Top water fishing serves up lunch for the largemouth bass


The sound of lunch being served comes in a variety of sounds to a variety of people, critters, and even fishes.

Lunch is served

Mom calling is one, tapping on skillet and announcing the soup of the day. A layer of grain rattling in a tin bucket is another, a simple sound that brings the most stubborn of steeds to the halter and hand. And still another is best heard just before dark when the water calms and the heat of day slips away.

Sounds say a lot

It’s the sound, or sounds, that tell a lurking largemouth bass, that lunch is being served. Line flips of the reel as a lure propels itself toward a patch a lily pads. It’s a soft sound, just a small object pulling thin line, a whisper of nothing but a whisper just the same.

The lure

The object, a lure that will come to rest within inches of the nearest green pad, does indeed break the near silence with a forceful “plop” and with the noise comes a pattern of rings that propel outward like a watery bulls eye.

Attention getting

If the lure has landed in a good place and it has the attention of a largemouth bass, a predator for sure, an opportunist that is suddenly hungry with the sound of the lure, a “plop” that is every bit like the thought of grain is to a pastured horse and the call to lunch is to a hungry kid.

The lure could represent a duckling, a frog, or even a large insect, a dragon fly maybe. The fish feels it more than hears it. That’s how fish are. And it moves in for the kill. The rings give direction and the bass eyes the object.

But a big old bass can be somewhat reluctant, somewhat neutral, somewhat wary. It may be full already, maybe just lazy. But it continues to study the floating prey. Then the lure comes to life.


A twitch, a splash, a wiggle and another quick splash. More noise now but not from the lure. It’s an eruption from below. The movement has triggered the bass. The lure will not get away, not this time. The bass opens wide as he gobbles the object. Its violent and a natural event.

Top water fishing

It is called top water fishing and it is prime time right now. Late summer, quiet evenings, weed filled lakes, and warm water all add into it. Largemouth bass love to lurk under and in weed beds and lily pads. The lay there quietly and patiently for the opportunity to grab a passing frog or errant mouse.

According to Dick Kotis, world- travelled fisherman and promoter of the famed Jitterbug lure Dick Kotis, the most effective technique for top water action is to cast accurately, placing the lure close to a likely looking hiding spot then delaying any thought of retrieving the lure.

Sudden movement

In an interview several years back, Kotis said that letting the lure settle at least a good while drives the fish wild. Then the sudden movement triggers the strike. Kotis’s lesson was good as gold then and still remains excellent advice for the top water approach.

Top water fishing is exciting to say the least. Before dark, the strike is visible. After dark it’s even better. A splash, a slurp, a crunch followed by a strong tug and the fight’s on. Pure fishing fun.


The Jitterbug is a standard for top water bass fishing but there are several other good lures available. Soft plastic frogs, Pop-R’s, and many more. Smart anglers use strong line because the fight will take place in heavy weeds, around junk, and in the jungle below lily pads. Try it. It’s a blast.

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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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