Bass Fishing Topwater Lures – What, Where, When, & How to catch bass on top!

bass fishing topwater lures

Bass fishing topwater lures is a ton of fun, but only if you get bites. Here is everything you need to know about using a topwater lure to catch bass. This post includes how to select the right topwater lure, where and when you should fish with them, and what baits will work the best in the situations you come across. There is also some video footage included to help guide you in your quest  for catching bass on the surface. Hopefully, this get’s your stoke juices flowing. Enjoy!




Bass Fishing Topwater Lures

Bass Fishing with Topwater lures is my favorite way to catch bass. A lot of people miss out on this experience because they don’t know the logistics of when, where, and how to throw these baits. The most memorable days on the water for me are the topwater days. The ones where you catch them all day long on the surface. Bass are so agressive, it’s fun to see there raw power explode on the surface attacking lures. My goal here is to help you get more strikes on topwater lures, and get those bass “Kraken” on the top!

Bass Fishing Topwater Lures – When to use them.

When should you throw a topwater? If there is an inkling they might hit one, I throw it. Yet, there are definite times when a topwater should be your go-to lure.  Here is a list of some major indicators that will help you recgonize when to throw a towpater lure.

Water Temperature

Water temperature is the first and foremost indicator for topwater strikes. Once the water hits 70 degrees or higher it is prime time to throw a topwater. The warmer the water gets the better the topwater bite can become. This is because bass are cold blooded, so when the water temperatures get higher they need to feed more. They are much more willing to run down a bait, and suck it off the top in those warm water conditions.

Low Light Conditions

Early morning, late evening, or overcast cloudy low light days are your best bet for bass fishing topwater lures. Sure, you may hear of someone catching bass on top on a clear blue bird sky all day, but that is by far the exception and not the rule. You’ll find when the sun comes out the bass will start slowing down from hitting your topwater lures.

No Wind

From my experience you can kiss your topwater bite good bye when the wind starts blowing.  The chop and waves make it hard for the bass to zero in on your bait, or let alone see it. Grab something else when the wind kicks up waves bigger than the size of you lure. A squarebill crankbait is sometimes a good option.

Aggresive Bass Indicators

One of the best ways to tell if a bass will hit topwater lures is when you get a strike almost immediately when your bait hits the water. You might be throwing a crankbait, senko, or whatever, and boom a bass comes and smacks it off the surface as soon as it lands down. You may even see a bass come up and hit your bait right at your feet when you bring it to the surface. Pay attention to these types of strikes. If you are getting violent hits near the surface, set your current bait down, and do some bass fishing with topwater lures!

bass fishing topwater lures conditions
Bass Fishing Topwater Lures the conditons have to be right. This was lowlight early morning, flat calm warm water to get this toad.

Bass Fishing Topwater Lures – Where to use them.

Where is the best place to use a topwater lure? The key is to throw them in shallower water. Oftentimes, right up along the bank. If the water is clear, you might get away with throwing them out in 10 – 12 feet of water, but the majority of bites come in 5 feet or less. If the water is only 5 feet deep a bass doesn’t have to travel very far to hit your bait. Plus, topwaters get noticed more with only 2-3 feet over a bass’s head vs. 15 – 20 feet over their head.

Bass are predators the will lay in shallow water off points, next to brush, or under matted vegetation to swing out and pick off those easy meals. Throw topwater lures around the cover. The best topwater bass fishing occurs when the bass are laying shallow in those areas. Another thing to remember is to make long casts when fishing shallow water. 89% of your topwater strikes will occur within the first 6 feet of your retrieve. Bass are smart, if they see, hear, or feel anything unusual they will lock their jaws down. Making long casts into the right areas will help you get more topwater bites.

bass fishing topwater lures spots
Bass fishing topwater lures work best in shallow areas with cover as illustrated here.

Bass Fishing Topwater Lures – Selecting What baits to use.

Selecting the right topwater lure can be challenging. Here are is simple breakdown of the most popular topwater lures, and what baits work best in different situations.

Topwater Popper Lures

The popper is considered one of the most finesse style of topwater baits. It pops and stops staying in the strike zone longer enticing bass to come up and suck it down. Poppers are easy to use, and they have sharp treble hooks on a small bait. This enables you to hook up on more bites. Use a popper if you have clean surface water. Grass or debris will have you cleaning your bait all day long. Poppers also work best for catching numbers of bass. Poppers will work best when water temperatures are cooler in the low 70’s when bass aren’t quite chasing down as aggressively.

