topwater, well jigs it is.

 

Maybe try to find a different pond or lake for a better topwater bite?

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4 hours ago, EGbassing said:

It's fairly stained water. There's a decent amount of shoreline weeds, laydowns, etc. It's really shallow in half the lake (2 - 4 feet) and the other half of the pond just drops off to deeper water (5 -10 feet). It's kind of odd.

Hmmm... "Does topwater not work on some waters?" I wouldn't know really. But I would be very surprised if this were to continue to be the case.

 

Conditions can be quite variable in such small shallow waters. So, I would next ask about how much good data you really have: How many times, and for how long, have you given TWs a real workout? And I would discount certain conditions, that tend to make fish less apt to come up, esp in shallow ponds: Brilliant blue skies, peak summer heat, winter cold, dark or deep overcast days with very dirty water, perhaps.

 

Could be so, but I'd be surprised if that held. If you really want to know, keep trying, focusing on peak periods: appropriate temperatures, lighting, and water surface conditions.

 

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We have a old saying fish top water when bass are looking up, so what does that mean?

If the prey source is on or near the surface the bass are looking up. If the prey source is near or on the bottom, they looking down. Bass do both in the same body of water, it comes down to what the predominate prey source is, crawdads aren't surface critters, frogs are for example.

Tom

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If it's a popular pond that gets lots of pressure the fish probably have seen everything before and aren't that aggressive anymore.  Lakes and ponds I do well on top water with are usually low pressure lakes or its during times when the fish may be more active.  Lakes and ponds I don't have good luck with say a walk the dog bait or popper I can usually try a slow rolled buzzbait and catch them, and if that doesn't work a Zoom Horny Toad with a lot less action usually gets a look.

 

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In the ponds I fish the bass usually come up after a walking bait, jitterbug, or popper.  The problem is that the fish will not be hitting all three baits, maybe just one or two.  Buzzbaits and frogs are last on my list since the bass see those on a daily basis.

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