Top Water fishing for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass is my passion! Its great fun and exciting to watch the bait getting annihilated right before my eyes!
Unlike other Bass fishing techniques, top water fishing is in a ‘league’ of its own. It is all sight and sound. Taking your eyes off your bait could mean a lost fish. Don’t worry; the sound of the water exploding when the Bass engulfs the bait will wake you, pronto!
In my opinion, top water Bass fishing requires two basic rod techniques and two fishing styles- the twelve o’clock and the six o’clock.
The ‘twelve o’clock’ technique is with the rod in front of you, tip to the sky. The ‘twelve’ o’clock is great for thick, tough Bass terrain which requires weedless top water baits such as frogs or rats. A medium heavy or heavy 6’6″ or 7′ rod will suffice. I like the 6’10” Quantum Tour P.T heavy action, but it is the length here that shines for good castability. Cast it out and work it back slowly over the thick of it. Pumping or twitching with this rod technique will help keep the bait free of debris. Walking a weedless cigar shaped bait, such as Snag Proof’s Water Demon, will work just as well using the twelve o’clock method. Just remember to twitch front to back while reeling in slack line. Work the Buzz bait with the same rod positioning. The only exception is a medium action 6’6″ to 7′ rod. You really want elasticity to get the Buzz bait out there and a good back bone to get the fish to the boat.
In the ‘six o’clock’ rod technique, the rod is in front of you with the tip just above the water surface. This is a great method for open water and somewhat weedless circumstances. ‘Chugging’ the cup faced baits and ‘walking the dog’ with cigar baits are a snap with this technique. Hold the rod like a golf club, directly in front of you, with the rod tip down above the water surface. The positioning is comfortable and can save the back from aching afterwards. It requires a smaller rod. How much smaller depends on the height of the angler plus the height of the casting platform from the water surface. For example, I am 5’6″ tall and for me a 5′ rod is perfect for the ‘chugging’ or ‘walking the dog’ of surface baits. A medium action 4’9″ Shimano Crucial is a good choice for a rod if your height is in my range.
Working the rod at six o’clock requires just a slight twitch of the wrists for ‘walking the dog’. This technique also puts the angler in a good position for power stroking the rod and really pushing water to wake up the Bass. When a fish takes the bait simply pull up to set the hook and bring it home!
Everyone has their own methods and techniques for fishing top water. These simple rod tactics work for me, but whatever feels right for you is what is important here. Through trial and error I have found that the ‘twelve’ and ‘six’ o’clock rod positioning gives me the best results. As far as reels go, well, that depends entirely on the individual angler. For my outings, a 6:2:1 gear ratio baitcast is my choice. You be the judge!