There are a lot of good topwater poppers on the market. Some of my favorites are the ones made by Strike King , Yo-Zuri, and Megabass . Match the color of you popper to the primary forage in the lake, and you should be in business.

bass fishing topwater lures poppers
This is one of my favorite bass fishing topwater lures the megabass pop-x in sexy shad color.

Spook Style Topwater Lures

Spook style baits are my personal favorite. They shine the best for me out in the open clear water when all the above mentioned conditions are present. Because of the exposed treble hooks on spooks your hook up ratio is better when you get strikes, and you can cast them a mile on a good baitcasting rod and reel set up. Throw a spook style bait if you want to cover more open water and hopefully pick up a few bigger bites. It’s a little tricky learning how to get them to walk back and forth, but once you get it you’ll be “Kraking” bass on top in no time. Check out the video below and watch how its done to pick up some tips on how to make your spook walk happen.

Spook style baits come in a lot of shapes and sizes. My favorites include the Megabass Dog-X , the Evergreen Showerblows, and the castaic boyd duckett BDT. These baits come in great colors, and get bites.

bass fishing topwater lures spooks
Bass fishing topwater lures such as these can produce good quality bass in open clear water.

Frog Style Lures

Frog style baits flat out catch big bass. Pull out a topwater frog if you are fishing around heavy cover like grass or matted vegetation. Frogs are incredibly weedless. There are two traditional styles of frogs. The walking crawling frogs, or Popping frogs with two prong hooks are the most popular. You can fish these slow, and crawl and twitch them threw anything. The other style frog is your buzzing soft plastic frogs. Rig them up on a solid twist lock hook, and buzz them slowly on the surface around cover. Use the buzz style frogs when you want to cover water to find more bass. Get out your baitcasting rod and reel with braided line when throwing a frog. It will help you hook up on more fish, and enable you to get the bass out of the cover you are fishing around.

Once again, there are a ton of different frogs out on the market. My favorite soft plastic frog is the Keitech Noisy Flapper, and my favorite soft body frog is the Jackall Iobee frog shown here.

bass fishing topwater lures frogs
Frog style baits like these are awesome bass fishing topwater lures.
Buzz Baits

Buzz baits can really catch bass better than other topwater lures when conditions are right. The key to knowing when to throw a buzzbait is the color of the water. Dirty stained water seems to work best for a buzzbait. Buzzbaits are a reaction style topwater bait, and they cover a ton of water. Oftentimes, at night when it is really dark a buzz bait is an awesome choice. The buzz bait can draw bites when bass start using their lateral lines at night to detect prey and crush it. These two things seem to be when buzzbaits are a good choice with dirty water, or darkness. Plus, buzz baits are easy to fish. You just throw them out and start winding. Buzz baits are a fun way to get bass to bite.

There are a bunch of buzzbaits out there. Some definitely work better than others. My favorites are the River2sea Whopper Plopper , Booyah Buzz Bait, and the Pepper Customs Buzzbait. These seem to be great baits when conditions are optimal for buzzbait fishing.

bass fishing topwater lures buzzbaits
Buzzbaits like these are great bass fishing topwater lures.

How to Bass Fishing Topwater Lures Video

Here’s a bunch of different clips from several different lakes and ponds bass fishing topwater lures. You will see demonstrated a lot of the insights from this post on the video for fishing topwater lures. Hopefully, this will help you catch more bass on top. All you have to do is subscribe to the blog in the form below to view the video. Hope you enjoy it!

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Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and hopefully you found this info valuable. If you did, please share it with your friends to help them enjoy the sport of bass fishing. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the blog for more great posts delivered to your email to help keep you catching bass.

As Always,

Stay Stoked!


Gear Used

The links above and below in this post are affiliate links were you can pick up baits, rod’s, reels, line, and anything else to “Krak” bass when topwater fishing. Krakenbass receives a small percentage of the sales through these links. These links are to baits and gear I personally trust and know work. I put these links to make them helpful for you, and not for the small amount I make for the sale of the products. I hope these products can help you “krak” some bass! Thank you for your support.

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