How To Topwater Fish

Every angler has that one fishing buddy that refuses to use any other technique than topwater fishing and let’s be honest, there’s a reason why.

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Every angler has that one fishing buddy that refuses to use any other technique than topwater fishing and let’s be honest, there’s a reason why. They’re having lots of fun and so should you.

There’s nothing more fun than watching the thrill of a monster fish exploding out of the blue to demolish your strategically place topwater lure. The anticipation that comes with waiting for a strike and heart-stopping excitement of watching a fish thunderously blowing up on your lure is a sight to behold! That’s not all; you’ll rarely go wrong with topwater fishing as it’s more often than not, very productive. There’s indeed something special about watching your topwater lures pop and weave across the water. Topwater fishing is certainly a fishing technique that will fill you with anticipation as you patiently wait for the splash of your next big strike and it can’t get any better.

Topwater fishing generally revolves around using topwater lures to catch fish on the water surface. These lures are designed to stay afloat just above the surface of shallow water. The lure should be designed to perfectly mimic the sound and shapes of small fish, insects, and food that your targeted fish usually prey on the water surface. Whether you’re looking to catch redfish, trout or largemouth bass, topwater fishing is a truly exciting adventure.

In that regard, let’s walk you through how topwater fish.

Table of Contents

The Best Time to Topwater Fish

As with any fishing technique, weather conditions play a critical role in the outcome of your adventure. In other words, the season, weather, and time of the day can determine how productive your topwater fishing is.

The best time to go topwater fishing is during the post-spawn. This is late in spring going into fall months. The idea here is that the fish are actively looking for food after spawning given that they’re starving and will likely bite on the water surface. Again, topwater fish can be ideal during summer. This is because most fish have a high metabolism and will be more active. Autumn is also a great time to topwater fish as the water temperatures are still warm enough for fish to keep biting.

Keep in mind that fish are cold-blooded creatures that prefer warmer waters of above 55 degrees. This is why you should avoid topwater fishing when the water temperatures are lower as fish will be lethargic and will retrieve to deeper waters. Again, fish are more unlikely to bite at the water surface if the water temperature is too high. This is because the oxygen levels at the surface will significantly decrease and fish will less likely come to feed at the water surface.

The best time to topwater fish is at dawn and dusk. Most fish species are sensitive to light and prefer feeding under low light or when there’s no sun. They also have an acutely-tuned internal barometer that makes them very sensitive to impending storms and heavy rains. This means that they’ll come to feed at the top just before the storm before retrieving deeper into the water during the storm.

The Best Topwater Fishing Lures

Although topwater lures are made with materials such as hollow rubber, wood or hard plastics, they should be designed to mimic the insects and fish that most fish generally prey on. In other words, they’re designed to float at the surface and to move and sound like the prey of the fish you’re targeting. Here are some of the best topwater lures.

Poppers – These are ideal topwater lures. They’re small in size and typically make popping sounds when they’re on the water thanks to their concave, open mouth. You should, however, keep in mind that they’re action-less lures and you have to maneuver them to achieve the desired results.

Buzzbaits – As one of the most popular topwater lures, buzzbaits have propeller blades to one wire on one end and the wire carrying the hook on the other end. This is to make the lures a lot easier to maneuver through murky waters and is ideal for fishing in places with heavy weeds.

Surface Lures – These types of lures are designed to look like frogs and insects that attract fish to feed at the surface. Also called surface walkers, these types of topwater lures are specifically made to float at the surface and can be quite difficult to maneuver in rough waters, which essentially make them ideal for smooth-running waters.    

Propbaits – These types of topwater baits work perfectly when the water temperatures are above 60 degrees. They’ll create a disturbance when jerked slightly and this is essential in attracting fish in calm waters.

Stickbaits – These are action-less lures that will require you to make maneuvers such as “walking the dog.” They’re ideal around water structures such as docks and tree stumps.

When it comes to the colors of the lure, it’s advisable that the color should match the surrounding area or the color of food that your targeted fish feeds on. For instance, if your targeted fish feeds on green frogs, it might be wise to go with green surface lures.

Topwater Fishing Techniques

The most important thing when it comes to topwater fishing is to concentrate and keep your eyes on the lure. This is because fish can suddenly go for your lure out of nowhere and you’d only want to be attentive when that moment to arrive. You’ll, of course, have to be very patient and anticipate having a bite on your lure at any moment.

Similarly, having tension on your line is another key factor. You have to maneuver the lure to catch the attention of the fish and just wait for the bite. As such, you should always keep your line tight so that it doesn’t tangle when the fish is trying to pull it away. It should be tight enough but not too tight. This means that you should leave a little bit of slack on the line and constantly make a twisting motion with the wrist of your hand to set the hook and to ensure that the lure is in action.

The main problem when topwater fishing is dealing with the hook. Needless to say, the excitement of watching a fish explode on your lure can be so thrilling that you might forget to let the hook set properly in the fish’s mouth. The best thing to do is give the fish a second or two to fully bite the lure and start pulling. You should suddenly snap your wrist to make sure that the hook sets in properly before you start reeling in the fish.

Again, you should use a very light line to allow you to maneuver the lure easily. The lure must make enough noise to attract the fish and the reel should be perfectly timed to capture and land the fish.

Bottom Line

Topwater fishing is arguably the most exciting fishing technique you’ll ever come across. The excitement of watching the fish exploding in full motion when going for the lure is spectacular. We hope that this technique will work for you and you’ll have lots of fun. Just follow the above-described tips and you’ll probably stick to topwater fishing for the rest of your angling days!

Recent Articles

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Thank you! You're signed up for our free newsletter!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form