Summer is here. And with the heat, comes lots of topwater action. This is one of my favorite times of the year to fish because bass are hungry as they come off the bed and several different baitfish species like bluegill, shad and herring are spawning. This combination of hungry bass and plentiful bait up near the water’s surface is a perfect recipe for lots and lots of topwater fishing blowups.
Today, we’re going to take a look at five great topwaters for this early summer portion of the year. Let’s dive in.
A popper like the Catch Mach-K Popper 70 seen here is a great bait to fish during the early summer. Again, baitfish are working their way through the spawning process across much of the country right now, and there’s not much that’s more effective than a popper thrown into the middle of a shad spawn or worked slowly across a patch of bluegill beds.
The mayfly hatch is also coming along soon for many of us across the country, and a popper perfectly imitates a little bream easing along plucking mayflies off the water’s surface. Compared to some of the other topwaters we’ll talk about today, the popper is intended more for open water use. And it’s likely one of the more finesse baits of the bunch, so it’s a great bait to go with if the bite is tough.
Walking Style Topwater
Walking style topwaters like the MONSTERBASS Ragnar or Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil are also baits that work well in open water and around spawning baitfish, but some more than others. Walking style topwaters are less effective around bluegill beds and more suited for shad spawns near the bank and spawning blueback herring which you’ll find out on longer points and humps in open water.
This style of topwater bait also works really well around tree tops the further we get into the summer. As the bass make their way off the beds, they’ll often hunker down in the end of a tree top seeking a little deeper water, shade and shelter as they try to recuperate. But they can hardly resist a good topwater walked right overhead and these baits are some of the best at calling those fish up and out of the cover.
As for a bait that you can just go down the bank with, a buzzbait is hard to beat in the early summer. Covering water is a big part of getting bit this time of year, as bass can often be pretty spread out and few and far between. A buzzbait gives you a fairly weedless topwater than can be thrown around a wide variety of cover without worrying about hanging up.
Being able to cover a lot of water with a fairly weedless bait like this makes a buzzbait one of the best baits to fish early in the morning and late in the evening when fish are typically biting the best this time of year. Maximizing those windows may mean several more bites versus fishing with a slower moving topwater during that first and last 30 minutes of daylight each day.
A buzz toad like the Gary Yamamoto Yama Frog is a fantastic compliment to the buzzbait and another great topwater during this early summer season. Anywhere a buzzbait can’t be fished, like through thicker grass patches and around other dense vegetation, the buzz toad fills in the gap nicely.
Bass are also guarding fry around this time of year, and for whatever reason they really hate a buzz toad. Whenever a toad buzzes by the ball of baby bass fry they’re guarding, they’ll typically at least slap at it or roll on it, even if they don’t eat the bait entirely. So a buzz toad gives you a great search bait for finding these fry guarders, that you can then throw in a followup bait like a wacky rigged stick bait to catch.
Hollow Body Frog
Another fantastic topwater for the early summer season, a hollow body frog can be used in lots of ways. Both popping and walking frogs work well and can be used to target bass relating to shad spawns, bluegill beds and mayfly hatches. And these baits offer a super weedless option compared to several of the others we’ve looked at so far, also giving you a great topper bait to skip under cover.
So if you’re fishing a shad spawn that’s happening against a line of grass or under a dock, a popping frog can replace a popper to give you an option that’s far less likely to snag on the cover and much easier to skip. Adding a topwater to the arsenal that can be fished in and around super thick cover really rounds off this list of five awesome topwaters for the early summer well.
If you’re wanting to cover a lot of water, the buzzbait is your best best. If you’re wanting to cover water that’s also dense with cover, like a grass line, I’d lean towards the buzz toad. If the fish are staging in tree tops or out on long points and humps, walking style topwaters are the go to.
If the bite is a little tougher and the fish aren’t wanting to commit to a bigger bait, go with the smaller popper. And both the popper and hollow body frogs work well around most spawning baitfish, choosing between the two accordingly based on the amount of cover present. So if you’re looking to get bit on top, tie on one or all five of these baits and get out there on the water. Now’s a great time to draw an explosive topwater strike from a monster bass!