Hot Bass Action on Top Water

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It was almost 8 p.m. and the temperature was still pushing 90 degrees. These aren’t the conditions a bass angler dreams about. The forecast said it was going to stay hot for a while, but I wasn’t going to let the heat keep me off the water.

One of my favorite outdoor activities is top water fishing for largemouth bass. I really prefer to do so with a fly rod and oversized top water flies. On my little pond, throwing large poppers across cabbage grass a half-hour or so after sunset is a sure way to wear out your forearm muscles hauling in fish. Surface explosions fire me up. When the stars align, I fall into a rhythm of casting and pop, pop, popping my fly until, wham, a “bucketmouth” inhales my offering.

Bass fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. Anglers fish for bass year round and have developed countless methods for catching limits. On lakes reservoirs, rivers, and ponds all across state, now is a prime time for targeting bass on the surface early and late in the day.

Fly fishing with surface flies like deer hair or foam poppers is a great way to take surface bass, but using conventional tackle with buzz baits, Zara spooks, hula-poppers, and jitter bugs is more common.

The surface bite is best at dawn and dusk, and it can stay great all night long. Under the cloak of darkness, bass come out of deeper water to chase prey in the shallows. They feed on baitfish, frogs, mice, snakes and more. Any bait resembling something moving across the surface can fool a bass into executing a ferocious top water predation.

Fishing for surface bass is fun for more reasons than the aggressive strikes. The chess match of targeting visible structure is exciting. Fallen trees, lily pads, patches of weeds, cattails, docks, sea walls, rip rap and dams are top producing areas. To me, it’s fun to think “there should be a bass right there,” then cast to the spot and actually catch one.

Anglers fishing from a boat usually have the advantage of positioning themselves in front of structure and casting from deep to swallow water. You can cover more water from a boat as well. Bank fishermen can get in on the action too. In the summer months, it’s fun and refreshing to wet-wade in shorts or a bathing suit and fish your way along the shore Beaches are a great place to do this.

Top-water fishing for bass is a great way to take advantage of the hot summer months. The action can be hot and heavy, but even if you get only one strike, the energy created from a bass busting your offering on the surface is intense, and worth the effort of being out there early or late. It’s my personal opinion, and I assume countless others agree, that top water fishing is the most exciting way to catch bass.

See you down the trail…


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