Bass Fishing

Topwater Bass Fishing

Fishing Lures

Get ready for some topwater action. First, we'll tie on that favorite topwater bait. Next, we'll make a cast into that beautiful spot, and then as soon as the bait hits the water, we'll make that first slight twitch with the bait. And after that, what usually happens is wham!!! A bass comes over and nails it. Now, seeing this happen, especially with your heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing, we find ourselves jerking our rod instantly. What happens next? You got it... the bait usually comes flying in the air right back at you!

Does this sound familiar? Don't worry too much about it because it happens to the best of us from time to time. Topwater fishing has got to be one of the most exciting bass fishing methods for just about any bass angler who loves the sport of bass fishing. Topwater fishing is so great because it's a visual type of fishing. 

I thought it was about time to share some of these baits and tips for topwater fishing with my readers.

First, cover the appropriate equipment needed to fish for topwater bass. Like any angling, one should have the proper equipment to use with each type of bait that they might use. Now, don't get me wrong and think that you have to have a different rod for each different type of bait used because that's not what I'm saying. For example, many different types of topwater baits can be used with one (the same) certain rod. On the other side of the coin, a different rod may be used for the rest of the baits. There are only two rods I use when fishing topwater baits, and they are a six and a half foot (6-1/2') medium-action rod and a seven-foot (7') medium-heavy action rod

I use all bait casting rods for all my applications in topwater fishing. But I know many anglers that use Yankee Sticks, also known as spinning rods, which will work just as well as the baitcaster. It's mostly what type of rod you are comfortable with.

There are many fishing rods to choose from today, and they can range anywhere from $25.00 up to $500.00. But, like anything else... you get what you pay for - or do you? I have had the most expensive and the cheapest, and I found that a happy medium rod will work fine.

I use these two different action rods for a good reason when fishing topwater, so I'll explain: When fishing artificial baits, you really must pay strict attention to the hooks that are manufactured with the baits unless the case is soft plastic baits which I'll cover in a moment. For example, some topwater baits come packaged with smaller treble hooks. These hooks are much like a crankbait, which the preferred action rod would be a medium because you would want the bend in the rod tip. With these smaller treble hooks, you really wouldn't want to use a stiff rod and rare back to set the hook because it will usually pop right out from the bass's mouth.

Now, on the other side of the coin, when you use single hooks, double hooks, or the bigger size treble hooks, you want to rear back on the rod and set it. This is where you would use a much stiffer and longer rod. The medium/heavy action gives you a good hook set, and the longer rod gives you a quick sweep for getting the slack out of your line.

Many different baits are made for topwater fishing, but I'll give you my top 10 preferences. These baits work consistently anytime or anywhere and have been proven year after year to be some of the best. The baits I list below will not be in any particular order of preference because the daily conditions will usually dictate which one will work the best on any given day.

Zara Spook

(Manufactured by Heddon)

The first bait, and probably one of my favorites, is the Zara Spook. This is a cigar-looking bait that has no built-in action. The action you give this bait can be deadly if you work it properly. The common name of this bait's action is called walking the dog. The way you work this bait is first to cast it out, then after it hits the water, just let it sit for a couple of seconds. Then with your rod tip down and almost touching the water, lightly twitch your rod while reeling your slack in at the same time. Try different retrieves such as three twitches, let it pause, then three or four more twitches back to the boat, shore, or dock. This bait is a must for quality bass!


(Manufactured by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits)

The Senko is probably one of the most popular baits on today's market. The best way to fish this bait for topwater is to rig it Texas-style with a light wire hook without any weight. Cast this just about anywhere there is structure. Slightly lift the tip of your rod while reeling in the slack while keeping your rod tip upwards, thus keeping the bait on or just under the water's surface, then hold on!

Floating Worm

(Manufactured by Yum)

The floating worm is probably one of the best topwater baits an angler may use. I used to use only 6-inch white or bubblegum floating worms until I was introduced to larger sizes like 9, 10, and 11-inch floaters. These larger sizes made a significant difference in the quality of the fish I caught.

