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Fishin Dad

Top water.......choices, choices

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Hey all,

 

I am trying to figure out my top water Arsenal for the Year.   As I look through my containers, I am trying to figure out how to decide when to use a buzz bait (I used a lot last year successfully), a popper, whopper plopper, spook type bait, kicking frog, etc.   I understand cover dictates a lot of it.   A specific question related to this is, why use a walking spook type bait instead of the others.   It seems slower to cover water and a lot of work.  I really haven’t used a popper much either.   I just don’t use them much even though I have a half dozen of each.   Help get me excited about these.  

 

Thanks!

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Use a spook on smoother water. They cast far, and can cover a good area. Buzzbaits are an old favorite. Choppy water, or calm and at night. Poppers are for close in work, fishing next to cover. These are really the only 3 topwaters I use. My fave popper chugger is the Storm Chug Bug. It's been around for years, but will pop, spit, and bloop, with the best. There are many good walking baits out there, but I've stayed with the standard Zara Spook, 3/4 oz.

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2 hours ago, Fishin Dad said:

A specific question related to this is, why use a walking spook type bait instead of the others.

It's sort of an art getting it to walk and look enticing. For me, there's a special reward when they get bit, I feel like I really finessed the fish. There are much easier ways to get topwater bites, but to me, it's one of the most rewarding.

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3 hours ago, Mobasser said:

Use a spook on smoother water. They cast far, and can cover a good area. Buzzbaits are an old favorite. Choppy water, or calm and at night. Poppers are for close in work, fishing next to cover. These are really the only 3 topwaters I use. My fave popper chugger is the Storm Chug Bug. It's been around for years, but will pop, spit, and bloop, with the best. There are many good walking baits out there, but I've stayed with the standard Zara Spook, 3/4 oz.

Thanks Mobasser.   I will check out the storm chug bug.  And I do have 4 or 5 Zara Spooks.   I will have to try a popper next to cover.  Makes sense.  Work it slow with noise to lure them out and bite.  Thanks.

 

3 hours ago, Hank. said:

It's sort of an art getting it to walk and look enticing. For me, there's a special reward when they get bit, I feel like I really finessed the fish. There are much easier ways to get topwater bites, but to me, it's one of the most rewarding.

Thanks Hank!   That is why I was wondering.  It seems like a fun bait that I have tried only a few times and gave up going with a more confidence bait.   I am going to get some on walking bait this year for sure. Good fishing to ya!

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I like the spook with a one twitch, two twitch, three twitch then pause. This presentation is a killer with any topwater baits. The mister twister top prop with this presentation on the pause it almost goes verticle. Using a mister twister 4” split double tail grub really attracts the strikes.

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Walking lures are great at triggering strikes over shallow flats. A lot of people fishing them with a fast, steady cadence to cover water. I think a whopper plopper is better for that. I like to fish them with individual jerks with a pause in between or sets of 2-3 quick jerks with a pause in between, like a jerkbait. I have found this to be great for triggering strikes when the bass are reluctant to strike. 

 

In my mind poppers are the finesse lure of topwater, ideal for tougher conditions and for targeting very specific spots around cover. 

 

If you like a buzzbait, get a Teckel Sprinker frog. It’s all the upsides of a whopper plopper but even more weedless than a buzzbait. 

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Thanks guys.  I am definitely going to give these a try.  It is becoming a goal now.  You guys are working your magic.  I really am going to work these.  Top water strikes are awesome, I can imagine the spook and popper strikes are wild as well. 

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I broke this question down a simply as I could here.

 

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Thanks Clayton!   That was a perfect read.  I have to learn to use the search better.  Thanks for linking for me.  Always love your posts as well!

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Although it takes some work, walking baits are my favorite to fish because you have so much control over their action, it gives you something to do while waiting in between strikes. 

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Normally, I use a couple of signs to help determine what topwater to throw. One is what the surface is like and the other is the presence of cloud cover.  A cloudy day with a stiff breeze calls for a noisy, reaction bait like a buzzbait or a tail spinner. Sunny day with a stiff breeze, something a little less subtle like a chugger. Sunny and calm, the fish will likely be tight to cover and spook easy and a PopR would be my choice. As for walking baits and I'm a spook nut, throw them in almost any condition and base your retrieve on how much,or little action you feel is called for.  One more thing. A walking bait has the benefit of drawing strikes from a good distance and as such, is a great tool for covering water over deeper structure, or hidden cover, than some of the others. it's a good surface 'search' bait.

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Personally I approach Top Water Fishing based on how aggressive the fish are being. I ask myself Do they want something moving fast, moving medium, or moving slow? 

 

Fast = A buzzbait

Medium = A Walking Bait

Slow = A popper

 

This only applies to open water topwater fishing. I consider frog fishing over grass a little different. I throw all three past my intended target of cover and let all three die to near the cover before resuming the retrieve. 

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Thanks All, great stuff to think about and use to base my decision.  Exactly what I was hoping for.  You guys are awesome. 

