At this point it’s postspawn or early summer almost everywhere. That’s important because fish are totally controlled by their environment. They’re slow when the water’s cold and they’re active when it’s warm. The water’s warm right now, and that means they’re active. They need to eat.
When they’re active and feeding heavily there are lots of ways to catch them. One of the best — big fish and explosive action — is on top. And, there’s not a better pair of topwater plugs to do that with than a buzzbait or a walkin’ stick.
The reason I picked these two designs is because that between the two of them you can cover all kinds of likely topwater water.
The other thing about these lures — and topwater plugs in general — is that they aren’t just for the early morning and late evening bite. They work at those times, for sure. But they also work throughout the day. If it’s a little overcast or maybe raining, they’re a great lure, and even in the sun they’ll often work when the bite with other lures is slow.
Let’s talk about buzzbaits first. They’re super good when there are sticks, brush and scattered weeds around. The good ones will come through that sort of stuff without hanging up or snagging. In fact, they’re at their best in that kind of cover.
Some of my favorite buzzbaits are made by Molix. The Lover Buzz SS Mini Buzzbait is a great choice when you want one that’s small and light. It weighs 1/4 ounce and comes in several colors. I like the darker shades in low light and the lighter shades in brighter light. When I want something a little bigger that makes more noise I go with the SS Super Squeaky Buzzbait. It weighs in at 1/2 ounce.
The thing about both of these baits is that the wire from behind the blade to the head has a sharp upward bend in it. This allows the lure to pop over most anything in the water. They’re virtually weedless.
I like to fish them on an Abu Garcia Ike Delay Series Casting Rod. I like a medium action for my SS Mini and a medium heavy for my SS Super Squeaky. The length you choose should match your physical size. Shorter anglers generally like shorter rods, but keep in mind that you can make longer casts with longer rods.
My reels are medium speed (6.6:1) Abu Garcia REVO Ike models. I spool them with Berkley X5 or X9 Braided line. If you’re seriously worried about the fish seeing your line, tie on a heavy Berkley monofilament leader.
Some of my favorite walkin’ sticks are made by Rapala. They have three models — the Skitter V, the Skitter V13 Walking Bait and the Skitter Walk Walking Bait. Their body shape makes a kind of keel that really helps them walk and move in a lifelike manner.
Depending on which one you choose they range in size from 3 1/8 inches long on up to 5 1/4 inches long, and they come in more colors than you can ever fit into your boat.
I walk my baits with an Abu Garcia Ike Delay Series casting rod. The shorter models work better because you can snap them down without slapping the tip into the water. The 6 foot, 4 inch or the 6 foot, 8 inch lengths seem to work best for most guys. Both come in a medium action which is what you want.
I use the same reel and line with my walkin’ sticks that I use with my buzzbaits.
One last thing: The Delay Series rods are critical. One of the biggest mistakes anglers make with topwater baits is that they set the hook too fast. They pull it out of the fish’s mouth. These rods have a short delay built right into them. They’re perfect for this kind of fishing.
Go get ‘em fish heads!
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