Don’t need to tell ya that topwater can be the funnest way to catch ’em, so leadin’ off with it.
Possibly the hottest topwater bait not made by River2Sea or named Tickle….
> Colors: Bone, night train, shad frog
> Technique: Reeling it through grass or other cover — don’t be shy about where to drop it!
> Rod/Reel/Line: 7′ H casting rod, 7:1 or higher-speed reel, 50-lb or higher braid.
> Stuff: First, this bait is DIFFERENT than the Tickle Sprinkler. Yep, same concept, but if you side-by-side ’em, you’ll know what I mean. For starters, you can shape the tail on the ToadRunner to get on the fish’s noise preference for the day. Little educational vid for ya.
If Brandon Palaniuk, Ott DeFoe and Jacob Wheeler had a love child, this would be it. Oops, I mean if they had a love child that was a TOPWATER BAIT hahaha!
> Tail-weighted for a silent tail-first entry into the water that doesn’t spook bass.
> Its weight distribution and a high line tie in the mouth allow it to walk side to side virtually in place, keeping it near the target.
> Sticky VMC trebles and a nice tail feather.
> Colors: Ghost pearl shad is dy-no-mite on shad lakes. Otherwise use your fave.
> Rod/Line: A shorter-than-average casting rod, less than 7′, can be better for casting accurately and keeping the rod tip above the water to work the bait. Use mono because of the stretch, and a loop knot to maximize the action.
Gitcha edumacated and watch it in action in this short vid.
…or KVD Sexy Frog. Shaw Grigsby talkin’:
> “Cast your lure out, past the bed and then bring it back until it’s right over the top of it. Stop your lure and let it sit dead still until you can’t stand it any longer. If a bass doesn’t crush it, move it just a little bit, but not much. Then let it sit some more and wait for the explosion. Bass can’t handle something sitting right over the top of their bed, their eggs or their fry.
> “As the bass progress towards their postspawn phase, you need to move your lure out further and work it a little faster. They’re feeding after a tough ordeal. They’re aggressive. They’ll crush anything that looks like an easy meal.
> “When I want a popper, or something a little smaller, I grab a KVD Popping Perch or a KVD Sexy Frog. They’re both hollow-body plastic baits that’ll go through the toughest, nastiest slop you’ve ever seen.”
FLWer Brandon Cobb talkin’:
> “This popper imitates bluegill perfectly, so it’s great for targeting fry-guarders immediately after the spawn. It’s also great around bluegill beds when the big females are feeding on bream.
> “You can fish it 2 different ways: It can be twitched quickly and shortly to walk erratically, or it can be methodically popped like a traditional chug-style bait.This presentation is perfect for targeting shade lines.”
Do I really need to tell you about this frog? No. No I don’t. The 65-size Bronzeye is the gold standard for frogs, as I told Dean Rojas before he’d ever heard of SPRO! Okay that’s totally not true….
Anyhow, got 2 words for you: rainforest black (pictured). Or pick a color, any color. Then love ’em. Dean talks to his frogs, he drives with his frogs, he keeps his frog box pampered in his truck and makes a special trip to bring it out to his boat. I mean, BOND with your frogs like:
Naw man, not a James Bond 00F Frog! Like this:
Yeah that’s how Dean rolls….
Lunkerhunt made its name with the Lunker Frog and has continued to spool out fun topwaters like they don’t take this bassin’ thang as serious as your average bass-clubber lol. But seriously, the latest offerin’s from the Lunkerhunters are likewise topwater fun.
The Prop Frog, Propfish Shad and Propfish Sunfish basically are all soft prop frog-like baits that can be buzzed over stuff, and are most effective when you’re going for numbers — which we all do til our bud catches a big one by accident and then we’re all about beatin’ him!
Lol anyhow, all 3 of these baits are 3.25″ and 1/2-oz. So they’re in that sweet spot of anything can eat it AND — here’s the important part — get hooked by it. Because limit bass’ll hit that giant frog, but unless you’re Rojas you probly won’t get a hook in it.
Bottom line is the StutterStep is different than frogs, walkers or poppers. It can walk, but also can stay in place like a good popper but with different action — plus a couple more actions — and looks different.
If your bass are fat and lazy, or if you feel like you’re better off keeping your bait over a bass’ head longer — whether they’re on beds or around docks or whatever — learn to fish this bait:
> No other topwater has the ability to hold its place so well in a targeted area. Due to the curve of the belly and the tail shape that creates drag like a braking system, an angler can make the StutterStep pop-kick and rotate multiple times in one zone.
Check the vid here.
One of my favorite topwater walking baits of all time, in this size:
> Colors: Bone (pictured) or clear
> Rod/Reel/Line: 6′ 6″ to 7′ M rod with a soft tip, 7:1 or higher-speed reel, 30-lb braided line with a short mono leader.
> When bass finish spawning throw a Spook because bass are suspended and typically looking up to feed on shad. Bone works best in dirty water or low light, and clear is hard to beat in clear water.
> When bass are chasing aggressively on the surface, work the bait as fast as possible to where it almost skips across the surface and you’ll be amazed at how hard they smash it.
Zona says (vid): Seaguar Smackdown braid to a Seaguar AbrazX fluoro leader for walkers, Seaguar Rippin Mono for poppers. FLWer Cody Meyer likes the Rippin Mono for walkers.
For frowgs, Z actually prefers the Denny Brauer-designed Seaguar Flippin Braid, 50-lb, because “it casts far.”