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How to Catch Big Fish on Topwater Lures

by: Lenny T. Waters

How to Catch Big Fish on Topwater Lures picture

Nothing is more exciting in fishing than catching huge bass on topwater lures. When the big fish come to the surface to feed they attack with power and explosiveness. For many fishermen, seeing the strike happen is more exiting than reeling in the fish. Most fisherman have a favorite go-to floating lure to bust out when they see fish striking on the surface. There are a three classic topwater lure models that have been producing big fish strikes for a many decades, these are the devil's horse, the rapala minnow, and the hula popper. These are the original branded names of these lures, but many variations and clones exist in any tackle shop.

Devil's Horse

The devil's horse is the right choice when the weather is hot and big bass are holding in cover and ambush feeding. Retrieving the lure in short pulls that generate a slight commotion on the surface should generate fish strikes. The buzzing boldly colored devil's horse might make the bass angry and annoyed enough to attack. Another theory is that the buzzing devil's horse is simulating a large insect like a spitting devil or georgia thumper grasshopper. Either way, late spring and summer when big bass have moved off the beds is a good time for pitching the devil's horse. The monster bass in the photo up top was caught by on a devil's horse by Kirk. He was fishing from a boat in the St. Johns River near Palatka, Florida.

Rapala Minnow

The time to use the rapala minnow or other floating minnow like baits is when the water is calm and the wind is very low. The floating minnow should dive and wiggle just beneath the surface when retrieved. Small rings should be visible on the surface around where the minnow darts in the water. The rings are feeding signals to predator fish. The video below shows a largemouth bass being caught on a floating rapala minnow.

Sometimes it is too windy to use a floating minnow. They don't usually cast as well as other lures, and light line is required for good casting and stealthy presentation.

Topwater fishing in calm water is the right time to use blue or fluorescent blue fishing line if the sky is clear. The blue line will be invisible to the fish looking upward toward your lure with the sky as a backdrop. Topwater strikes happen a lot less often when the sun is directly overhead. Dawn and dusk are the peak times of day for topwater bass fishing. That being said, many factors such as moon phases cause natural feeding times to occur at seemingly random times twice a day. Somehow the animals all know when the feed is on, and when you see the birds become active, the fish begin biting.

Hula Popper

The hula popper is a good choice when fish are schooling in open water or patrolling in a large area. The popping sounds can call fish from a long way off. The popping sound simulates fish feeding at the surface, and other fish come to get in on the action. These lures work well at night also when the fish have a harder time finding lures by sight. When night fishing it helps when the moon is bright and your popper has a dark black silhouette.

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