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Which topwater when and where?

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There’s so many topwater baits to choose from it gets confusing. 

 

I see pro tour guys throwing a buzz toad here and a regular buzz bait there or a Whopper Plopper over yonder. Let’s not forget the hollow body frog there or a popping hollow body frog or one like a Zoom/Yum solid plastic frog. Oh, there’s the traditional walk the dog bait plus popper. 

 

What products and colors do you throw and where do you throw it? I think with frogs, I’ve heard get a light and a dark. Does that work for the other baits?

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A very general breakdown of how I chose them, obviously exceptions to these guidelines that I use, but maybe they'll help simplify things for you. 

 

Buzzbait/toadbuzz-Covering water around moderate to heavy cover/w stained to dirty water. White if there's lots of shad, black the rest of the time.

Popping frog-Vegetation, any water clarity, for fishing slower around more isolated patches and edges of grass. White/brown/black/red

Standard frog-Vegetation, any water clarity, for covering water quickly over larger mats of grass. Same colors.

Toad-Subsurface vegetation that clogs a buzzbait. Any visibility/ black or white with white being my first option.

Popper-Fishing targets, any clarity, shad and bluegill 

Plopper-open to moderate cover, any clarity, covering large flats and points or drawing fish out of subsurface weeds, bone, shad, black.

Walkers-open to moderate cover, clear to stained, covering water where fish are feeding on roaming baitfish like shad, translucent, bone, shad.

Prop baits-Fishing targets, good for pulling fish out from under docks or out of vegetation, good around spawning gills, shad and bluegill

Wake bait-covering water, open to moderate cover, any clarity, good for when fish won't commit to a bait on the surface, shad.

Floating worm-Target fishing, clear to stained water, great for sight fishing and during the spawn/postspawn, white, pink, merthiolate. 

 

 

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I like top water poppers at night..  What do you suggest after sunset ?

 

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11 minutes ago, Flatrock said:

I like top water poppers at night..  What do you suggest after sunset ?

 

I personally do not like topwaters after dark. I've been lucky enough to dodge too many baits I couldn't see to fish them often at night. However, if I get a nice calm, muggy night and the surface activity is too much for me to handle, I will throw a topwater crawler like a Jitterbug, Crazy Crawler, or most recently the Savage Gear 3D Bat. I can make an exception for crawlers because I fish them on braid and when I hear a strike I can just reel faster and lean into them, no hookset required and no risk of a bait flying back at me. I had one really fun night this past year tossing a black bat around docks.

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I wont explain where/when since Blue did all that...but they all can have their time and place, so break out the wallet lol...can get into micro details of each and ill just use 2 examples, buzz toads...at times, the rage toad one of most aggressive disturbance/noisiest toads will hammer them another time nada...but same time throw a zoom horny toad with much more subtle commotion and it will be the hammerer...or throw a zoom horny toad when glass or minimal rip on the water etc...but nothings ever written in stone..i've thrown the rage toad when glass and got on'em...

 

The 2nd Ill explain is hollow body frog presentations...many times walking one is the key and only way they want it...but there have been times where I walked the hell out of it, various speeds, with or without pauses with very poor results...switched to simply dragging it, just reel a few cranks and pause...the ol slow stop and go presentation and it all turned around...

 

same with popper hollowbodies, times faster/aggressive chug it along and pause gets them, other times a single blurp and pause...others walking a popper does the trick...

 

each topwater can be presented in multiple ways and at different speeds...outside of conditions/vegetation/time of year etc...when you do throw topwaters, dont forget to mix it up and the largies will tell ya which way that particular day and/or could change by the hour how they want it...

 

on any bait whether its a topwater or not when you do get a fish, try to remember exactly how fast or slow you were cranking it at the time and how exactly you were presenting it...

 

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I use topwater walking baits for fishing around cover and over shallow flats where I am confident there are fish. I especially like them for the post-spawn and clear water. I like to fish them slower than most people with hard jerks followed by a pause. 

 

I use chopper style baits (think Whopper Plopper) for covering lots of water when I have less confidence in where the bass are. Also, I like it for summer and muddier water. 

 

I downsize to poppers more as a finesse lure when the fishing is especially tough. Calm, sunny late-mornings are usually when I use them. 

 

I use frogs and buzzbaits the generally the same way as the styles above but in areas where there is too much vegitation on the surface to fish treble hook baits. However, I prefer a walking frog as more of my “finesse” presentation and the popping frogs as my standard presentation. Instead of fishing toads I use the Teckel Sprinker frog. 

 

As for specific lures: Ima Skimmer, Whopper Plopper 110, Rebel Pop-R, Teckel Sprinker frog, Boyah Pad Crasher and Poppin Pad Crasher. 