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On 2/9/2019 at 6:40 PM, Mobasser said:

Use a spook on smoother water. They cast far, and can cover a good area. Buzzbaits are an old favorite. Choppy water, or calm and at night. Poppers are for close in work, fishing next to cover. These are really the only 3 topwaters I use. My fave popper chugger is the Storm Chug Bug. It's been around for years, but will pop, spit, and bloop, with the best. There are many good walking baits out there, but I've stayed with the standard Zara Spook, 3/4 oz.

I agree 100% with the chug bug. Underrated but always a top performer for me.

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I just checked out the chug bug and the reviews on Tackle Warehouse are amazing.  Got em on the list.  Thanks!!

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Buzzbaits are my number one top water lure and I usually start throwing them from about the spawn , all summer long , to early winter . They seem to work better in cold water   late fall than cold water early spring . They are also fairly snag-less and get used in wood a ton .

Bomber Long A is a killer post spawn shallow on points and cover close to spawning areas. 

I use poppers and chuggers occasionally . They are hot and cold for me .

I just acquired a new Dalton Special that I like to use in the summer on flats and around wood .

Spook type lures , I have never had much luck with them and have had a terrible hookup percentage . Havent used one for years.

I have little frog experience but plan on using them more this year . 

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One thing to think about...often people think topwater is only for mornings or evenings (or frog fishing over dense cover midday). In my experience that is true more or less with clear water. As the water gets more and more muddy, bass are more willing to hit the surface midday, especially if there is cover nearby. 

 

A pond I fish is clear in the spring and early summer. Once it’s daytime and sunny the topwater bite is gone. Later in the summer though it gets real muddy. I fished subsurface lures all the time during the day and didn’t catch much of anything. Then when I switched to topwater I got all my bites. 

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Scaleface, buzzbaits and frogs are my confidence topwaters.  I am going to try to expand this summer.  Hopefully I figure out the correct formula (thanks to all the info here) and gain some confidence and more arsenal. If not, top water is just plain fun to fish.

FC Phil, 

Interesting observation.  One I will certainly take into account this year.   I may have given up too early some days on top water.   I like it enough that as my water gets dirty, I will keep the top water Rippin.

 

Thanks

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10 hours ago, Fishin Dad said:

Scaleface, buzzbaits and frogs are my confidence topwaters.

I googled for a couple minutes before I realized you were talking about the member Scaleface and not some lure called Scaleface.

 

😄

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3 hours ago, Hank. said:

I googled for a couple minutes before I realized you were talking about the member Scaleface and not some lure called Scaleface.

 

😄

I'm glad you confessed to that as I was about to do the same thing before I saw your post.

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I fish with what the bass are hitting. If I'm not getting bites then I change baits.  On one lake I fish I have never done any good with a popper.  The bass just won't come up after it, but I can cast a jitterbug in the same location and I will start catching.

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As Someone who loves buying lures and trying just about everything that comes out, I have boxes of topwater's, but since I now Kayak fish and have less space, I narrowed down my entire topwater box to the following: I am surprised nobody has mentioned Prop baits especially for the spring and spawn time/Post spawn when Bluegills spawn.

 

I catch more Fish every year throwing a Heddon Tiny Torpedo than on any other topwater lure. I like the smaller one since it has saltwater hooks and can handle heavy tackle if needed. Most people will tell you to fish a prop bait super slow, and of course that works, but I often am surprised how many fish will strike a Torpedo (standard size is good as well) reeled like a buzzbait, only it floats. You can walk it etc....I only carry the following and I love topwater

 

1- Tiny Torpedo, Torpedo, Devils Horse/Rapala X Rap Prop cast better, and the Bagley's Bang O lure with rear prop.

2- Several Zara Spooks in mostly the middle super spook size, I like a one knocker, and the bigger ones I have are silent.

3- Rapala Skitter Walk is a good walking bait, and so is the Rebel T-10 Jumping minnow for a smaller profile but casts well. 

4- As mentioned, the Chug Bug is a great lure since you can walk it, pop it etc....I also carry a Sammy & the Strike King Walking bait since the face is different for more commotion. The Gunfish style walking baits are awesome as well. 

5- Lastly....The Rebel Popper is about the only popper I throw, change the front hook to a Triple Grip, leave the dressed treble or put a new dressed hook on back, but pound for pound, hard to beat the $5 Rebel.   Just about any popper will work. 

 

6- I only carry a few frogs....White and black, Booyah and Live Target walking frogs, Strike King for the Rattle, and the Spro popping frog...I also like some of the smaller Frogs becoming popular in the Bully Wa 55 or Live target 45 size.

 

7- For toads, I just use either a Horny Toad or Stanley Ribbit. 

 

8- As someone mentioned, don't forget the floating Minnow baits, the Rapala Floating Minnow and Jointed minnow flat out catch fish as a topwater or wake bait, same with Bomber Long A, or Rattling Rogue for stained water. 

 

I used to have a box just full of walking baits and poppers etc...Now I can get by no problem with a dozen in total. Was tough to do since they all essentially catch fish..

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Thanks Primetime.   I seem to be seeing more prop baits being used by the pros as well lately.  I may have to see what I can pick up and try getting them going more on the surface.  

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