August 20, 2011
The sunny, hot and generally much calmer than normal weather conditions that have prevailed this summer have made for a stellar top water bass bite right across the continent.
Up here in Northwestern Ontario, I've enjoyed consistently super action since the post-spawn spring calendar period. And buddy Wally Robbins, who lives 1200 miles away, down in southeastern Ontario, tells me the top water bite has been just as scorching in his neck of the woods.
Wally was out the other day with another good friend, outdoor writer and photographer, Tim Allard (who recently authored the award winning book, Ice Fishing, The Ultimate Guide). They were enjoying a great early morning flurry of activity fishing popper-style lures. But, as so often happens with top waters, the bite faded noticeably after the pair caught several fish from the school.
When you see that happen, though, there is a really neat trick you can employ. In Wally's words:
"I learned this trick a long time ago from Big Jim McLaughlin and it has extended many a top water bite for me. Once you notice the activity fading, simply speed up the cadence of your retrieve. It doesn't matter if you have been catching the fish using a stop-and-go retrieve or slowly walking the dog with a Spook-style lure, speed it up.
"For a good hour or so the other day, Tim and I were catching the heck out of the smallmouth, using a slow, stop-and-go cadence with poppers. The smallies were sucking the baits under when we'd pause them. But, as often happens, the bass quickly became conditioned to the lures and the retrieve. So we started burning the same baits back to the boat and the bass crushed them. I mean, it was as though we'd just arrived at the spot and the bass had never seen the baits. This little top water rick has extended so many great top water bites for me over the years, it is ridiculous!"
Ridiculous enough that you need to try it the next time you start seeing your top water bass bite diminish.