The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Outdoors

August 3, 2013

Ken Maurer Outdoors Column: Take it from the top

(Continued)

The crippled killer and tiny torpedo have little propellers that churn the water, attracting strikes. Rapala and others also have "prop" style lures. The zara spook may catch fewer fish, but monster smallies will fall for it. It is a "walk the dog" floater, and with the right wrist cadence, it zig-zags on the surface and a steady cadence will draw ferocious strikes to the patient angler.

The old rebel pop r is one of the most copied topwaters. Just about every lure company makes a popping plug. They have cupped mouths and when the angler twitches the rod tip, the lure makes a popping or gurgling noise. The jitterbug hasn’t changed for years and the steady swimming action and gurgling noise is very effective, especially after dark when bass can zero in on the steady pace.

Wake baits are a more recent addition to the topwater scene. Wakers are simply lures that swim in the surface film or just under the surface, creating a wake on the surface. They can be deadly, especially on larger fish.

Topwater action is the most fun, and there are a few things you can do to improve your luck. First, make sure you have sharp hooks. Hooks are a thing that many anglers overlook. You can tinker by adding lighter or heavier hooks to make the lure run or sit higher or lower in the water. Try different colors, color can sometimes be critical. Add an extra split ring to the tail hook, this sometimes helps in extra hookups and less lost fish.

Most importantly, don’t set the hook until you feel the fish. This is hard to do sometimes, especially when you get excited like I do. One more thing. With a stop-and-go retrieve, which often works well, keep a close eye on the lure when it is stopped. A big smallie will sometimes come up underneath it and suck it down without even making a ripple. When it happens, set the hook and hang on!

Email comments to kenrose@tds.net.

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