There is nothing better than a good topwater bite. The anticipation of the next strike as you are working your lure on the surface is one of the most exciting things in bass fishing. The only thing more exhilarating is the actual topwater strike when the fish attacks the lure.
Besides just being exciting, topwater lures are a useful tool and catch bass in every region of the country. They also come in all shapes and sizes, but there are times when going big with topwater baits is the best way to catch monster bass.
When to Go Big
Most topwater baits are somewhere between 2.5” poppers and four-inch walking baits. These are the average sizes for these baits, but when the bass are feeding on bigger baitfish or when you want a truly monster bass, going with a big topwater can be your best bet.
As summer gets hotter, the baitfish that were part of that spring's spawn continue to grow and gain size, and the bass take notice and start looking for a bigger meal. Add in that fact that the water will soon be cooling, and that is a major reason why a bass wants to eat as much as they can before winter comes. That makes late summer and fall the perfect time to throw big topwater baits.
For this article, we are talking about baits larger than five-inches long that generally have three treble hooks attached.
Choosing a Big Topwater
One of the most popular big topwaters is the Heddon Super Spook. It measures five inches long and weighs 7/8 ounce, so it is a massive lure that can be cast a very long way. It has a great side-to-side walking action and has the power to draw fish from deep water or from a long distance to strike. It has been proven over the years and has a knack for catching big fish.
Another popular style of lures in recent years are pencil popper baits like the Evergreen Shower Blows, ima Little Stik, and Berkley Cane Walker. These baits are five-plus inches long and weigh an ounce or more, which helps you to cast them a long distance. What makes these baits so effective is that they can be walked, but they can also be popped to create splashing water that imitates a distressed baitfish.
The larger sizes of the River2Sea Whopper Plopper and Berkley Choppo are two other big topwaters that excel when bass want a big bait on the surface. They have a unique plopping sound as they are retrieved and are noisy lures that big bass can’t resist.
All three of these bait styles are unique in how they are fished, but they have one thing in common: monster bass love them.
Fishing a Big Walking Bait
Both the Super Spook and various pencil popper lures have a large profile, and that makes it reasonably easy to “walk the dog” and get them to sashay on the surface. For the most part, getting them to walk is all that is needed to catch fish with these baits. The cadence can vary based on how active the fish are that day, and it is always a good idea to mix it up until you start to catch fish and figure out what they want that day.
For pencil popper lures, alternate your retrieve with both walking and popping until you determine the best approach for that day and those conditions.
Fishing a Whopper Plopper
One unique thing about fishing a Whopper Plopper is that a simple cast and retrieve is the best approach. Cast the bait out and then bring it back to you. The only variation that is needed is with your retrieve speed as sometimes faster is better, but for the most part, a slow and steady retrieve is all you need. The tail section on the bait does the work and calls fish to your bait.
Big Topwater Gear
Since these baits are bigger and bulkier, a stronger rod and heavier line help to fish them. Select a rod that has the power to cast them and pull in big bass, but one that still has a light enough tip so you can walk the baits effectively. A 7’ medium heavy or heavy rod will suffice for these lures, but specialty topwater rods are available from many different brands.
When it comes to line, many anglers have found the benefits of using a braided line when fishing topwater baits. The qualities of these superlines allow the bait to cast easily and when using braid, a simple reel-set is all you need to get the fish hooked. Instead of jerking hard when one takes your lure, reel down towards the fish and the zero stretch from the braid will ensure the fish gets hooked. A 40or 50-pound braid will offer the right balance of strength and castability for these big topwaters.
There are many topwater baits on the market, and they are all fun to fish. Catching bass on a topwater lure is hard to beat, and when the time is right, big topwater baits can be your best bet to catch monster bass.
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