I have a confession to make–I am absolutely, without question, hopelessly addicted to top water fishing for bass. I’m willing to through a top water bass plug in just about any conditions–bright, clear skies, dingy water, cold water, dead of winter, it doesn’t matter. I’m always up for the chance to land a fish on a top water lure.
To be fair, I come by it honest. Growing up, my dad would fish a Heddon Torpedo almost every outing, regardless of conditions or seasons. What’s more surprising is the level of success he had–the man could catch a bass out a toilet bowl in the middle of a snow storm, so long as he had his trusted yellow, battered Torpedo. To this day I’m equal parts amazed and jealous at his success with just this one topwater lure.
Topwater fishing for bass is one of the most exciting ways to fish, but you need to be sure to have the right fishing pole for the task at hand. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a nice fish come unbuttoned due to a poor hook set or improper technique. Luckily, choosing the best fishing rod for top water fishing isn’t always really that hard.
First off, I prefer to use a fiberglass rod for topwater fishing. I don’t need an overly sensitive fishing pole for this technique, so fiberglass works just fine for my purposes. In addition, I’ve found that when I use fiberglass fishing rods for topwater fishing, I’m less likely to set the hook too early. Using a fiberglass fishing poles forces me to allow the that split second it needs to get the bait fully in it’s mouth before I set the hook. Using a fiberglass fishing pole will help you hook more fish when throwing a topwater lure.
In terms of action, I prefer to use a medium fast to medium action rod. Again, the reason for this choice is to help me get more solid hooksets. A fast action rod will most often pull the lure out of the fish’s mouth before it’s able to get a solid hold on it. By using a medium to medium action fishing pole, I can offset my natural reaction to seeing a fish strike at my lure (which is namely to set the hell out of the hook–oftentimes, far too soon). Be careful, however; occasionally you’ll want to avoid using medium action rods, simply because they can make it harder to work certain lures. If you’re planning on using a topwater lure for “walking the dog”, for example, it’s often easier to use a medium fast action rod over a medium action fishing pole.
As far as rod power goes, match the power of your fishing pole to the weight of the lure you’ll most often be using, as well as the average size of bass in the area you’ll be fishing. Most often, I go with a medium to medium heavy fishing pole.
Finally, rod length is important when topwater fishing. While longer fishing poles will allow you to cast further, many topwater applications require you to keep your rod tip low to the water, and jerk the rod downwards to work your lure. I will typically choose a 6’6″ rod for topwater lures, as it find that these fishing poles are long enough to cast the distances I need, without being too long to allow me to work my lure properly. If you’re taller, or fishing from a standing position from your boat, you might be able to utilize a longer fishing rod when topwater fishing.
Your choice of reel when topwater fishing is, most often times, a personal preference. I like to use a reel with a quick retrieve and high gear ratio simply because there are times when I need to cover a lot of water quickly. It’s easier for me to pause my retrieve than it is to speed it up, and since me lure is floating, there’s no downside to letting it sit for a second to encourage a strike from any fish that might be following it. Using a high gear ratio reel allows me to burn topwater lures all day without becoming overly fatigued.
If you’ve never tried your hand at top water fishing for bass, you might as well have not ever been fishing. You’ve no idea the fun you’re in for. There’s nothing more exciting than the sight and sound of a huge fish blowing up at your topwater lure, and so long as you’re using the proper fishing poles for topwater bass fishing, it’s a great way to fill your live well quickly.