descriptions of the top fishing lures
and great "How To's" on
when and where to use each of these
- Generally, buzzbaits do not become
effective until early summer when
water temperatures reach the lower
seventies. Then they continue to catch
fish even during the hottest months.
Once largemouth have spawned and begin
feeding during low light hours a buzzbait
is perhaps the most efficient lure
to locate and catch them.
and evenings are usually best, but
overcast conditions can keep fish
biting on top all day. White skirts
and copper blades are by far the most
popular buzzbait combinations.
- Parallel fishing the bank or a weedline
is the most popular buzzbait technique,
as it allows anglers to cover a lot
of water quickly. Fish them in shallows
around any fish holding structure.
Generally they are not fished in water
over ten feet.
– Cast the bait out right up
to whatever target structure exists.
Begin the retrieve just a second before
the lure hits the water so that the
blade will start to turn when it does
strike the surface. Many anglers make
the mistake of ripping the buzzbait
back to the boat during the retrieve,
this is not correct. The lure should
be retrieved just fast enough to keep
the blade turning. Remember don’t
let it sink when it hits the water.
– New buzzbaits need to be made
noisy. Experienced anglers will take
a new buzzbait and often tie it to
their vehicle antennae on the way
to the lake to break it in. While
flying down a lake in a bass boat,
many anglers will leave place a rod
rigged with a buzzbait in an upright
position so that the blade turns in
the wind. A noisy buzzbait will attract
This lure is most effective in cold
water from late fall on through the
winter into early spring.
– Perhaps to start with, where
not to use this lure. Do not use it
around pads or grass, as the resulting
hang up is not worth the effort. Once
mastered, it is an effective around
any fish holding structure in shallow
to very deep water.
– This lure takes a bit of determination
on the part of the angler in order
to master its use. It is worth the
effort. Always cast this lure beyond
the targeted structure. Cast the lure
out and immediately reel the slack
out of the line. Very often, a strike
will occur as the lure sinks. In order
to detect these strikes "on the
fall", the angler must stay in
contact with the lure by keeping a
taunt line. If anything feels different,
such as a feeling of sudden lightness,
or a mushy feeling, set the hook.
the lure has settled to the bottom,
different retrieves may be used. You
might "hop" the lure back
by up swinging the rod tip to hop
the lure a foot or so while permitting
it to settle to the bottom again.
This technique kicks up small puffs
of sediment, much like a crawfish
on the move. A very slow, steady retrieve
is another technique, especially in
cold water when fish are lethargic.
Finally, try several consecutive very
short jerks, then let the lure stop
for a few seconds before repeating
– For cold water fishing many
anglers prefer a jig with a dark color
skirt. As for the pig part, use an
opposing dark color pork rind, plastic
grub or imitation crawfish. The weight
of the jig used is a matter of personal
preference. Some anglers say the deeper
the water, the heavier the jig. Often
this is a mistake. Many times in deep
water a light- weight jig-n-pig will
be more effective. It is only critical
to feel what the jig is doing, regardless
of water depth.
– This is a warm water lure.
Once the water reaches the seventies
it’s time to start tossing them.
Work them in the morning and evening
on clear days. With over cast skies
they can be effective all day long.
– Generally these are shallow
water baits. Once the water gets over
five to six feet, depending upon clarity,
they are not effective, with a few
exceptions. At times and in some waters
largemouth bass and striped bass will
surface feed in deep open water. These
lures can be deadly during those times.
– The first part of the "how"
needs to address properly rigging
these baits. Since these baits are
fished as top water baits or just
beneath the surface no weight is used.
Ideally, an offset shank hook should
be used. Perhaps the easiest way to
visualize the proper rigging of these
baits is to first place the lure down
on a flat surface. Now take a 1/0
to 3/0, offset shank hook and place
the eyelet of the hook so it hangs
just over the nose edge of the lure.
Make sure the hook, as it lies, follows
the center of the bait body and is
parallel to it. Now picture the hook
in the same position, only this time
positioned inside and down the center
of the lure body. Note: the lure body
should remain perfectly straight once
the hook is rigged, as this is a critical
lures are retrieved in short erratic
jerks, causing them to pop up and
down and to zigzag across the surface.
They imitate the action of a frantic
and perhaps wounded baitfish skittering
across the surface. Fished in this
manner the angler should see all strikes
and waste no time in executing a hookset
are times when fish will not take
these lures when worked top water.
In that case, let the lure settle
beneath the surface and employ the
same retrieve. This time when a strike
occurs more than likely the angler,
for a split second, will feel nothing
at the end of the line, indicating
a strike has occurred. Again, immediately
set the hook with authority.
– When fish are reacting to
top water lures on lakes or rivers
they can be deadly. Many times when
local fishing reports indicate fish
are hitting noisy top water hard baits
and you try them with little or not
results, switch to one of these two
baits. Often fish will respond to
noiseless top water while ignoring
in doubt about what colors to use
favor a white body with black, gray
or blue top. When water depth gets
over five to six feet in clear water
response to these lures drops off
dramatically with one exception. When
fish are observed surface feeding
in deep open water. These lures will
attract strikes from virtually every
game fish when used under the conditions
Examples – Though there are
many more on the market, here are
some examples of these lures. Rico,
the Pop-R, the new Arbogast Blooper,
the P.J. Pop from Luhr-Jensen and
the Rattlin' Chug Bug from Storm
– It is usually some time in
mid-May that bass will begin to aggressively
to strike surface lures. Topwater
action will continue throughout the
summer in the low light hours and
then peak again during late fall,
just before the fish head back down
to winter time haunts.
