If you haven't fished on top for bass in the spring, you have missed a treat. Work a topwater plug like a Zara Spook, Jitterbug, Pop-R, Tiny Torpedo Hula Popper or any of the hundreds of others on the market, or choose a buzz bait and chunk it out and reel it in. With either choice, the strike will take your breath away.
In the hot summer in the south topwater baits work well early in the morning and late in the afternoon. I start my summer tournaments with a Rico popper, working it around gravel flats where bait fish feed, beside docks, through any grass beds I can find and over trees in the water. I often get my biggest fish this way.
In the fall rocky banks are great for bass on top early in the morning and will often hit all day long, especially if it is cloudy. You can even catch bass on top in the winter. I fished with a tournament angler one January when the water was 48 degrees on top and he caught a 14 inch largemouth on a topwater plug that morning.
Look for bass around shoreline cover but don't skip over flats and deeper structure. Bass will come up from many feet deep to eat a top water plug. The clearer the water, the further the bass seem to be willing to chase the bait. Standing timber, even when over thirty feet deep, will also hold bass that will come up and hit your lure.
A special condition happens when blueback herring are in a lake. These baitfish come to the top on sunny days in open water. Lakes like Lanier are well known for a topwater bite for spotted bass that will come up from brush and timber that is in 30 plus feet of water to smash a big topwater bait. This pattern works best in lakes that have blueback herring and spotted bass.
Boat docks also offer good cover to fish with top water plugs. Posts and brush around them hold bass and they will hit a topwater plug early in the morning. If you can cast into the shade under the dock you can catch them even on bright sunny days.
A popping bug for bluegill will offer lots of fun and some good fish to eat too. Bream will hit a bug on top at any time of the day during the spring. The best fishing is when they are on the bed but they feed all the time. Look for grass beds, brush in the water or rocks to fish around.
Northern Pike are known for hitting topwater as are other species like Muskies and pickerel. These fish like grass edges so look for them where they live and feed.
If you can find hybrids or stripers schooling on top, you can not cast a top water plug into them and get it back. They will hit anything they see. Use a big plug like a Pop-R or Hula Popper and tie a small dropper fly about 16 inches behind it. If the fish want a mouthful, they will eat the plug. If they just want a snack, they can eat the fly. When you hook a fish, let it run. You will often get a double hookup this way when other fish in the school chase the one with the plug in its mouth. When stripers and hybrids are making their spawning run they will also hit top water worked over them.
Do you have a favorite top water lure or method of fishing on top? Share your opinions in the comment section in the blog.