If you are like most bass fisherman, we all have a soft spot for topwater fishing. There is something magical about seeing a big bass explode on your favorite lure.
A lot of topwater baits are fairly large. There is no argument that these lures can produce some of the biggest fish of the year. These baits are a staple in any angler’s box. With that being said, I’ve seen times where smaller bass will not strike at these large baits, but are more than willing to strike a smaller version of the same bait.
Often times in tournament situations you are looking for 5 keeper bites. Going with finesse topwater baits will help put some of those barely keeper-sized bass in the boat, whereas larger profile baits may have gone by them without a strike. Some anglers don’t realize that big bass love these smaller presentations as well.
I would really suggest you try some of these smaller lures and see how they work for you. It just may surprise you how many more topwater strikes you get. I think we all can agree that getting a ton of top water bites equals a great day on the water.
Saxony Lake & Beach in Fishers, Indiana is a very popular summer hang-out for people who want to spend some time outdoors. They have a large recreational area where you can play on the beach, walk around the lake on the paved trail, rent a kayak, or do some fishing. I prefer the latter.
The lake is about 20 acres and is stocked with the usual species you expect most lakes to have such as bass, bluegill, and catfish. I have fished this lake a handful of times this year and have been very surprised with how many bass are in Saxony.
The lake gets a ton of fishing activity. There are always numerous anglers walking the bank or fishing from a kayak. Saxony offers a large pier for fishing. However, I would suggest not spending too much time fishing around the pier. That is usually one of the most fished locations, so you might not have as much luck. Try it, but if you aren’t getting any bites, move to another area. There is a small portion by the clubhouse you cannot fish, but everything else is accessible by foot.
I have had good success on 7.5 inch Culprit worms and Senko style baits. I have caught multiple bass out of Saxony weighing up to five pounds, but most fish average around a pound. One thing I have noticed is the fish seem to spook very easily, so give the area some time to rest before fishing that spot after a previous fisherman has left.
The water clarity is very clear at Saxony. I would suggest using lighter weight line. Lighter line is harder for a fish to see and allows most baits to perform better, and look more natural.
If you are in the Indianapolis area and are looking for some bank fishing, Saxony may be a good option for you. I hope these tips and lures work for you there too.
Fishing structure in shallow water is one of my favorite ways to fish for bass. There are many lure options to choose from when fishing shallow. I personally like to fish fast and cover a lot of water, and the buzzbait is a perfect choice for this style of fishing.
When fishing a buzzbait you want to make sure to keep the bait in the strike zone as long as possible. Fish these lures parallel to the bank, grass lines, or any other visual structure. Often you will see a wake coming at your bait before the fish strikes.
I like to add a trailer hook to my buzzbaits to ensure when a fish strikes, they’re going to get hooked. Many times bass strike buzzbaits so aggressively that they miss the bait and miss getting hooked. Adding a trailer hook greatly increases your chances of catching a fish.
Do not spend much time in one spot when fishing a buzzbait. Keep moving and covering new water. If an active bass is around, it almost always strikes on the first cast. Buzzbaits are perfect when the water temperature is hot and the fish are shallow. A buzzbait is an excellent way to put fish in the boat.
Winter or early spring is the most challenging time to fish. When the water temperature is in the 30s to low 40s, there are only a few lures in your box that will work.
One of my favorite baits is the suspending jerkbait. These lures can be fished extremely slow and suspended right in front of the fish enticing a bite. Suspending jerkbaits come in all sizes and colors. They can be effectively fished in many different depths of the water column.
The key to selecting a size and color boils down to two things.
One, what depth range do you anticipate the fish to be holding in? The size of the bill dictates the lure’s depth. The bigger the bill the deeper it will dive. Even in very cold water, bass will come up to the lure. I would rather have a jerkbait above the fish than have one that dives under the fish. For example, if the fish are sitting in 10 feet of water, I would select a jerkbait that dives 6 to 8 feet. You can really play with your line size to help you get the depth you want out of your lure. The lighter the line the deeper the bait will go, and the heavier the line the shallower it will run.
