UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

How to fish Prespawn Topwaters

Catching bass with any technique is definitely fun, but having a big one explode on a topwater is what most serious fishermen live for.

For many bass anglers, the topwater bite is reserved for the postspawn period when the water has begun to warm into the 70s and fish are schooling on the surface. However, some of the best, most explosive topwater action can occur before the bass make their annual transition to the spawning areas. I’m talking prespawn topwater.

The umbrella rig is what honestly changed my thinking on topwaters. Cold-water fish were always thought of as sluggish and lethargic. After experiencing just a few fish almost ripping the rod out of my hands while throwing an umbrella rig in the cold, I realized this just wasn’t the case. It made me wonder why fish that are clearly super-aggressive wouldn’t commit to a topwater bait of the right size. It turns out, they will.

There are two types of topwaters that I use during the prespawn stage. A long balsa wake bait such as the Rapala BX Waking Minnow is the first go-to option. The other is a Crock-O-Gator Head Knocker buzzbait. Fishing these baits is super simple.

 

Rapala BX Waking Minnow

Wake baits are a little more finesse that most topwaters. The large profile and tight side-to-side action are great for imitating a large gizzard shad in distress.

Retrieve: Make long casts and retrieve the bait at the slowest pace possible to keep the action going. As the bait gets closer, lower your rod tip.

Where: Target the same areas as you would throw shallow-diving jerkbaits – secondary points, 45-degree banks and the last channel-swing banks right before spawning flats.

When: Sunny days with just a little wind are prime, but never be afraid to try it in other situations.

Colors: Any type of shad pattern works. I tend to stay away from perch/bluegill patterns in the early season.

 

Crock-O-Gator Head Knocker buzzbait

I insist on the Crock-O-Gator Head Knocker for a couple of reasons. First, its small-profile, wide head planes out easily, and it has a large blade. The combo allows for long casts and slow retrieves with a small-profile topwater.

Retrieve: Make the longest cast possible, and work the bait as slowly as you can while keeping it on the surface. Occasionally “pop” the reel or rod if you come up to a piece of cover or structure. This could make followers commit to biting.

Where: Look for the flatter sloping banks in the spawning areas. A buzzbait is great around staging docks, stick-ups and laydowns.

When: Pre-frontal days will often prove best. The old saying is that if your bait is leaving a bubble trail, it’s a great buzzbait day.

Colors: Keep it simple. Cloudy days call for black with a gold blade. On sunny days, opt for a white/shad pattern with a silver blade.

 

Try out some of these quick tips the next time you’re out on the water before the spawn. You might just be surprised by the explosive topwater attacks you come into.

Tags: prespawn  -topwater  -buzzbait  -wake-bait  fishing-tips-advanced  cody-kelley 

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