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When do you start throwing topwater?


JacobB006
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I was out on the Upper Potomac river yesterday and saw a smallmouth eat something on the surface and found myself dreaming of the days of topwater action. The I got to thinking of when would be "too" early to start throwing topwater lures. I know to find the answer I just need to throw one around and find out. But I was interested, when do other people start throwing topwater for smallmouth?

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  • Super User

When you start to see them feeding on the surface or they are in shallow water. I think your sense of sight has already given you the answer to your question. 

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I start packing some topwater stuff when water gets up near 60F.  That's happening around here now and I'll probably try throwing it tomorrow for the first time this year. 

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In Michigan, when waters reach about 55 to 60 degrees, fish can be caught with some consistency on BuzzBaits, Ploppers and Propbaits. However, other variables can cause Bass to commit to a Topwater or Wakebait lure earlier than usual. 

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3 hours ago, JacobB006 said:

I was out on the Upper Potomac river yesterday and saw a smallmouth eat something on the surface and found myself dreaming of the days of topwater action. The I got to thinking of when would be "too" early to start throwing topwater lures. I know to find the answer I just need to throw one around and find out. But I was interested, when do other people start throwing topwater for smallmouth?

This week with these temps.  Go time

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I happen to love topwater. I also happen to live in Southern California right on the coast, where our winters are very mild and there is no ice and no snow, except for higher elevations/mountainous areas of course and to some degree, higher latitudes i.e. NorCal (more alpine-ish) vs SoCal (more desert-ish).

 

With that said...do the same rules, restrictions, guidelines, theories and principles that apply to topwater in more colder/northern areas of the country that get a 'true'/cold winter, also apply to me too? 

 

I have always been confused about topwater bass fishing in southern california vs topwater bass fishing in other parts of the country, since most bass fishing articles/tips/websites on topwater techniques, always seem to lean heavily towards a northern/mid west/east coast bass audience, who are always faced with a 'true' winter.

 

I fish urban ponds/lakes that sit at or are very close to sea level where the winters are very mild and warm and that will never see ice and snow. Therefore, it always struck me as 'odd' since these articles/websites/tips always seemed to 'help' the northern/mid west/east coast bass anglers, while never mentioning southern california or places where it is warmer and where there is not a 'true' winter. I always felt confused, lost and left out. Like they don't care about us at all. 

 

Therefore, my theory with topwater fishing around here has always been that since the winter is so warm and mild, topwater fishing should be...'all day, every day, all year' and that the more 'traditional' rules/theories/principles I always hear about topwater fishing can be 'thrown out the window' because they only apply to guys experiencing a true winter anyways...right?

 

Is it safe to say bass anglers here in southern california 'have it good' than since we can fish topwater all day, everyday, all year long? Am I correct in thinking like this and does it ring pretty true?

 

I am hoping there are other guys in here from CA that have fished in southern california extensively for a long time and can chime in and give me their experiences about topwater techniques/theories/princples and rules and how they apply to a place like this where the winters are very warm and mild. 

 

I am hoping @WRB will see this reply and chime in with his extensive knowledge of bass fishing in southern california. 

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5 minutes ago, DEPS_250 said:

I happen to love topwater. I also happen to live in Southern California right on the coast, where our winters are very mild and there is no ice and no snow, except for higher elevations/mountainous areas of course and to some degree, higher latitudes i.e. NorCal (more alpine-ish) vs SoCal (more desert-ish).

 

With that said...do the same rules, restrictions, guidelines, theories and principles that apply to topwater in more colder/northern areas of the country that get a 'true'/cold winter, also apply to me too? 

 

I have always been confused about topwater bass fishing in southern california vs topwater bass fishing in other parts of the country, since most bass fishing articles/tips/websites on topwater techniques, always seem to lean heavily towards a northern/mid west/east coast bass audience, who are always faced with a 'true' winter.

 

I fish urban ponds/lakes that sit at or are very close to sea level where the winters are very mild and warm and that will never see ice and snow. Therefore, it always struck me as 'odd' since these articles/websites/tips always seemed to 'help' the northern/mid west/east coast bass anglers, while never mentioning southern california or places where it is warmer and where there is not a 'true' winter. I always felt confused, lost and left out. Like they don't care about us at all. 

 

Therefore, my theory with topwater fishing around here has always been that since the winter is so warm and mild, topwater fishing should be...'all day, every day, all year' and that the more 'traditional' rules/theories/principles I always hear about topwater fishing can be 'thrown out the window' because they only apply to guys experiencing a true winter anyways...right?

