Boat traffic will be hellish. The personal watercraft (PWC) crowd will be tearing it up. But if you’re not fishing somewhere over the next three days, we may just have to question your patriotism. All kidding aside, the July 4th weekend is an all-hands-on-deck fishing weekend, and there’s no better time to grab a handful of topwaters and chase some largemouths. Here are three killer baits to get you into the action, but first a quick tip. If boating pressure is whipping your lake into a froth, fish at dawn, or opt for the dusk-through-dark shift. Hearing a bass hammer your topwater in the dark is one of the coolest fishing experiences you’ll ever have.
There are tons of great frog imitations to choose from these days, with the Booyah Pad Crasher, Rapala’s Terminator Walking Frog, and Stanley Jigs’ Ribbit among my personal favorites. Because frog fishing means that you’re likely fishing mats and lily pads, go with heavy braid as high as 40-pound-test, and a medium-heavy rod. Frog color doesn’t seem to matter too much when the topwater bite is hot. Let the bass eat the bait for a second before you set the hook.
Lots of choices—both old and new—in this category. There’s no way I’d even contemplate a summer night’s bass trip without both a Jitterbug and a Hula Popper. Black will forever be my go-to color. In the cool, new arena is the LiveTarget Sunfish. I fished it pretty hard last summer and liked it a bunch. Rebel’s Super Pop-R and a Heddon Spook of one iteration or another round out my picks. Spooks are great for castability and a slightly stealthier action, which is great when boaters have bass a bit spooky. For me, poppers are just more fun to fish.
3. Deer Hair Bass Bugs
Not quite certain how things turned out that way, but I was tossing deer hair bass bugs to largemouths before ever having thrown a topwater lure. I was 12 and I was hooked. Bass bugging is just magical. But don’t take it from me. Here’s what the hottest bass bug tyer on the planet, Pat Cohen (rusuperfly.com), had to say:
“It’s all about the toilet flush—when a bass just inhales one of your bugs,” says Cohen. “The main ingredient to success though is patience—patience on the retrieve and the patience to stick with it. It’s not always fast and furious action on top but eventually a pattern can emerge. That pattern can be a size, a color, a retrieve speed, or a retrieve method. You’ve got to figure out what will make them respond positively to your offering.”
Planning to hit bass with topwaters this weekend? What’s your go-to lure?