Topwater Fishing Buyer's Guide

With Christmas just around the corner, the Holiday Buyer's Guide continues. Whether you prefer Frog Fishing, Poppers, Buzzbaits, or Walking Baits, we've got you covered! We've got recommendations in every category to help you expand your topwater arsenal this year along with the tips to help you catch more topwater fish! 

December seems like an odd time to talk about topwater fishing but let's face it, we're all dreaming about topwater blow ups anyway! On that note... if you need some inspiration in the dead of Winter watch this video for some insane frog fishing action!

Below is a breakdown of the baits discussed in the video with direct links to see them on Tackle Warehouse. We have even including rod recommendations for the baits. 

Please use these links to purchase these or any other gear. This is the best way to support TacticalBassin without doing anything but your normal shopping. Thank you!


Topwater Poppers: How to fish them effectively

Every kid that grew up bass fishing knows what a Hula Popper is. We all fished them and agree that they were deadly on those old pond bass. So why now, as we grow older, do we turn our backs on poppers?

Far too often the popper falls by the wayside in favor of newer, louder, and flashier topwater offerings. Its great to be well versed with a variety of baits so you can adapt to changing conditions but don't fall into the trap and forget your first love all together.

When conditions get tough, especially those cool early summer mornings, the popper is a deadly way to catch GIANT bass that are unwilling to run down a faster moving bait. The quick tips outlined in this week's video should help you get your mind in the game to slow back down, pull out your favorite popper, and lure one of the dormant giants to the surface!

While poppers can be thrown on very light tackle, Matt prefers (to the surprise of no one) to step up his tackle when targeting big fish with these finesse baits. He prefers to use the following:

For the Yellow Magic, Rico, and other small poppers he uses a 7' light to medium light baitcaster spooled with 15-20 lb braided line.

For the larger poppers like the Bubble Walker he will step up to a 7'-7'2" Medium baitcaster but still prefers a moderate action, and spools it with 30 lb braided line.

Matt insists that braid is key with these baits as you can get maximum responsiveness from the bait with minimal rod movement.

Finesse Topwater Fishing

While driving into town this morning I grabbed my water bottle off the seat of the truck and attempted to take a swig. I was caught off guard when nothing came out and it took several seconds for reality to sink in. Something about that solid block of ice staring back at me from inside the bottle got me thinking about how much I missed the warmer weather. It bothered me so much that I soon found myself flipping through old footage of flip flops, shorts, and topwaters.
I know that many of you are in the same situation. For some of you it was cold when you launched the boat last weekend, for others you wish you knew exactly where your boat is under all that snow. Either way, we’re a long way from topwater season.
Instead of tearing up and thinking about how far away the topwater bite is I suggest you get proactive and start preparing your tackle for the coming year. I’ve talked about frogs, spooks, and wakebaits in the past but I’ve never really touched on poppers. I absolutely LOVE fishing a popper on a spinning rod on a quiet morning. Year in and year out the popper comes to my rescue when the topwater bite seems to be falling apart on a tournament day.
My favorite aspect of the popper is its versatility. When the fish are aggressive you can work the bait fast and in the case of the River2Sea Bubble Walkercan even get it to walk-the-dog much the same as a spook. When the fish are moving slow you can turn to a Yellow Magic or a Rico (I’d suggest the “20th Anniversary Absolute” color) and get those critical bites during off peak times. The key to the Rico on a cold morning is to work the bait so softly that it splashes without making the “bloop bloop” sound that poppers are known for. That subtle approach consistantly gets bigger bites for me than the more aggressive retrieves.

Another great aspect of popper fishing is that unlike most other baits, the higher-end poppers come equipped with great components and are ready to fish out of the package.
The only modification I make at all is to change the front hook out for a red one when the fish aren’t fully committing to the bait. I know it sounds silly to a lot of anglers but that really can help your hook up ratio on a slow day.
I know we’re a long ways away from a wide-open topwater bite but I thought it would be nice to take a break from all this cold weather and focus on something a little less draining. I hope your dreams of big bass, small topwaters, and explosive strikes keep you company until warmer weather arrives for good.