 

Is it safe to say bass anglers here in southern california 'have it good' than since we can fish topwater all day, everyday, all year long? Am I correct in thinking like this and does it ring pretty true?

 

I am hoping there are other guys in here from CA that have fished in southern california extensively for a long time and can chime in and give me their experiences about topwater techniques/theories/princples and rules and how they apply to a place like this where the winters are very warm and mild. 

 

I am hoping @WRB will see this reply and chime in with his extensive knowledge of bass fishing in southern california. 

 

On the other hand, does this also ring true to a places in the south like Florida and Louisiana where there is no ice and snow too just like California.

 

Florida is not all that different from California in climate and they both have very similar climates and latitudes. I would think that even a place like Florida, topwater fishing should be...'all day, everyday, all year long' too right?

 

I mean, I consider Florida to be BASS PARADISE as far as climate/environment is concerned, since its so warm and wet like a jungle. I figured the bass fishing here should be relatively good and topwater fishing to be very easy and do-able any time of the year correct? 

 

Any Florida bass anglers want to help give me some info and knowledge as to what topwater fishing is like in a typical year let alone a typical winter in Florida where there is no ice and snow just like California?

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We really haven't had that much of winter here.  Normally, I don't start throwing top water flies on my local creeks until the second or third week of May.  Not because they won't take them but because the creeks are also stocked trout streams and the last stocking is usually the end of April or the first week of May.  It usually takes a week or two for stocked trout chasers to clear out.  Given the last couple of days the temperatures have been in the mid-80's  I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't hitting top water flies or lures right now.   Most of the lakes I fish are up in the Poconos, about 75 miles north of here.  A different climate.  By the time I get up there in mid-May they should be hitting top waters.

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  • Super User

Every year I break out the topwater box earlier and earlier. Once the water temp hits low 50°s, the poppers and walkers come out. 

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According to John Crews, when the water reaches low 50's

 

 

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I'm such a topwater fiend that I've already thrown my Whopper Plopper. With our water temps in the mid-40s, I didn't catch anything, but it was deeply pleasing to hear the plop-plop-plop again and to imagine what's coming. 

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On 4/14/2023 at 2:01 PM, hokiehunter373 said:

This week with these temps.  Go time

Like I was saying ?. Thought I had my PB for a bit but she was just a filled out girl. Not long enough. First fish on the new scale and on the booyah buzzbait. 

A985ED40-C694-405C-A7A4-6314DFF2D4C5.jpeg

A533AA94-FB1B-4FAE-BE8D-1E955895B0BF.jpeg

6B56D2EB-A986-4871-BE11-96970F2282FF.jpeg

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On 4/14/2023 at 2:38 PM, DEPS_250 said:

 

On the other hand, does this also ring true to a places in the south like Florida and Louisiana where there is no ice and snow too just like California.

 

Florida is not all that different from California in climate and they both have very similar climates and latitudes. I would think that even a place like Florida, topwater fishing should be...'all day, everyday, all year long' too right?

 

I mean, I consider Florida to be BASS PARADISE as far as climate/environment is concerned, since its so warm and wet like a jungle. I figured the bass fishing here should be relatively good and topwater fishing to be very easy and do-able any time of the year correct? 

 

Any Florida bass anglers want to help give me some info and knowledge as to what topwater fishing is like in a typical year let alone a typical winter in Florida where there is no ice and snow just like California?

 

Top water works year round in Florida.  Success depends more on water clarity than temperature.  The clearer the water, the better it works. The majority of our bass are caught around shallow cover.  Casting accuracy is important as fish often won't move far to the bait.  Someone fishing 6 feet from a fish will not get as many bites as someone fishing less than a foot. Really good top water anglers are not afraid to cast into openings back in the cover.  One of the best anglers I ever knew was known for his top water expertise.  He was written up in national magazines. Writers would go with him to verify his catches and they were always amazed.  I didn't need to go as standing next to him at a tournament weigh in when he had two eight pound bass in his bag was proof enough for me.  RIP Charlie...

 

topwatercharlie.jpg

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11 hours ago, hokiehunter373 said:

Like I was saying ?. Thought I had my PB for a bit but she was just a filled out girl. Not long enough. First fish on the new scale and on the booyah buzzbait. 

A985ED40-C694-405C-A7A4-6314DFF2D4C5.jpeg

A533AA94-FB1B-4FAE-BE8D-1E955895B0BF.jpeg

6B56D2EB-A986-4871-BE11-96970F2282FF.jpeg

Those buzzbaits are an absolute blast to throw

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