How To Use A Topwater Lure

What’s the greatest thrill in fishing?  Watching the calm water suddenly explode as your topwater lure vanishes inside a bass or a pike!  Topwater lures are a fun way to catch ‘Superior’ jawed fish, and really help specifically in attracting bass.

In this article, we will tell you the important things you need to know about fishing with the a topwater lure.  By the end, you will undoubtedly be ready to set out on your next fishing trip and  use your topwater lure to its full potential!

What Is A Topwater Lure?

The topwater lure is a kind of fishing lure which is moved over the surface of the water in order to catch fish. It works by creating ‘noise’ on the surface of the water which catches fish’s attention.  These lures usually float on the surface of the water, However, non-floating versions of topwater lures are also available.

How does a Topwater Lure help catch Bass?

There are three types of fish based on their jaw types.  An ‘Inferior’ bone structure means the fish has a larger top jaw and smaller bottom jaw, so they tend to eat food that is below them.  A ‘Terminal’ means a fish that has roughly equal top and bottom jaw dimensions, so they tend to hunt food that is in front of them.  Finally, a ‘Superior’ jaw type means the bottom jaw is larger than the top jaw and they eat food that is above them, sometimes floating on the top of the water.  Superior jaw type fish like Bass are what you are going to be catching using your topwater lure.

The topwater lure is designed in such a way that they resemble small creatures (small fish, insects, or frogs) that fish would consider as food. The key feature of the topwater lure is the “action” it provides as it glides along the surface of the water. The action mimcs that of a live creature. With different lure variations such splashing, popping, vibrating or bubbling, each type is designed to attract a fishes attention and coax them into striking.

Whether it is the black bass, tarpon, spotted seatrout, or barracuda you are after, topwater lures can help you catch them all!

What are the best conditions to use a Topwater Lure?

Different topwater lures are used under different conditions, and the type of fish you are hoping to catch or the time at which you are fishing also player  arole in lure selection!  If you know the key differences between the lures, it will help you in optimizing your selection according to the conditions you will be fishing in.

Topwater lures are effective in several conditions, but they are usually the most effective in the early hours of the day or in the evening, a couple of hours before sunset. Why? Because this is the time when a lot of surface prey is available for the fish (bugs), and the lures tend to be more effective in catching bass.

Early morning is a good time to fish with a topwater lure.  Similarly, bass move to feed as the suns get down in the sky. Therefore, late afternoon or dusk is also a good time to fish.  Topwater lures can be used throughout the night in summer when water is warm, but fishing outside of the times mentioned earlier might not get you the best results.  Topwater lures specifically designed for night fishing do exist however, so if you are going to fish at night, they are your best bet. 

In terms of the best locations around the lake to use them, they work wonders when used around any surface vegetation. This is because surface prey is typically in close proximity to vegetation, and thus, you will find more fish there.

Different types of Topwater Lures

There are different types of topwater lures available in the market. However, they all have one thing in common: they are imitations of the natural food which bass fish might eat.


Let’s give them a brief look.

1. Poppers / Chuggers

Poppers or chuggers imitate injured baitfish and make small disturbances on the surface of the water. They come with a concave-shaped mouth which makes a popping sound as the lure comes out of the water.

The attachment point of the line is inside this concave mouth, which gives them their distinctive movement.  The harder you pull your line, the louder these lures pop.  With the large amount of action and potential for big noises, larger fish are generally the target with Poppers, and try to land your lure as close to them as you can before you start moving the Popper around!

2. Walkers

Walkers are topwater lures that you have to flick with your wrist along the surface of the water. When you flick the lure, it darts from one side to the other. This results in a wave that attracts the bass fish. This technique is also known as ‘walking the dog’ and creates a ton of action on the surface, so it can draw interest from fish for large distances.

Walkers are best employed in open water as they require a larger surface area to ‘walk the dog’ properly.  After you cast your lure, twitch your rod one way, reel it in a bit, and twitch it the other way, and repeat.  If there are fish in the area you are sure to grab their attention with this technique!

3. Prop Baits

Prop baits have a propeller on their back and sometimes on the front as well. As you retrieve the lure, the propeller spins. This causes a disturbance in the water, and bass or other fish will quickly try to eat what they believe is an easy meal.  

Single prop lures are a bit easier to use, and generally make much less noise than a double prop setup.  In calmer waters we would suggest sticking with a single prop.  If you insist on going out on a day with a bit choppier waters, sometimes a double prop can help as they make more noise and can attract the fish better given the conditions

4. Buzz baits

Buzz baits are quite similar to Prop baits, with the spinner typically sitting at the front of the lure as opposed to the back.   They work will in and around cover, and work best if you reel it in slowly in erratic patterns, to mimic whatever food the fish are looking for.

How do you fish with a Topwater Lure?

The trick to make any lure effective is the way you work with it. Topwater lures need quiet and calm water conditions to work perfectly. As you cast the lure, it will obviously splash at first when it contacts the water.  When the lure hits the water, you will see rings appearing on the water, Wait for the rings to disappear.  When the lure quiets down, snap it once more. Again wait till it quiets down. Keep repeating the procedure until you snag a big ol’ fish. More often than not, the fish tend to strike when the lure has gone silent.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning to fish with topwater lure:

  • When it comes to the quality of hooks, don’t compromise!  Sharpened hooks are the best way to go.
  • You need to experiment with your retrieving technique. Don’t stick with one style only. Different fish will respond to different retrieval techniques – so experiment until you discover what the fish wants and then go for it!
  • When you retrieve the topwater lure, you need to keep the tip of the fishing rod low. The lower the tip is, the better the results will be. If the rod is high, the nose of the lure will be out of the water, which isn’t very natural looking and negatively effects the presentation of your lure to the fish.
  • You have to maintain a steady retrieve. At times, fish will strike the lure quickly create a splash around it. You need to keep your cool when this happens and maintain a steady retrieve until the fish is actually hooked on the lure.


In this article, we have explained to you what topwater lures are, what kinds of topwater lures are available, and how they are good for catching bass fish.

If you are going to fish bass, the best way would be to use a topwater lure. Since bass fish are usually attracted to small bugs, frogs, and fishes near the surface of the lakes, topwater lures help you catching quality bass easily. Not only do you catch quality fish, but you also get to see the live-action of fish swallowing the bait.


Here’s to a great fishing adventure!