When To Fish Topwater For Bass?

Fishing topwater for bass refers to a fishing technique where anglers use lures and bait that float or skim on the water’s surface to target bass fish. This approach creates exciting visual strikes as bass breach the water to capture their prey. Popular topwater lures include poppers, frogs, and buzz baits, offering an exhilarating and effective way to catch bass in shallow waters.

When To Fish Topwater For Bass? Timing is crucial in the pursuit of these elusive freshwater predators. As the sun dips below the horizon and the water’s surface grows dim, topwater lures come alive. 

During low-light hours, such as dawn and dusk, bass are more likely to strike at the tantalizing surface action. Understanding the right moments to employ topwater tactics can make all the difference in your bass fishing success.

What Is Topwater Fishing for Bass?

Topwater fishing is a technique in which anglers use lures that float or move on the water’s surface to entice bass into striking. The goal is to mimic the appearance and behavior of prey that is near or on the water’s surface. Topwater lures can create a commotion, imitating insects, frogs, or other small creatures, which attract bass from below.

The Best Seasons for Topwater Bass Fishing

When it comes to topwater bass fishing, the season plays a crucial role in determining your success. Different seasons present different challenges and opportunities for anglers. Here’s a breakdown of the best seasons for topwater bass fishing.


Spring is often considered the prime time for topwater bass fishing. As the water temperature rises, bass become more active and move into shallower waters to spawn. During this period, bass are protective of their nests and can be highly aggressive towards any perceived threats. Topwater lures that resemble frogs, small fish, or insects can be extremely effective in enticing strikes from these territorial bass.


Summer can also be a productive season for topwater bass fishing but with some differences compared to spring. In warmer months, bass may retreat to deeper water during the day to escape the heat. Early mornings and late evenings are prime times for topwater action in the summer. Bass often move closer to the surface during these cooler periods, making it an excellent time to target them with topwater lures.


As the temperatures begin to cool in the fall, bass become more active and start feeding aggressively. This season is a transition period, and bass often moves from deeper water to shallower areas in preparation for winter. Topwater lures that mimic baitfish or fleeing prey can trigger some explosive strikes during this time.


Topwater fishing in the winter can be challenging, as bass tend to become less active and move into deeper, more stable areas to conserve energy. However, on unusually warm winter days, you may still find some success with topwater lures. Look for areas with direct sunlight or areas where the water is slightly warmer.

Ideal Conditions for Topwater Bass Fishing

To increase your chances of success when fishing for bass using topwater lures, it’s important to consider the prevailing conditions. The following conditions are ideal for topwater fishing:

Calm Water

Topwater lures work best in calm water. The surface disturbance created by these lures is more noticeable to bass in tranquil conditions. Windy days can make it challenging to work topwater lures effectively, so it’s best to save this technique for calmer moments.

Clear Water

Clear water allows the bass to see and track your topwater lures more easily. In these conditions, the visual aspect of the lure is a crucial factor in attracting bass. If you’re fishing in murky water, the bass may rely more on their lateral line and sense of vibration, making other techniques more effective.

Vegetation and Structure

Bass often lurk near vegetation, such as lily pads, grass, and submerged logs. These areas provide cover and ambush points for bass to strike prey. When using topwater lures, aim for areas with ample vegetation or submerged structures, as this is where you’re more likely to find active bass.

Overcast Skies

Overcast or cloudy skies can be advantageous for topwater fishing. The reduced light penetration encourages bass to venture closer to the surface in search of food. The dimmer light also makes it easier for bass to spot your topwater lures.

Quiet Approach

Approach your fishing spot quietly and avoid making loud noises that could startle the bass. Bass have a keen sense of hearing, and sudden disturbances can send them into hiding. Keep a low profile and use stealth when fishing with topwater lures.

Best Time of Day for Topwater Bass Fishing

The best time of day can significantly impact the success of your topwater bass fishing endeavors. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to use this technique:

Early Morning

Dawn is one of the most productive times for topwater bass fishing. Bass are often active during the low-light hours of the morning. The cooler water temperatures and reduced light make it an ideal time for topwater lures, as bass are more likely to be near the surface.

Late Evening

Similar to the early morning, late evening is another prime time for topwater action. As the sun begins to set, bass becomes more active and are drawn to the surface to feed. This period offers the same advantages as dawn, with increased opportunities for topwater strikes.

Night Fishing

Night fishing with topwater lures can be a thrilling experience. Bass become more comfortable moving near the surface under the cover of darkness. Using topwater lures equipped with rattles or other noise-making features can help attract bass in low-light conditions.

Overcast Days

Overcast days create favorable conditions for topwater fishing throughout the day. The diffused light and increased bass activity can lead to consistent action with topwater lures.

Topwater Lures for Bass Fishing

Selecting the right topwater lure is essential for success. Various types of topwater lures are designed to imitate different types of prey. Here are some common topwater lures for bass fishing.

Poppers Poppers have a concave mouth that creates a distinctive popping sound when you jerk or twitch the lure. This noise, combined with the lure’s movement, can be irresistible to bass.

