Top Water Lures For Bass
By Lester Paul Roberts
Most lures designed to be worked on the surface can be divided into sub-groups, including Chuggers (has a concave mouth that spits water when chugged), Splash Baits (plain, cigar shaped lures for dog walking), Prop-Baits (usually with propellers fore and aft), Twitch Baits (slender minnow-shaped lures with a small diving lip) and BuzzBaits (has a churning blade over a skirted body).
Except for Buzzbaits, topwater lures are designed to imitate an injured baitfish. A Buzzbait is an exciter or agitator lure. Surface baits have the potential of catching bass anytime the water temperature is above the mid-50’s. Topwater lures are also effective anytime bass are in shallow water or when bass are shadowing baitfish schools near the surface over deep water. Personally, my favorite topwater lures are the Chugger, a Splashbait and a buzzbait.
Hard-bodied jerkbaits also imitate injured baitfish, only they do it a few feet under the water surface. They are similar in body style as a twitch bait, jerkbaits have a slightly large lip so it can dive 4 to 8 feet and are often weighted to suspend during pauses in the retrieve.
Jerkbaits are directed at moderately active bass that can be teased into striking. Deep jerkbaits are very effective in water temperatures as low as 45 degrees using a slow pull-pause retrieve. I carry ones with a baitfish pattern.
These hard-bodied lures with a diving-swimming lip are designed to be retrieved steadily. How deep it runs depends on the size and shape of the lip. Shallow crankbaits are a good choice when the water is around 60 degrees in the spring. Deep crankbaits work good in early summer when bass are moving to deeper offshore structure like weedlines, midlake humps and drop offs. I have a couple shallow divers ( less than 5 feet ) and a couple deep divers ( 10 to 14 feet ). I carry the basic colors in each category – a shad pattern for clear to dingy water and a bluegill/sunfish pattern with chartreuse on it.
Lipless Rattle Lures
These vibrating lures have a internal rattle that produces a lot of noise. Sinking rattle baits can be fish at almost any depth. In cold water, bump the bottom during the retrieve like a jig. I’ve also fish these lures over submerged weedbeds during the late spring and summer or cast them to surface schooling bass. I carry a chrome/blue colored lure.
Spinnerbaits feature a Y shaped wire with a skirted leadhead and revolving blades. The hook is protected by the overhead wire which makes it rather snag-resistant lure that can be fished through vegetation, wood and rock cover.
Spinnerbaits can be slow-rolled at middepths or used as a bottom bumper. Depending on how and where it is presented, a spinnerbait can produce in any water temperature. Spinnerbaits are so versatile, anglers tend to acquire large numbers of them. A couple basic spinnerbaits will take care of most fishing situations. I recommend choosing a spinnerbait with a Colorado-blade model for maximum vibration and a willow-leaf model for maximum flash.
Article by P. Roberts