The Ultimate Guide to Topwater Lures for Bass Fishing

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Topwater lures are an ideal choice for bass fishing. They come in various shapes to create different types of movement on the water and catch the attention of the bass underneath. This guide will tell you everything that you need to know about topwater lures for bass fishing and how you can use them most effectively.

What Are Topwater Lures for Bass Fishing?

Topwater lures, as their name suggests, sit on the surface of the water. They can have all kinds of looks, from walkers and wakebaits to poppers and minnows. Each topwater lure is designed to create a different type of movement on the water, which will attract bass and tempt them to bite.

So why use topwater lures for bass fishing? It seems that bass tend to be particularly taken with topwater lures, being driven by their feeding and agitation impulses. Topwater lures are supposed to look like bait that’s injured or trying to get away, which appeals to the fish. The angler twitches their rod to make the lure look like it’s helplessly moving about or a standard retrieve might have the same effect in some designs.

Some of the most common kinds of topwater lures include:

  • Walkers – zig-zag or go back and forth with a walk-the-dog retrieve
  • Poppers – narrow tails and concave mouths that spit out water
  • Wakebaits – moves back and forth on or just under the surface of the water
  • Flukes – floating jerkbaits that can be twitched back and forth
  • Prop baits – lures with propellers on one or both ends that spray water with movement
  • Buzzbaits – include a lead head with a skirt and an arm extending over it with a propeller that spins and spits water with a steady retrieve
  • Frogs – designed to imitate frogs on the surface of the water and include both solid and hollow-bodied varieties

Best Topwater Lure Setup

When you’re using topwater lures for bass fishing, it’s important to have the right setup. You need to ensure you have the best rod, reel, line, and the best types of lure to achieve your goals. Before getting into what types of law to use and when, it’s best to start with the basics and get your rod, reel, and line setup sorted out first. While it’s ideal to have a number of reel and rod setups to use for topwater fishing, a 7-foot medium-heavy rod and a reel in the 7:1 gear ratio can give you the best all-rounder setup that’s suitable for many things. However, when you’re fishing bass, you might be looking for something with a bit more power. A 7-foot, 3-inch heavy rod with an 8:1 reel gives you more strength without compromising on your casting accuracy. While shorter rods allow you to work the tip without fatigue, longer rods can be beneficial too, making it easier to take up the line quickly.

When it comes to line, both monofilament and braid float and so make it possible to do walk-the-dog actions and more. Some anglers choose to only use braid line when they’re topwater fishing. Monofilament is stiffer and less likely to tangle compared to braid, so it can be a good idea to use it as a leader. You can use monofilament on its own too but it might not be as effective. 20 to 30-pound test braid and 15 to 20-pound test monofilament are ideal for topwater fishing lures. Of course, these suggestions can change slightly depending on what type of lure you’re using. However, if you are using topwater lures for bass fishing, these setup ideas are a good place for you to start.

How to Fish a Topwater Lure

Fishing a topwater lure successfully depends on the lure that you choose to use. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of topwater lures for bass fishing and how you can use them for bass fishing success.

Popper lures

popper lures

Popper lures have a cupped mouth, inside which the line attaches. They move slowly for a more gentle action. To fish with a popper lure, you cast it out to let it float, then jerk your rod to pull the lure through the water. The water will bubble over it as you pull and it will make a popping sound, hence the name. You can choose them with different sized mouths for slower or faster action. Experiment with different movements and pauses to see what attracts attention.

Walk-the-dog lures


Walkers are long and skinny, and so-called because you have to walk them across the surface to catch the attention of your fish. Use your wrist to jerk the tip of the rod repeatedly so that the lure zig-zags from side to side. This makes the lure look like injured bait to bass and they’ll be tempted to go after it. You should have a lot of control over the movement, which makes it an excellent topwater lure.

Frog lures

topwater frog lure

Frog lures are a great choice for bass fishing and are easy to fish with. Frog lures are good to use around lily pads and other floating vegetation, allowing you to catch the bass that like to spend time underneath. When you’re using a frog lure, cast it out and slowly twitch it along the vegetation. Try pausing at open spots in the vegetation or twitch it in place. Make sure your bait is submerged fully when you get a blowup, before reeling down and setting the hook hard.

When to Fish a Topwater Lure

Knowing when to fish a topwater lure is just as important as knowing how to fish a topwater lure. Firstly, topwater lures should be used when bass are schooling and chasing baitfish. When this happens, bass may even try to take the bait from each other, and you could catch two fish at once. When mayflies are starting to hatch in the spring and summer, from about mid-afternoon each day, bluegills will come to feed on them and bass will want to feed on the bluegills. This makes it the perfect time to use a topwater lure for bass fishing.

Cloudy days are the ideal time to get out topwater lures for bass fishing too. When it’s cloudy, bass will be in shallow waters and feed in the same way they do when it’s early or late in the date. Early mornings, late afternoon, and even into the night are good times to get out your topwater lures for bass fishing too. When there’s low light, bass will be around shallow cover, so try moving your lure around stumps, logs, rocks, and brush to find them.

The summer is the best time to get out your topwater lures for bass fishing. That’s when you’re most likely to have luck getting the bass to bite. However, it’s possible that you can also have some success during the spring and fall. The important thing to remember is that colder water doesn’t really create the ideal conditions for fishing for bass. This is because bass are less aggressive when it’s colder, so they’re less likely to react to topwater lures. Spring and summer are therefore better times for bass fishing with topwater lures.

Best Topwater Lures

topwater frog lures topwater lures

The best topwater lures for bass fishing include several different types of lures. Some of the best topwater lures are popper lures, walk-the-dog lures, frog lures, buzzbaits, and prop baits. There are other topwater lure types that you can find useful too, but these are the ones that are often highlighted as being the very best options.

Each type of topwater lure moves in a different way to mimic the movements of bait and present different attractions for bass. Popper lures offer you a slow-moving lure, walk-the-dog lures mimic an injured baitfish, and frog lures are excellent for casting in areas where other lures are not a suitable choice. Buzzbaits are very fast-moving, which makes them a good topwater lure if you want to cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. Their propeller allows them to move faster while creating a lot of commotion over the water, splashing and appealing to any nearby bass. They’re a good choice for fishing around cover such as weeds and wood.

Prop baits also feature propellers, either on one end or one at each end of the lure. They are usually torpedo-shaped and they create a lot of movement as they move over the water and the propellers spin. You should use them around the edges of cover to avoid getting them stuck in weeds or anything else. They are a good option for a calm day when the water is still and you want there to be lots of movement to bring in the bass.

Topwater lures for bass fishing are easy to use once you know which one works and when to use them. Start by making sure that you have the right setup for using topwater lures and then choose a selection of the best types. Some of the most popular topwater lures include the Rebel Pop-R, Whopper Plopper, and Livetarget Hollow Body Frog.

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