Most bass anglers remember the first time a bass blew up on their top water lure. For many of us that first experience was on a bait out of Dad’s tackle box like a Jitterbug or Hula Popper. That first strike probably played a huge part in your addiction to catching green fish. That strike probably came as your lure came past a tree, stump or weed patch, do you remember it now?

Topwater fishing is still a technique that tournament anglers rely on to put fish in the boat and our choice of topwater lures is much larger than it was when we raided the top tray of Dad’s box. Today’s topwater lures will take up several tackle boxes and like many of our bass lures we will search out the best bait for the job. Topwater fishing has also evolved into a technique that you can use to catch bass from early spring to late fall. In the past we probably only fished topwater in the heat of the summer and then only at dawn and dusk.

I want to share with you several of my favorite topwater baits and how and when I fish them. A walking bait like the River 2 Sea Rover or Heddon Zara Spook has become one of the most popular lures on the tournament trail. The “Spook” was all but forgotten until Greg Hines put it back into the winners circle at the 1980 U.S. Open on Lake Mead and for the past 25 years or so it has been one of the baits pro’s turn to. The large walking baits are heavy enough to make a long cast with and cover a large amount of water. These  baits are worked with a “walking the dog” technique that has the bait walking from left to right to entice the strike. It takes a bit of practice but mastering the presentation of this lure will put some awesome bass into your boat. I prefer to throw these baits on 12-15 pound test Berkley Big Game mono line. Working the Rover out on long points, over a submerged willow bush or on the high tide at the Delta has resulted in some of my biggest bass.

The Popper