topwater lures work best early summer to late fall

“Topwater bass fishing is an exciting way to catch bass and you can win tournaments with this technique.”

 The key questions you must answer in order to be successful at topwater bass fishing are

  • which topwater baits do you use?
  • when do you use them?
  • where do you fish topwater baits?
  • what type of tackle do you need?

Topwater baits can be used year round under certain weather and water conditions. However they are most effective during the early summer thru late fall time periods.


During this time period most bass in reservoirs are feeding heavily on baitfish and keying on movement above them. It seems that the best topwater bite always occurs early/late in the day or under bright sun with very calm water conditions.


There are two main types of topwater baits, open water baits and target baits.


Open water baits are used when not fishing around a specific target.

These topwaters are best when there is a need to draw bass to your lure from a long distance away. Open water baits work best in clear water (3 ft+ water clarity) and under calm water conditions.


Examples of open water baits are the Lucky Craft Sammy, Lucky Craft Gunfish, and Heddon Zarra Spook. Colors for this type of bait should be baitfish oriented with solid colors working better on cloudy days and translucent colors being better in the sun.


Open water topwater baits should be fished in areas where you need to draw fish from a distance in order to get them to bite. Areas such as big grass mats on shallow flats, long points near a channel, backs of shallow pockets, and anywhere bass are schooling are all key places to fish these baits. You want to make long casts and work the baits quickly.


The key to success with these baits is to cover a bunch of water and not let the bass get to good a look at the bait.


Tackle for open water topwater baits should consist of a 6’6″ to 7’2″ fiberglass rod with a soft tip and some backbone matched with a high speed baitcasting reel and 10 to 17 lbs monofilament fishing line or 30 to 50 lbs braided line. This setup will enable you to make a long cast, work the bait quickly, get a good hook set, and land a higher percentage of your strikes.


Wayne Hauser catching topwater bassTarget type topwater baits are used around specific pieces of cover. The key to these baits is they trigger a reaction strike from a bass.


Target type topwater baits work well under clear or stained water conditions. Examples of this type of bait are; prop baits (Brian’s Prop B, Devils Horse), poppers (Pop R, Rico, Yellow Magic), buzz baits (double bladed, single bladed) and frogs (Spro Frog, Snag Proof).


Colors for this type of bait should also be baitfish oriented.


Brighter solid colors work better in stained water and/or under cloudy/windy conditions. And, more translucent colors work better under clear water and /or sunny conditions.


When you’re fishing topwater baits around targets, shade and water depth become 2 key factors. Shade positions the bass next to the cover and some water depth (3 ft or more) around the cover gives the bass a feeling of security.


Target type topwater baits should be fished in areas where there is cover. Areas such as laydown logs, stumps, docks, small grass patches, shade lines on a steep bank, and any place there is isolated cover in the water are key.


You want to make short to medium accurate casts and work the bait around the objects. The secret to success with target type topwater baits is to cast them beyond the cover and have the bait hit the water softly in order to not spook the bass.


The equipment setup you need for target oriented topwaters consists of a 6′ to 6’6″ fiberglass rod with a soft tip and some backbone matched with a high speed baitcasting reel and 14 to 20 lbs monofilament fishing line or 50 to 80 lbs braided line. This setup will enable you to make short accurate cast under and around cover, get good hook sets, and land a high percentage of your strikes.


Topwater fishing for bass can be a fun and efficient way to catch bass in a tournament or just fishing for fun. In order to become a good topwater fisherman, you need to experiment with the different types of baits under different weather and water conditions until you develop a sense of when topwater baits will be effective.


The Fish-ON has 360 degrees of horizontal adjustment and 90 degrees of vertical adjustments. A sliding locking ring secures the rod. The enlarged opening makes removing a rod easier when a strike occurs.


Trolling for big fish like muskies is even more exciting –and taxing on the rod holder when a strike happens.


Lozelle fishes for salmon at the family retreat in Michigan. He knows how important a rod holder that can withstand the assault of a big fish is. “The key is that the rod holder is strong and durable,” he said. Tempress has sold more than a million Fish-ON rod holders.


For crappies, which are at the other end of the size spectrum, Tempress created the Mr. Crappie Pro Series Rod Holder Kit, which allows the use of up to 4 rods per unit while slow trolling, or spider-rigging. The kit was designed in conjunction with Wally Marshall, aka. Mr. Crappie, one of the most recognized figures in professional crappie fishing today.


In addition to Fish-ON Rod Holders and Mounts, the Lozelles also acquired Tempress’ boat-seat business. At the time of acquisition, the company provided regional upholsterers with just the molded plastic shells to build the chairs. The Lozelles soon started to make the durable seats from start to finish.


Today, in addition to the aftermarket products, the company supplies boat seats to prestigious companies such as Lund, Bass Pro, Stratos and Triton, to name a few. There are cheaper seats for your boat, Lozelle admits. But you get what you pay for, and in many cases, a cheap seat is one that grows more uncomfortable by the day and may barely last a season. Tempress seats are built to withstand serious loads without breaking or wearing out.


A $59 seat is a solution, but not if you are on the water 100 days a year,” says Lozelle. “Boat seats must be dependable and hold up over time. You can’t afford to have something break –something that is cheapened up just because the economy changed. There is a better way.


Have you ever noticed the difference between pro fishermen and weekend anglers? Much of the success of the pros depends on being organized and paying attention to detail.


Boatmates, a company Tempress acquired in 2005, helps with that by manufacturing neat plastic storage systems to organize everything from fishing tools to crankbaits and more. Many adhere to the side of a boat with suction cups.


Others, such as the pedestal cooler and the pedestal gear bag, clip together under pedestal seats to create 360 degrees of useable storage out of former dead space.


When you discover one lure color is hot that day while trolling, you can easily find another within a Boatmate storage unit. A functional organizer, the Tournament Series Knife and Pliers Caddy keeps essential tools out of the way yet convenient to get to.


Author Bio

Wayne Hauser is a Touring Professional Bass Angler who is currently fishing on both the FLW Tour and in the BASS Opens. The 2013 season was his first year on the FLW Tour; he has fished the BASS Opens for two years. Wayne has a wealth of knowledge about bass behavior, techniques to catch bass, and how to do well in bass tournaments, which he will share with us in his articles. He is from and currently resides in North Carolina and is married with one son.


More articles from Wayne can be found on these links below

Water Clarity

How Water Level Changes Effect Bass

How to Win Bass Tournaments