"Raw Thumb" article, As Prepared by Armstrong Outfitters Professional Guide Service.


Kirk R. Armstrong


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"Top Waters... the Heart Attack of Bass Fishing!"

Kirk R. Armstrong

June, 2002

Thump-thump. Thump-thump... thump-thump...thump-thump.....thump
Your heart is about to beat out of your chest. You just threw your top water bait to the very edge of a grass line by a lay down stump and there was a HUGE swirl under your bait. It "dances" in circles in the swirling water from the thrust of a hungry, green, scaled monster! You sit motionless, your rod tip quivers as your hands shake from excitement. You tighten the slack in your line ever so carefully...slowly...cautiously. With the slightest twitch you send the bait inching forward, spitting water and then it happens...KAWOOSH! It looks like somebody threw a sack of cement on top of your lure, your line rushes off to one side, you stumble backwards as you set the hook, your Shimano "screams" with delight as the line peels off. Then the line sings, ping, ping, ping, sheÕs surfacing, sheÕs coming up, rod tip down, watch her...SWOOSH, Ker-Splash!

People wonder why we Bass Fish!!! Need I say any more? Top Water fishing is probably one of the most exciting and exhilarating ways to fish that there ever was. If anyone says they do not completely enjoy catching fish on top waters then smackÕem and give that Polo shirt wearing yuppie a putter and a golf ball! Besides he canÕt tow a bass boat behind his Porsche anyway, thatÕs why he fishes with you!

Top water fishing is an artistic duel, a duel between you and the fish, a waiting game of sorts. All you have to do is be smarter and wiser. This time of year Bass see so many of the same baits doing the same thing they become conditioned, especially the ones that have been caught and released. Think about it. If someone drug a six pack and pork chop through your living room every morning at 6:00 a.m. and you knew that last week at that same time you pounced on it and they ripped your face off,..would you eat it again?! Only if they changed the pork chop and the brand of the six pack!!! Change what the norm is, do something different, donÕt get caught up in fishing the same ole baits the same ole ways.

Some of my favorite lures for top water fishing are the Lucky Craft, Yozuri, Pradco and Bass Pro Shops line of lures. These baits have become so detailed and so realistic it is hard to tell the difference from them and the real thing in the water. An extra added plus for these is they all have quality hooks that are SHARP right out of the package.

I even put fish attractants like Kick N Bass on the trailer hooks of top waters. The feathers or millar or whatever is on the rear trailer will actually act as a mini reservoir and since the lure is on the surface there will be a slick of sorts dissipating in the water. When a Bass edges up to the lure floating on the surface it will smell like preyÉsomething different from all the other "pork chops!"

The ten-second rule is probably the most important and least utilized rule there is in top water fishing. When I cast a floating top water out I let it sit for a least ten seconds before I ever move it. Let all the splash rings dissipate and just let the lure sit there, floating, drifting in the breeze. Many times you will see a bass swim up underneath and move slowly back and forth like a cat ready to pounce on a mouse. The fish is telling you "Patience my foot, IÕm gonna kill something!" At this point and time the worst thing you can do is twitch or move the bait. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Let the lure sit and drift effortlessly. Then after another 20 seconds or so twitch the bait one time. I have caught many big fish between the 6-10 pound range by using this technique.

For some action with schooling fish, try removing the rear hook of a small PopÕR or Baby Chug Bug. Tie the bait tie your line as you normally would and then tie a leader about one to two feet long to where you just removed the rear treble. Then on the other end of the leader tie a regular size PopÕR or Chug Bug. What could be better than top water fishing? Two at a time top water fishing. Two Pork Chops are better than one!

Do not be afraid to fish top waters around heavy cover either. They are not just for the shoreline. Flooded trees on the edges of a creek or on a point will hold a lot of fish on an overcast summer day. Cast a top water morsel to the edges of those trees and your arm may just get broken.

Equipment- be sure you are using a rod with a forgiving tip. Many times I have seen people rip a bait away from a fish because the rod tip is to stiff and their reflexes were instinctively to fast! A forgiving rod will flex with your reflexes and give the lure some lag time for the fish to hit it. My absolute favorite is the All Star Zell Rowland signature series IM10X Top water Special. This rod is light as a feather and strong as an Ox. Married with a Shimano Chronoarch or Curado Super Free and you have a recipe for success. I open shoreline cover I like 15-17pound Berkley Big Game or ANDE Back Country line. Around cover it is nothing les than 20 pound test.

Try a different "pork chop" next time. Definitely do something different, be patient and you will catch bigger, better and more top water fish.

Until next time, be safe, smart, and God Bless, "Raw Thumb"

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