It’s May, and just about every fishery in the United States is in summer pattern now.
Up north, you might be in late post-spawn, and down south your summertime bite is getting good. No matter where you're at, early summer fishing can provide some of the best topwater action of the year.
The water is warm enough so the fish are active all over the lake; especially at first light. The bass' metabolism is running on high, and fish must eat aggressively to stay healthy throughout the summer.
At this time of year, it’s important to get on the water before the sun is up. This first 20-to-30 minute window of each day will provide some of the best topwater action of the year. In most summer tournaments, 50 percent (or more) of the fish will be caught in the first two hours, so get out there early and cover water until you find areas holding the active fish.
I was recently fishing a Bass Pro Shops Open on Lake Grapevine, Texas, and had a limit by 6:20 a.m. -- all on topwater.
Selecting the proper topwater bait is pretty simple. I like to use three types of topwaters, and I'll let the conditions and forage determine what I use.
3 Of My Favorite Topwater Baits
1. Walking-style topwaters: I use the Lucky Craft Sammy 105 in American Shad (www.LuckyCraft.com) almost anywhere in the country, whether clear or dirty water and for any species of bass. The 105 is a little bigger than the Sammy 100 and features three hooks (vs. just two hooks), which is important in landing more bass. If the water is glass calm, that is when a Sammy is at its absolute best. It’s very subtle in water displacement but has enough action to make sure fish notice the bait from far off.
If the water is choppy, I go with the Lucky Craft Gunfish 115 or a Super Spook. The Gunfish is an extremely unique topwater in that it splits water and walks just like a Super Spook at the same time. Great for getting a bass's attention even when there is a lot of noise and surface disruption from waves.
2. Popper: This bait really shines on lakes with small- and medium-sized bass, and it is particularly best around the spawn and until the water gets to about 75 degrees in lakes with shad in them. Shad spawn around the 70 degree mark, and because a popper is small, it mimics the smaller recently hatched shad better. Also, I like the water to be clearer when I'm using a popper. My favorite is the Lucky Craft G-Splash 65 and 80 in American Shad. Use a Loop Knot, and it will walk all over the place and blow bubbles on the surface as you pop it.
3. Propbait: Don't forget about this style bait when bass are targeting bluegills. The gills come up to spawn right as the bass move off the beds, so by early summer, there are tons of bluegill fry schooled up shallow trying to make it back to deeper water without getting eating by a bass. The best prop baits are a Brian's Prop Bee 2 or a Lucky Craft Kelly-J in MS Black. I'm not sure why, but that MS Black color is awesome all day, all night and in any water color
I fish all of these baits on a 6'9" medium heavy action casting rod with an extra fast tip and a Revo MGX reel and 12lb-17lb test Izorline co-polymer line (www.Izorline.com). This line is extremely low stretch (which really helps the baits action) and it floats, which is important when topwater fishing. The Revo MGX reel makes it easy to cast any size bait. The shorter 6'9" rod helps your rod not slap the water on the down strokes and a shorter rod is much for accurate around shoreline cover.
Get yourself a few topwater lures for the summer and go have some fun in the early A.M.! This will likely be the most exciting time to fish all year!