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ECP1989

Topwater Decisions

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I've been doing well fishing Frogs so far this Summer. I'm mainly fishing them on floating vegetation and have caught most of my fish at the edge of the vegetation or 1-3' from the edge. I was thinking of either trying a Buzz Bait or a Popper. What helps make your decison between the two? The water im fishing is usually calm and dosen't get really windy or rough.

Thanks

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Both are excellent choices.Depending on water clarity and mood of the fish. You just have to throw it and see what they like. There is one advantage to the buzzbait, You can cover alot of water in a shorter amount of time. When I am fishing I usally have one of each on the deck along with a gunfish,sammy or cra.zy shad. I love topwater and I am not afraid to throw them even up into the day.

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The only thing that determines what I use is the cover that I am fishing.  

If I am fishing around wood, I use the buzzbait or the popper.  If it's thick wood cover, it's the buzzbait, and if it's thinner, it's the popper.

For weeds, I fish a Spook, frog, or rat.

For open water fishing, I use the Spook exclusively.

If I notice any forage base around any type of cover, I am liable to switch up to a weightless fluke, and fish it around all of the above.

 

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what are the baitfish doin? A popper immitates bluegills popin on the surface so if there are a lot of bluegill hittin the surface that may be a good choice. In my opinion both are great murky water baits. If there is alot of vegitaion the buzzbait will produce some times. Throw around vegie points pockets and edges. A buzzbait is good at simulateing a school of small baitfish like shad or minnows. I think that a buzzbait is a great choice early in the morning. Both work in tough bites, both can be fished in a manner that really ticks bass on to the point when they want to kill it. I like buzzbaits when there is a steady breeze most of the time and poppers with calm protected water. Try poppers on the edge of tules or other standing emergent vegitation.

Best fishes

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Like others said, the buzzbait is good for covering a lot of water. I also like to use it when there's a little chop on the surface.

A popper is good when you're fishing a target. With the pops and pauses, this lure can stay in a small area, i.e., the strike zone, for a relatively long time.

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A popper immitates bluegills popin on the surface so if there are a lot of bluegill hittin the surface that may be a good choice.

I do not necessarily agree with that.  I have several popping style lures, and I feel that they are meant to mimic a dying baitfish.  The colors represent what baitfish that they represent.

I have ones that look like shad, some that look like bluegills, and a couple that look like small bass.

So, saying that all of them mimic bluegills is not a correct statement.

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poppers are my favorite top water bait, but if i went to a lake blindly i would pick up the buzzer.  it covers water, and it see's if they want a fast presentation.  when they are really smackin the buzz around and start to shy away from it.  i will throw a popper and twitch it real fast then stop, then pop it a bunch of times with quick little jerks that cover about 6ft. of water.  this is my best tactic for coldwater at lake varner.

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You have described the perfect situation for a type of topwater that few fishermen fish anymore, I call it a Bobber.  Its a floating pencil thin bait that has extra weight at the tail end which causes it to float at a slight angle off of verticle (think of a very skinny Zara spook with a weighted tail) - there are no rattles or spinners and it does not pop.  When you twitch the line the bait will try to move horizontal and then slide back to vertical and bob up and down several times by itself.  If fished properly it will stay in the same place as long as you wish (to keep it where the fish are biting).  I fish it when the bass are tight to shallow structure, the water is calm and a noisy bait will possibly spook the fish.

The ones I have were made by Bomber and I want to say they were called "stick baits".  My favorite is an eggshell white with black spots.

Good Luck finding these lures.

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Sorry man,  I didnt mean to cause any confusion, not all poppers mimic bluegill, I didnt say that I said if there were alot of bluegill hitting the surface a popper mimics it quite well, even if the color is a shad color or a frog color or even a baby bass color.  The point is that if there is alot of bluegill hitting the surface a popper mimics them better than other topwaters in MOST SITUATIONS but definintly not all.  Sorry if I didnt write more I just wanted to explain some tips that I thought would fit your needs.  There are many different variables that I didnt want to get into.  One thing though, and some may argue with this, color isnt a real issue with topwaters, all the fish see is the base.  I use white, yellow clear and black.  IF i was wanting to imitate a bluegill in clear water I would use a white or yellow bottom, in murky and muddy I would use black or straight white.  The reason I say this is because if you looked at a clear water bluegill, it has vivid colors, usually a silver or yellow base, depending on time of year.  In muddy water a fish becomes more dull.  I try to match the hatch.  SOrry for the confusion though.  I just wanted to give some simple tips, not write a book about the different characteristics on topwaters.  

