Top water bass fishing about to peak

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This week seems to be the mid-point of summer and that means the best top water bass fishing is about to peak.

As water temperatures rise around the clock, weed beds thicken, often covering the surface like a welcome mat of green goop, and that helps the appetites of bass. It is time for the best of the best.

Top water

Area bass fishermen look forward to the top water action for a couple of reasons. First, because it is without argument, a technique that works best in the warmer weeks of summer, and more importantly it is one of the most exciting ways to fish the nation’s favorite game fish.

Indeed, the noisy, violent, and sudden strike of a not just hungry, but angry largemouth bass is nothing short of a “wow factor” event.

Anglers thought for years that top water action peaked in periods of calm water and during the darkness of night and that’s about the only time most traditional bass fans used floating lures and top water, or surface techniques.

But in recent years, bass fishing experts have been touting the effectiveness of top water lures anytime and anywhere as an alternative to the more accepted use of sinking artificial lures. And for good reason, because top water works.

Here’s the deal

Bass, especially big largemouth bass, eat anything and everything when the opportunity presents itself.

They like to ambush dinner from a hideout under weed cover, overhead bushes, logs, and boat docks. And they are patient. They wait and they wait and according to the pros, they often strike instinctively, not just out of a need to feed.

That fact leads right into one of the best methods, or approaches, to top water fishing.

The trigger

Kent resident Dick Kotis, who headed the Akron-based Arbogast lure company for decades, the company that built a lasting reputation around the famous top water Jitterbug and Hula Popper lures, fished his way around the world by professing that a top water lure, once casted ought to lay quietly as the ripple of the splash spreads and finally dies out.

Only then, he said, should the lure be moved, or simply twitched, and the sudden, but subtle move would often trigger a nearby bass to strike.

And yes, that move, a most natural move, works just as well today as it did in past decades. But that’s not the only way to fish top water.

Surface lures

Some of the more recent surfaces lures seem to work best when they are retrieved fairly quickly with plenty commotion and noise.

Weedless spoon style lures can be dragged across matted weedbeds to entice strikes.

There are several surface lures now and even more surface fishing techniques.

The Jitterbug and Hula Popper are legendary for sure, but Rebel’s Pop-R is very popular now and so are Johnson weedless spoons, frog look-a-likes, and quickly retrieved buzz or spinner baits.

Add to that list add additional fake critters like imitation mice, ducklings, and even snakes. And of course, the ever popular Weedwing is easy to use and highly effective as it gives hidden bass a visible and noisy target.

It is time. Go fishing.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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