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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Monday, 22 April 2013 21:50

Top Water Fishing Season Tips

bass leaping from water bass leaping from water Chauncey Studios 2013

Eventhough we in the Midwest are getting a possible flake of snow in the forecast again this week, we at Shotem and Caughtem can not hold back the excitement any longer on talking about spring top water fishing.  Nothing gets us more excited than the time when fishing season becomes its most fun.  This is when the water temperatures rise and the predators come out to feast.  We prefer to lure or predators up to the surface, like Air Jaws (Great White Sharks down by South Cape, Africa since its almost Shark Week).  Nothing gets them to the surface like using top water fishing lures so here are some tips on what we use to get them leaping.  Let us know what you recommend in the comment section below or post photos to the gear section and tell us your stories.  Most of all get out there and Caught em'!

If you ask five different fishermen this question, you'll probably get at least three different answers, and they will probably all be right. You may have to try them all to see which one (or more) works for you. When is the best time to use them? Another question with several correct answers. In general, topwaters are most effective when the water temperature is in the high fifties or above.

The most common and probably the most popular topwater is the buzzbait. It's easy to use; just throw it out and reel it in, or so it seems. Throwing and reeling will catch bass, but a few variations might increase your odds of success. Throw the lure in the weeds, retrieving it over holes in the weeds, along edges, parallel to laydowns, or close to stumps. Start out with a slow retrieve in early spring and speed it up as the water temperature rises. Experiment with a varied retrieve; slow it down , speed it up, or jerk it every now and then to create more noise and a more erratic action.

Stickbaits such as the Rogue, Bomber Long A, Rapala Minnow and The Thunderstick are all excellent "twitch baits". Basically, in the spring, these lures are cast close to cover such as a weedbed, laydown or stump, and twitched to create a darting erratic motion. Try twitching and letting the lure sit for a short time or use a slow twitching retrieve. The fish will tell you which one they like. In the summer, these baits are very effective on bass feeding on shad on the surface. Just throw it into the scattering shad and retrieve it like it's hurt. They are also very effective on stripers when they are feeding on the surface.

Chuggers like the Chug Bug or the Pop-R are great summertime surface baits. These lures can be worked continuously back to the boat with a short jerking type motion, or they can be jerked a few times and left motionless for a short time. They can be worked in shallow water or over schooling fish. Vary the speed of your retrieve until you get the desired results.

The king of the big bass topwaters is the Zara Spook. Once you learn how to "walk the dog" with a Spook, you can consistently catch big fish in the early spring and fall. To "walk the dog", keep your rod tip down and make short (less than 1 foot) twitches with your rod tip while reeling at the same time. The lure will walk side to side as it moves toward you. Once again, vary the speed of your retrieve until you get bit. Spooks are especially good on points or in the backs of pockets where the big fish come to feed.

No matter which topwater you choose, they all have one common characteristic, the strikes that they trigger are heart-stopping. Usually, the fish explodes on the bait, sending water everywhere, and instilling in the angler an almost irresistible urge to instantly strike back. Don't do it! Wait until you feel the fish, then set the hook. Believe me, it's much easier said than done.

The down-side of topwater fishing is that you tend to lose more fish than you would when fishing other types of baits, but the excitement is well worth it.