Now is top water time

March 15, 2014

Timing is everything and if you want to talk about top water action, now is the time. Being able to watch a big fish slam or chase your presentation on the surface can and will get your heart pumping.

I enjoy catching stripers, hybrids and sand bass on jigs, spoons, soft plastics and even live bait. Catching these fish on top however can bring a whole new meaning to the word excitement.

There may be numerous smaller fish feeding on top, but on occasion you will run into a group of larger fish (which of course is what we are really looking for). When these larger stripers/hybrids are feeding in the shallows, the splashes and water slaps can be extremely impressive.

You can catch them on top different times of the year, but the spring is probably best known season for this type of action. Warming water on the surface, and typically in the shallows will have the bait fish moving up, and of course the predators will follow.

Water temperatures have risen to where the fish will be more active and the springtime feed before the spawn is another motivating factor for their activity.

I like to use a 7-inch medium to medium-heavy action cranking rod. A balanced outfit is generally preferred for casting for long periods.

Most folks fishing in our freshwater lakes use a baitcasting type reel. Good black bass tackle will work for most applications.

If you are at a location where the fish are real big, you may want to ensure your reel has enough line capacity. For a casting reel, I personally like the Abu-Garcia 4600 for most of our Texas applications because it is a well-made reel for the price with a smaller spool (lighter).

For those of you who do not use baitcasting reels, a good spinning outfit will work as well.

A good fishing line should be used and retied often. If you are worried about breaking the line on rocks or whatever, a braided line may be desired. I generally use clear Berkley Big Game monofilament line from about 12-pound test to 20-pound test. I use more 15-pound test than any other size for our waters here in Texas.

Fluorocarbon is abrasion resistant and is a good choice as a leader in clear water.

A shallow running crank bait or spinner may do the trick. I like redfin plugs, chug bugs, zara spooks and jointed long-A’s. Large rattletraps can be effective as well. Swimbaits reeled through surface feeding fish are deadly.

It never hurts to drop a slab or swimbait down to see if you can trigger some larger fish to bite. Topwater action can also be had out in the middle of the lake versus the shallow water near the bank.

Overcast days are generally known as the best for top water action as the fish may stay up longer. Stripers generally will go deeper when the sun comes up.

When working your bait, vary the retrieve until you find what works best. If you do have a fish swirl on your bait, try slowing down or even stopping it to get that bite.


Best reports are the black bass to 6 pounds near prespawning areas. A 16-pound striper was caught on Granbury.

Squaw Creek black bass action continues to be good to excellent to 7 pounds on soft plastics (centipedes) fished near fish on the beds. Lots of 3-to-6-pound largemouths are being caught regularly on Squaw Creek. Channel catfish are also good on Squaw Creek on prepared baits and cut shad.

Hybrid action on Lewisville and Ray Hubbard is good on live shad and sassy shad presentations.

Benbrook is off and one and the level is dropping fast. Mustang is the only launch open. Possum Kingdom sand bass and small stripers continue to be good.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 256

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on Pinterest

Category: Sports Archived