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i throw the whopper plopper anywhere i can get away with not getting hung up on vegetation. definitely my go to and confidence topwater bait. i throw frogs when there is a decent amount of cover and muck to move through.

and finally i will throw spooks or poppers for when i want to slow down my presentation just a tad.

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Whopper Plopper 110 and 75 everywhere unless it's weedy. 

 

If I can't use that because of weeds I use a Homemade Whopper Frog (Booyah Padcrasher with Teckel Sprinker Frog Tail).

 

 

Colors don't matter. I almost always fish with a friend and we use light and dark and both catch fish. 

 

 

The Whopper Plopper and Whopper Frog have really killed it for us the last couple of years. I have used a ton of different topwaters but these two are far above the rest, I don't even throw buzzbaits or other topwaters anymore.

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It's more lake dependant and seasonal periods and time frame for me. 

Low light dawn and dusk when Shad are moving into cover for night protection and terrestrial critters are active I think about using surface lures. Type of lure depends on what I believe will work where the bass active. 

Numbers I prefer a popper with feathered rear treble hook when bass are targeting Shad along cover breaks. If the Shad are in the cover then a weedless white hollow body frog works good. Larger size bass I tend to use a walking top water in lieu of the popper. 

The spawn cycle I like a bluegill wake bait. 

Sundown a rat wake bait.

Large flats weed breaks a buzzer or Pompador depending on the cover and wind /breeze.

Tom

 

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Jitterbugs, spooks, and poppers are my main topwater baits.  Jitterbugs at night, and right before daybreak.  Spooks, and poppers early morning or right before sunset when there is a lot of shade.  All three on overcast, or rainy days.

 

I like to fish them parallel to the bank, around the outside edges of lilypads, and in between weed beds.

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I like to throw buzzbaits at the exact same spot I throw spinnerbaits .  Throw them over the top of logs , in the middle of the hairiest brush on the lake . Picking lures is the easiest part of bass fishing . Select lures  that will effectively fish the places bass are likely to be .

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A topic dear to my heart. Whichever one they'll bite whenever they'll bite it.

 

In spring, I'll usually start with a Pop R. It will work great through the spawn. Right after the spawn I'll experiment with a Chug Bug and smaller Spook. A prop bait like the Devil's Horse can be good after spawn as well. As the water warms toward summer I'll try buzzbaits and Spooks. Then there are times I'll dig one out like a Hula Popper or the SPRO Rat just because I want to try them. There are guidelines, but no rules.

 

Consider the conditions. If the water has a bit of a chop or if fish are actively chasing bait, I'll try to use a noiser bait. Fish probably won't be able to locate a quiet Spook as well as a popper type bait in choppy water or wind. The Spook and buzzbait are good search baits and cover lots of water. Sometimes fish will want you to start your retrieve right away. But try to let the bait sit a few seconds to start off with. You'll get some bites before you turn the crank.

 

Then there's the frog, which is a different thing altogether. From spring through fall I keep a frog tied on a dedicated combo.

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I should also add that whether or not I use a topwater can depend greatly on where and when I'm fishing. I know in a shallow pond fish are much more likely to take a topwater. If the water is 3' deep a fish can easily locate that bait. Iyt can irritate him into striking. In a reservoir where the average depth might be 20', there are going to be a lot of bass that won't rise to a topwater. Not to say I don't try them. But it's usually just an early and late thing. Even in shallow ponds, your bites on topwaters will be much more in low light periods. Except on the frog, I rarely catch a bass on topwater in the middle of a sunny day away from any shade. If it's overcast or raining, your chances go way up.

 

As for colors, I think that matters least with topwaters. I prefer darker baits when it's dark. Lighter or natural patterns when the sun is up a bit. But you can get bites on a pattern of fish that aren't in your water. Fish can only see half the bait at any given time and most fo that half is the bottom.

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Just checked TW to see how many different top water lures they offer....over 300!

Bass use the water surface to target prey under all types of water depth, clarity and light conditions. We all like to catch top water bass.

Lake Mead is a massive and deep Colorado River lake with clear water and top water lures have always been a mainstay lure at Mead. Mead is basically rock with very little cover and the bass tend to suspend over deep water hunting Threadfin Shad schools and top water lures work all day in bright sun. 

My point is you can't pigeon hole top water lures, keep an open mind.

Tom 

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Every topwater has its place and time it does best. One topwater might be the best lure to use on a particular fishing trip and the next trip it might not be the best. Weather, water temperature, and other factors are things to take into consideration when fishing with topwaters. Best thing you can do is put your time on the water and figure out what works best on the day you are fishing.

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