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Topwater Bait Selection

Summer is the best time of year to fish topwater baits; topwater baits for several species of fish.  Now maybe you spend all your time bouncing bottom while you are fishing, and in that case you are about to ignore me.  But, you should not.  You should be fishing topwater baits at least part of the time, if not a lot of the time.

A couple of years back I blogged about the variety of topwater baits, tools, and how you might choose the right tool for the job, Top Edge.  I am not going to repeat that whole post here, but I am going to return to some of what I said.  They may all be fished on the surface, but different topwater baits are best fished in different situations.  Which ones?  How fast or how slow you need to fish is an important consideration.  How much commotion you want to make is another one.

Along those lines, I found this short video.  It specifically refers to muskie baits and muskie fishing, but the principles apply to all topwater baits for all species.  Do not ignore it just because you are not throwing foot-long muskie baits.  I have often said that fishing for a variety of species will make you a better angler.  What you learn fishing for one species can be applied to others.  Take what this video says and down-size a little:

You may have noticed that all the topwater baits in that short video were designed for fishing situations where snags or aquatic vegetation were absent.  Of course topwater baits also are great tools around cover and aquatic vegetation in mid-summer.  Again, take the principles in that video and apply them to the variety of “snag-less” baits that are in your tackle box.  Fortunately, the “scum frog” type baits now come in a variety of shapes and actions.  You can fine-tune which of those baits works best in certain “weedy” situations.  Do not cuss those algae mats, you should be throwing baits right onto them!

You also might have noticed the dark colors of the baits in the video.  I will always tell you that the color of bait often makes more difference to the fisherman than it does to the fish.  Color should be one of the last presentation variables you worry about.  Consider that black baits or black bellies will provide a contrasting silhouette to fish looking up at the surface.  You might want bright colors on the top so you can see the bait.  Maybe, in very clear water, color might make a difference.  Other than that, color probably don’t mean nothing.

Prime time, early and late in the day often are the best times to throw topwaters.  They can work in the middle of a hot sunny day too.  If the fishing situation suggests it, if you have a hunch, give it a try!  Get ready for the water to explode!


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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