– Locating good spots to employ
poppers is as easy as checking a topographic
map. Scan the lake or river for shallow
flats, two to four feet deep, split
by or nearby a creek channel. Once
Iargemouths finish spawning they will
drop back into these channels for
a week or so, then hit flats, looking
for food to help replenish stocks
lost during the rigors of spawning
and guarding the nest.
water temperatures will be in the
upper sixties to upper seventies with
largemouth ganging up in most shallow
structure waiting to ambush prey.
Weed lines, fallen trees, stumps and
just plain creek channels are prime
areas to connect with nice bass with
– A basic retrieve is to let
the lure sit on the water after the
cast until the ripples dissipate.
Then with the rod tip pointed down,
pull it up and make the lure pop while
reeling it in a few feet. Repeat the
process back to the boat. Beyond this
basic but effective retrieve the pros
employ innumerable modifications to
suit their personal desires. Some
will give it three successive pops
before letting it rest momentarily.
Others will retrieve it with a rapid
series of non-stop popping. However,
most pros agree that what color you
select makes little difference. It’s
a matter of experimenting with the
cadence and rhythm of the retrieve
that makes the difference.
– Take one of your surface poppers
and file down the lip. Experiment
with it. By filing down the lip the
normal popping sound changes more
to a "shushing" noise. Many
poppers come with bucktails on the
end. Some pros like to tie/glue on
feathers of different colors. Some
pros like to sand the shine off the
belly of the lure to dull it. They
all get results from their modifications.
Experiment with your own. Like any
other fishing lure, poppers are fish
catchers when used in the proper place
under the right conditions.
– There are a vast number of
different designs, sizes, shapes and
colors on the market. In fact books
have been written on their use. While
they can be used all year around they
are not generally a cold water lure.
They are effective from spring through
fall. The size of the lip is the key
to what maximum depth they will run
at which ranges from the surface down
to 25 feet.
– Most anglers use crankbaits
around visible and sunken structure,
at the edge of weed, grass and pad
lines and along drop-offs. They are
perhaps one of the most versatile
lures an angler has in his arsenal.
Deep running crankbaits are often
used while trolling around submerged
structure, across points, sandbars
– The inherent design of crankbaits
makes them the user-friendliest lure
any angler can fish with. However,
it is often the cadence and rhythm
of the retrieve that makes the difference
between catching and not catching
fish. One crankbait referred to as
red fin for example, has a long slender
body with three sets of hooks. A shallow
runner using a very slow steady retrieve
just enough to impart a wiggling action
to the lure at the surface will attract
strikes from stripers. The same lure
retrieved using a series of short
jerks and pauses will, on the other
hand attract strikes from largemouth
bass, while the striper will more
than likely pass it up.
– When using shallow or deep
running crankbaits always cast beyond
the target area. You need to give
the lure time to reach its running
depth. At times after the lure has
reached its maximum depth try stopping
the retrieve permitting the lure to
float upward a short distance and
then continue. Often this pause will
attract a strike once the lure starts
to move again. With crankbaits that
have long lips, permit them to tick
across the bottom. By striking bottom
they appear to be feeding baitfish,
kicking up small clouds of sediment.
Crankbaits are also a good way to
fish a large area of water of quickly.
If you catch one fish on a crankbait
in an area, consider switching to
a different lure in the same area.
Often this will result in taking several
fish from the spot in quick order.
– The jigging spoon, such as
the Hopkins or Silver Buddy are weighted
spoons designed for vertical jigging
and are used all year around. These
lures will catch most any species
– Generally this class of lure
is used to fish deep water and is
often used to catch suspended fish
over deep water. Fish it over deep-water
structure such as humps, drop-offs,
around bridge pilings and deep-water
– A critical factor is to always
stay in touch with lure. As you permit
it descend into the depths keep the
line just taunt enough so that if
a fish strikes on the fall you can
detect the bite. Once the lure has
hits bottom, raise it up a foot or
two and commence vertical jigging.
Vary the rate that you jig at from
time to time. If you fail to attract
a strike near the bottom, raise the
lure another foot or so and repeat
the process all the up to the surface.
Pay attention because often a fish
will strike the lure as it falls while
jigging. If you locate a school of
fish using electronics that are suspended
a vertical jig is ideal for this situation.
Remember however, that fish will readily
strike a lure above them as opposed
to one below them.
– These lures are intended to
imitate a baitfish, darting about
frantically, think in those terms
when working these lures. A fish will
not hold onto these lures after the
strike. Therefore the angler needs
to concentrate on the task at hand,
be sensitive to any change in "feel"
while using the lure in order to catch
– Anytime from spring through
fall is good for spinnerbaits.
– Use it anyplace you can without
getting up in grass, weeds or pads
and of course fish holding areas.
Work it around docks, piers, bridges
or any other structure about. Toss
it to breaks in grass and weed lines
or opening is a pad field.
– You need to learn more about
this remarkable fish catching lure.
The "more" comes into play
in learning what type blade design
and colors work best under certain
conditions. The simplest way to work
these lures is to cast it out and
simply retrieve it fast enough to
set the blades in motion. You can
begin the retrieve the second it hits
the water and work it shallow or you
can count down and work it at a desired
depth. Once you’ve decided what
depth you want to work at you may
vary the retrieve speed or cadence.
One variation is to get the lure working
along for several feet and let it
fall down several feet and begin the
retrieve the again. Rolling a spinnerbait
is often very effective.
– Hold the lure in a horizontal
position so that the blades are pointing
down toward the hook. Make sure the
blades are not making contact with
the hook. If so, bend the wire upward
to correct this condition. Some anglers
like to bend the wire that holds the
hook about one-quarter inch off to
one side or the other. They do this
because often a fish strikes the lure
from the side and fails to get hooked.
Another trick is bending the wire
that the blades are on to the side.
The lure will then run in an arc around
pilings. Keep an extra supply of skirts
in your tackle box so that you can
change a worn one or to change skirt