Top-water baits 101

2010-10-16 00:00

IT has to be the explosive nature of top-water fishing that drives bass fisherman wild! The endured patience of serenity followed by the dramatic change of events when a bass uncontrollably commits to your wounded floating temptress is what sends any angler on an emotional addiction. Heightened senses and an accelerated heartbeat are two of the main pre-requisites needed for this approach, but there are more, so read on.

There is no right and wrong time to tempt bass to the surface, but there are times when your efforts will reap more reward. I personally feel anglers do not use top-waters on a regular enough basis. Maybe because most only perceive bass to feed on the surface during low light conditions and temperate months, but trust me, this is not the case!

I will normally only ignore a surface lure when the water temperature dips below 13°C, and this is not because the fish will not react to the bait, but simply because at this temperature I feel there are more effective ways to put them in the boat. Bear in mind, no matter how adverse the conditions, there will always be a percentage of fish relating to the shallows. This, however, does not mean surface baits can only be used in the shallows. A great way to locate feeding bass on the flats is with a noisy top-water. There is only one way to work this out though, and that is to chuck one!!

From here, the questions start flying, which bait? what colour? and how do I fish it? These questions can be best addressed by letting the elements influence your decision more than any other factor. First of all, low light conditions are your best indicator. Overcast skies, early morning and late evening generally gravitate the fish closer to the surface as well as the banks. Fishing a top-water during these conditions is a sure bet, but you can’t choose the conditions, so adjust with them. The next best thing to low light is wind. A windy bank will always produce more explosions than the lee bank. The wind mixes the water, disorientates the baitfish and heightens bass’ anger levels. Under windy conditions I will upsize my bait, normally to a Super Spook and speed up my retrieve. The proverbial “walk the dog” technique will suffice, but in the wind I like to get erratic. I tend to shorten the length of my rod twitches, but enhance the speed and cadence of the bait to create a fear-stricken “mood” in my bait. The general intention of this is to spark a similar realisation in the mind of the prowling fish resulting in awe-inspiring blow ups. Make sure you check out my follow up column on this topic in the next Information Bass.

I bet you thought that every type of plastic bait had been designed, perfectly produced in every shape and colour and no more choices would cross your fishing path? Well, so did I until the Netbait range of plastic baits hit the shelves. Netbait make an entire range of plastic baits, but they seem to have focused on ensuring that their designs, swim like no other plastic bait. This they have done perfectly!!

In particular I am talking about their range of craws. I have personally traded out any other craw I have ever used and loaded up with the full range of colours and sizes within the Netbait Paca Craw range. My Football Jigs now thump harder than ever, and my Pitching Jigs have become even more appealing when on the sink as the craw’s legs never stop moving!! You need to check out the tantalising range of Netbait products at the Fish Eagle in Victoria Road Pietermaritzburg, let me know what you think!!

One last thing before I sign out, you have all seen my boat, well it is for sale as I am in the process of upgrading. So if you are ready for an exhilarating fishing experience, give me a call at 084 431 5320. It is a Lightning Boat with a 150HP Evinrude E-Tec High Output along with all the extras needed. So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource! E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at

Catch em’ up.

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