TO the angler who mentioned my previouse article: thanks for pointing out that there are different things that a popper mimics.  You are very right.

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Technically, nothing.

However, it is mainly just a reaction type lure.  It makes so much noise, and it goes so fast, the bass do not have time to think about it.  They have to jump on it, or pass up a free meal.

You can get the colors to mimic any type of forage, from shad to sunfish, to smaller bass.

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In clear water, yes, it can.  I consider clear water anything that is visible down to around 5 ft.

I have seen bass come up and chase a certain color buzzbait, and not hit it, and then, follow it up with another color, and they tear it all to pieces.

So, yes, even though it's a reaction lure, color can play a part.

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Ok, now I have more time. I will try to explain as much about how I go about using and choosing topwater baits.

Poppers- Poppers are probably one of the best topwaters for murky water bassin, along with buzzbaits. Their strength is in their ability to stay in one place for a long period of time. They can mimic a fleeing baitfish, a dieing baitfish or even feeding sunfish. They are great for murky water because they create so much noise and stay in the strike zone. This also means that they may be a good choice for fussy bass in other situations like clear water. I normally like to use poppers on a calm morning or evening. I especially choose poppers before other topwaters when I can hear the pops of bluegills, pumkinseeds or sunfish on the surface. They are also great when a school of baitfish like shad are being chased around by bass, because they simulate an injured baitfish. I usually use them around wood, vegitation, like tules or the pockets or points of submerged vegetation. When you arive on the lake you need to try different retrieves, try it slow, popping it once then waiting awhile, or try it fast, making a series of pops quickly, or try a medium retrieve. You may notice bass coming out to instpect the popper on a slow retrieve but ignoring it after you let it sit, try popping it real fast, like it is trying to get away, like a frightend baitfish. Tackle is very important for topwaters. Line choice is very crucial. Braids are no good because they have too little stretch and you can pull the hooks right out. Flourocarbon is sinks and thus pulls the nose of the lure down inhibiting the action. Mono is the only way to go. It has a little stretch and it floats. Use a fairly heavy test because the lighter lines sink. This is also why i never use any kind of snap or swivle before the lure. I usually use 15# because it has just enough boyancy to maintain action yet is not heavy enough to restrict action or pull the lure towards you after the cast. I use a 6'6" medium heavy rod with a fast action, and a 6.2:1 speed low profile baitcasting reel. This combo is just my confidence set up, and you should find your own comfort combo.

Buzzbaits- Buzzbaits are one of my favorite all around topwater baits. There is something about buzzbaits that just ticks bass off. I belive that MOST of the time, not all, a fish hits a buzzbait out of aggression or just a reaction. A buzzbait can simulate a school of fleeing baitfish. I like buzzbaits in clear to muddy water. In clear water I really burn the bait, in most situations. In muddy water I really crawl it, which may require some small modifications to the bait. A buzzbait is top dog when it comes to covering a lot of water and plowin through vegitation. It is also good on rip rap banks where baitfish are present or there is a combination of baitfish and current. i like to throw it around wood too. If you come to a really nice laydown, throw that buzzer up there several times. Make sure to run it into that hard wood as much as possible, erratic action can and will trigger a strike from an active to inactive bass. I like Buzzbaits early in the morning on a summer day with a little bit of breeze. Rainy days in summer are also PRIME times for buzzbaits. Colors for buzzbaits are really simple. I only use 3 colors black, white and chartruse. I use white on clear mornings with clearer water. I use chartruse in clear mornings with dirty water. I use black in muddy water or on days with alot of cloud cover or really early in the morning or at night. Line size and type is dictated by two things: the speed you wish to retrieve the buzzer and the cover it is plowing through. The heavier the line the slower it sinks. I use Flourocarbon most of the time when I want a fast retrieve and am around heavy cover, but when I want it slow I want Braid because braid floats and it cuts through vegitation. Mono is a great all around line too, especially 17# test. I use a 7' MH fast action rod paired with a high speed reel. With buzzbaits you want alot of commotion so tweak it by pinching the little rivet behind the prop, so it remains stationary. this makes the rivet squeel on the retrieve. Also you can drill little holes in the blades to create a bubble trail on the retrieve. Also if you want to quickly slow down the lure without changing line or lure weight add cupping to the line by bending the bent part of the prop inward.

These are only a couple of helpful hints. I am not suggesting that these are the best for all situations but I find they work for me.

Best fishes

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