August 27, 2014 by Bryan Thrift
When Fish Look, But Don’t Take
The first bite or two on a topwater will tell you a lot about whether you need to make some changes or keep doing what you’re doing. If you miss the first fish, or maybe just barely hook it, there’s probably something wrong with the size or the type of lure that you’re throwing and how you’re working it. It has more to do with those factors than colors or whether your line size is too big, in my opinion. Usually it’s a matter of changing the lure and changing retrieves more than anything else.
I normally don’t pay a lot of attention to the line size when I’m fishing topwaters except as it affects my casting. If I’m throwing a light lure like a Rebel Pop-R, I’ll go with 12-pound test. If it’s a heavier bait, I might upsize if I think I need to in the circumstances.
If a fish swirls at my bait and doesn’t take it, mainly it’s telling me there’s something wrong with the cadence – I might be fishing it too fast or too slow. In the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray, the first morning I had some fish swirl at a buzzbait and miss it. I put that down and picked up a Pop-R, and caught a couple of keepers on it because I was fishing it slower. On the other hand, sometimes first thing in the morning, I’ll fish fast down a bank with a topwater. I’m looking for reaction strikes and know I need to cover a lot of water in a hurry. So that’s the time for that approach. Mainly, you just want to change when the fish show you it’s time to change.