Heddon popper-style minnow baits for bass

Hi Island Lake visitors, anglers, fishing enthusiasts and fellow AMFisHers!  In this article I discuss one of the most exciting ways to catch bass: with a top-water bait.

There is nothing quite like having your heart pumping at 1000 beats per minute as you watch your top-water bait moving across the water’s surface, waiting for an  insane bass to hit!  This exciting way to fish is typically overlooked during the fall, when in fact it can be a very good bass-producing time of year for top-waters. Sometimes pike will hit your floaters too.

There are many options when it comes to top-water fishing. With frogs, bait fish, mice, buzz baits and poppers available, where should you start?  Well, keep it simple: anything that imitates an injured bait fish is my first choice.  Look for something with the appearance of a minnow and make sure it will displace water as you work the bait.

Come fall, when frogs and mice are not out-and-about too often, a popper-style minnow bait with a cupped lip area is ideal.  These are fairly easy to use and blend in, as small fish are still around at this time of year. These baits are usually twitched or “popped” on your retrieve, making the cup-style mouth push through the water and creating quite the splash!  Another top-water bait choice has a prop-style front, which rotates during retrieval and creates a large wake.

Black and orange prop style bait for bass.
Black and orange prop style bait for bass.

Prop-style baits are hot these days and work well.  They make a commotion on the water’s surface, which lures bass in for the strike. When fishing these two types of top-water, use the following tricks to get stunning strikes:

First tip: let the bait sit for 10 seconds or more after casting.  This allows all the splash rings around the bait to fully disappear and makes it look weak and vulnerable.

Second tip: do the opposite! As soon as the bait splashes into the water, start to work it immediately and frantically, as this will mimic something that may have fallen or been dropped by a bird of prey. These two methods above have caught me lots of bass over the years.

Third tip: include pauses in your retrieve.  Pausing any top water bait during the retrieve triggers a following fish’s instinct to strike. Again, it makes your bait look weak and vulnerable.

Fourth tip: change your retrieve speed and style between casts, as the bass will always tell us what they want to eat and how they want it presented when they strike. Work top water baits as you would any other style bait – mix it up until something works.  Work the bait faster, then slower, then fast with pauses then slower with pauses and so on. Keep changing it up until you find something that works.

This is a great time of year to experience that top-water bite, so don’t miss out!  Hope you found some value in this article…Tight lines everyone.

The AMFisH guy…Billy

Dedicated to helping you catch more fish!

Learn more here: www.amfish.ca

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