Walk-the-Dog Lures These lures, like the famous Zara Spook, move side to side when you twitch your rod tip. They mimic wounded or struggling baitfish, making them an excellent choice for bass.

Frogs Frog lures are designed to mimic the appearance and movement of real frogs. They are perfect for fishing in weed beds and lily pads, where bass often hide.

Buzzbaits Buzzbaits are surface lures with a rotating blade that creates a buzzing noise. They work well in low-light conditions and can draw explosive strikes.

Prop Baits Prop baits have small propellers on them, which spin when retrieved. This spinning action can attract bass in calm water or when bass.

Topwater Techniques for Success

Using the right technique when fishing with topwater lures is crucial. Each type of topwater lure requires a specific approach to maximize its effectiveness. Here are some key techniques to consider

Popping Technique

Lure Type Poppers

Method Cast the lure and let it settle for a moment. Then, use your rod to make sharp and rhythmic jerks, causing the lure to pop and create splashes on the surface. Pause between pops to imitate injured prey.

Cast & Retrieve PatternResult
Steady retrieve with regular popsAttracts bass with the noise and movement
Longer pauses between popsSimulates struggling prey, enticing more strikes
Vary the speed and cadenceMimics different types of distressed prey

Walk-the-Dog Technique

Lure Type Walk-the-Dog Lures

Method Cast the lure and retrieve it while making short, sharp twitches with your rod tip. The lure should zigzag side to side, imitating wounded or fleeing baitfish.

Rod Tip MovementResult
Rapid side-to-side twitchesCreates a zigzagging motion that bass find irresistible
Vary the length and speed of twitchesMimics the erratic behavior of prey in distress

Frogging Technique

Lure Type Frog Lures

Method Cast the frog lure into weed beds, lily pads, or other areas with vegetation. Retrieve it with a steady and realistic “froggy” action by twitching your rod tip. Make sure to pause and let the frog sit on the surface intermittently.

Retrieve StyleResult
Steady twitch and pauseImitates a frog’s natural movement and triggers bass in cover
Use a slow, methodical approachAllows bass more time to locate and strike the frog

Locating Bass in Topwater

Understanding where bass are likely to be when you’re using topwater lures is essential. While the specific location can vary based on the season and conditions, here are some general guidelines:

Near Cover

Bass often hide near cover, such as fallen trees, rock piles, or aquatic vegetation. When using topwater lures, cast near or over these structures to entice strikes.

Shallow Areas

In the warmer months, bass move to shallower waters in the early morning and late evening. Focus your top water efforts in these areas during these times.

Points and Drop-offs

Bass use points and drop-offs as ambush points to attack prey. Cast your topwater lures along the edges of these underwater features.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While topwater bass fishing can be incredibly rewarding, it’s not without its challenges. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Setting the Hook Too Early

One of the most common mistakes is setting the hook as soon as you see a bass strike. Wait until you feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook to ensure a solid connection.

Overworking the Lure

Many anglers make the mistake of working their topwater lures too aggressively. Sometimes, subtle movements and pauses are more effective in triggering strikes.

Using the Wrong Lure

Using the wrong type of topwater lure for the prevailing conditions can lead to frustration. Make sure to match your lure to the environment and the behavior of the bass.

Ignoring Safety Precautions

Always wear appropriate safety gear when fishing, especially when using topwater lures. This includes a life jacket, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Be aware of your surroundings to prevent accidents.

Safety Precautions

Ensuring safety during your fishing adventures is paramount. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:

Wear a Life Jacket

Always wear a properly fitted life jacket, especially if you’re fishing from a boat or kayak.

Sun Protection

Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and polarized sunglasses to reduce glare.

Know Your Location

Be aware of your surroundings and the weather conditions. Sudden storms can be dangerous, so check the weather forecast before your fishing trip.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can be a serious concern, especially in hot weather. Bring enough water and stay hydrated throughout your fishing day.


What is topwater fishing for bass?

It uses lures that float on the water’s surface to make bass bite.

When is the best time for topwater bass fishing?

 Early morning, late evening, overcast days, and spring and fall are prime times.

What are common topwater lures for bass?

 Poppers, walk-the-dog, frog lures, buzz baits, and prop baits are popular choices.

What safety measures should I take when topwater fishing?

Wear a life jacket, protect yourself from the sun, stay hydrated, and know your surroundings.

What fishing mistakes to avoid with topwater lures?

Don’t set the hook too early, overwork the lure, use the wrong lure, or neglect safety precautions.


Topwater bass fishing is a thrilling and visually captivating method to catch this elusive species. Understanding when to fish topwater for bass is? the key to success. Remember to consider the season, conditions, and time of day, and choose the right lure and technique. 

By adhering to safety precautions and avoiding common mistakes, you can increase your chances of landing the bass of your dreams. So, grab your topwater lures, head to your favorite bass fishing spot, and get ready for the heart-pounding excitement that comes with topwater fishing.

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