The white and bubblegum will do the trick, but I recently came across a unique color called sherbet, which Yum makes. Once I tried it, I was sold on them, and I won't be without these baits unless the company quits manufacturing them.

The best way to rig and work a floating worm is to first tie about a one-foot leader using the same line on your reel, adding a tiny barrel swivel tied to your main line and a light wire hook on the other end of the leader. The swivel helps prevent line twists, and the small swivel has less weight than a bigger one. Next, take the floating worm and feed the hook's point straight down the center of the front of the worm, pushing about one inch to an inch and a half down on the point of the hook, and then push the point through. Then, while the floating worm hangs straight down, place the hook's point just inside the belly of the worm keeping it straight (Texas Style).

Now, make a cast anywhere there may be some cover. Let it sit for a moment, and then slightly twitch it, making sure you keep the slack out of your line. Repeat this back to you, then cast again.

Super Fluke

(Manufactured by Zoom)

The Superfluke is in the category of soft jerk baits. It probably has one of the best-injured minnow actions of any soft jerk bait that I have found. Working it is a snap. First, tie a 3/0 offset worm or wide-gap hook onto your line, then Texas rig the Superfluke on the hook with no weight. Cast it out, and make slight twitches keeping the bait as close to the surface as possible.


(Manufactured by Heddon)

The Torpedo is known by many as a prop bait, which has a small silver prop on its end. The best way I found to work this bait is to cast it out, then let it sit in one area while making slight twitches, thus causing a little bubbling action, then let it sit again. If you have ever watched a dragonfly land on the water, you will see a slight flutter of its wings, and then it will just sit still in one place. This is the most effective presentation you want to mimic with this bait.


(Manufactured by Lazer Eye)

The buzzbait is genuinely one of the most exciting topwater baits ever made. Over the years, I have caught many quality bass with this bait and won't leave home without it! Tie it on your line and cast it out to work this bait. When the buzzbait hits the water, immediately start your retrieve back, keeping the buzzbait running on top of the surface of the water.


Also known as a hard jerkbait (Manufactured by Smithwick)

This is a floating hard plastic-looking minnow. I have let many inexperienced charter clients of mine use this bait when I know they have little or no experience in angling. Boy, do they work! You tie it onto your line, cast it out, then make slight twitches with it, letting it pause often.


(Manufactured by Rebel)

This type of bait can produce a great many bass when fished correctly. This bait right out of the package will make a gurgling kind of disturbance in the water when you twitch it. Once again, try to work this bait in one area as long as possible. After the twitches, let it sit while reeling in the slack. Now, a little tip for you. If you take a straight file and file down the lower lip of this bait, it will cause a spitting action like some of the more expensive poppers.

Tournament Frog

(Manufactured by Snag Proof)

This bait is simply remarkable when casting it in and around; lily pads, matted grass, fall downs, reeds, and simply any structure areas.


(Manufactured by many companies)

A spinnerbait is probably one of the most versatile bass baits an angler can use because it can be worked on or presented in several different ways. One of the most effective ways to work a spinnerbait is to use it as a topwater bait by using a technique known as waking or bulging. You do this by casting it out. Right when it hits the water, you start your retrieve fast enough to keep this bait on the surface. It will flutter and pop up and down just under the surface, but make sure that you keep it more on top than in the water.

Now comes the tip for topwater fishing. Most anglers will set the hook too early on a topwater bait because of being a visual type of fishing. The excitement of seeing a bass blow up on a surface bait is such a rush that you sometimes get so excited you set the hook too soon. If you remember this tip I'm about to share with you, you'll find that you will probably catch more surface fish than you ever did before.

The key is to confirm the pressure of the bass before you set the hook. This can make all the difference in the world. Let the bass take the bait and draw the slack out of your line, causing a straight pressure between you and the fish. Once you feel the bass on the line, then set the hook. That's all there is to it!

In sharing this article with you, I hope you will catch more fish and learn to be more confident with your baits. Don't overwork your baits, and you will become much more successful catching bass. I hope this will help the many anglers who have sent me emails with questions concerning topwater fishing and any angler who loves the sport of bass fishing.