Two, what forage are the fish feeding on? I like a shad color in clear water for the majority of my fishing, but if the water has some stain to it I will go with a chartreuse color. If you are fishing in a natural lake with perch, then a perch color lure may be the ticket.
This time of year bites may be few and far between, so tie a lure on you have confidence in and stick with it. I think you may be surprised how many fish a suspending jerkbait can put in the boat for you when nothing else will seem to work. Go buy some of these lures and give them a shot.
Tube jigs are a great smallmouth and largemouth lure. They can be rigged several different ways, and fished anywhere from open water to thick vegetation. One big problem with the tube jig is they can be prone to losing fish when Texas rigged. The hook can have a hard time penetrating through the thick plastic.
Here is how I tweak my hook to ensure I catch every fish that bites.
I rig the tube like I would with any other Texas rigged lure. See how here. Make sure to leave the eye of the hook exposed. Do not pull the tube all the way over the eye. Doing this will lead to the tube balling up and not allowing the hook to come through the plastic.
Once you have the tube rigged and are ready to skin hook on the other side, slightly bend the hook outward. Do not over bend it! This will lead to weakening the hook. You just want to slightly open the hook more than it was originally. This is the key; the hook will now easily hook in the fish’s mouth without the worry of it going back through all the plastic.
This little modification will really help you hook up when fishing the tube Texas rigged. Try it and you won’t be disappointed.
There is a common thought in bass fishing, if you want to catch bigger fish, use bigger baits. I agree with this, but you typically don’t get as many bites using larger lures. I personally like catching all sizes of bass and hate to throw a bait that I know will only get a few bites.
One large lure that will catch big and small bass alike is a 10″ worm. This bait looks more like a snake in the water than a worm. Don’t let that bother you, it will catch all sizes of bass. I like to use the Berkley 10″ Power Worm. Black is my favorite color. That’s the only color you need. This bait works in clear and murky water.
Huge worms like this seems to work the best in very warm water. Bass get a little lethargic in hot water and like a slow moving meal. They normally will not pass up an opportunity at eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in one bite.
One misconception I have heard is you can only use big baits in big lakes and that you must use small baits in small bodies of water. I recently proved that theory wrong. I fished my pond using this lure and caught multiple small and large bass. Think about it, have you ever seen big snakes or bull frogs around small ponds? I know I have. Bass in all sizes of lakes and ponds are used to eating big things. Try this lure and see how it works for you.
My dad and I recently floated the White River near Brookville, Indiana in a canoe. This is the fastest flowing stretch of river in Indiana. There were definitely some areas of very swift current. The river is very scenic and offers some great water to fish. We even saw a bald eagle on this trip.
Picking the right lure is critical for success when you are floating at such a quick pace. Fishing with fast moving lures is by far the easiest and most productive way to cover water in these situations. Sure, you can anchor, fish the pockets and deep areas slowly, but these lures will work for the entire float trip in all current speeds.
I like to choose fast moving topwater lures such as a buzzbait or a fast working “walk the dog” style lure. This river is very clear and the smallmouth bass love to hit these speedy topwater lures. Choosing smaller baits is a great choice. There are a lot of small bass in rivers like this and bigger baits will not get as many bites. Don’t worry, big bass will hit these smaller lures too.
A shallow diving crankbait in a crawdad pattern is also a great option. These lures dive fast and deflect off most rock and wood cover making them very efficient. Not to mention, crawdads are very prominent in rivers and stream making them a regular meal for most fish. In the shallow stretches I hold the rod tip high which helps the bait run much shallower. When I come to deeper water in the river I will hold the rod tip low to the water, making the bait dive deeper.
Another option I like to throw is a small swimbait. Picking the right jig head is very important. If you choose too light of a head the lure will just be swept down stream with no action. If you go too heavy, it will sink and get stuck in the rocks and boulders. A good rule of thumb is to start with 1/4 ounce head and see how that works.
If you haven’t floated a stream or river in the summer months, you should give it a try. You can catch a wide variety of fish and will usually have the entire water to yourself.