Topwater lures can be extremely effective for targeting smallmouth bass — not just numbers, but big ones, too! For this application, there are four primary topwater lure styles to consider: prop baits, poppers, jump baits and wake baits.
All of these baits can be worked around cover or in open water, whether you’re on a lake, river or reservoir. That said, there are a few small details that we’ve noticed over the years about each individual style of lure.
This family of lures tends to work better in choppy or wavy water conditions, when some of the other topwater lures just don’t perform. This has huge merit, because most of the time, it’s not glass calm and sunny!
Next up is “popper”. These baits are probably the most versatile in relation to overall speed; you can work them very, very slow or extremely fast. The sound of the bait popping sounds just like feeding bass up on the surface, which is a great long distance fish attractor.
Now for jump baits. The one thing about this style of lure, you need it to be relatively calm to see it’s full effectiveness. That’s why early n the morning and late in the evening are good times to cast these lures.
Last but not least, let’s talk about wake baits. This style of lure has a TON of great attributes. For example, let’s look at the Rapala BX Wake Bait for a moment. It is counter-weighted to give a big, slow rolling action. When this bait is moving on the top, the reflection off the surface acts like a mirror that gives you almost a schooling image. Are you ready for the best attribute of all? Big fish love it, and it’s a great hooking bait. All you need to do is control you emotions a little, and you’ll hook every one of them!
Get stories and tutorials on fishing delivered to your inbox weekly