Fishing with topwater lures can be both exciting and rewarding, which is a great combination on the water. However, in order for it to be both, anglers need to employ discipline and determination. Today, I’ve outlined several rules that I believe lead to success when fishing topwater and I urge you all to take them to heart this season.

The first rule to a rewarding topwater experience is fishing topwater lures all day. Most anglers throw them early in the morning or late at night, but experienced fishermen will tell you that throwing a topwater lure long enough where the fish are will yield strikes all day. Hot weather and weedy slop are famous for holding big bass, so toss a frog, Sara spook, buzzbait, or popper throughout the day.

You should also try not to limit yourself to one or two favorite lures. I love “walking the dog” with a Zara spook or throwing my favorite orange and gold buzzbait, but when they aren’t drawing strikes, it’s time to switch lures. Keeping a variety of topwater lures on hand will enable you to effectively cover an area and locate aggressive fish.

Many anglers will throw a topwater lure and use the same speed or retrieval technique each cast. However, experimenting with speed with buzzbaits or popping patterns with poppers can have surprisingly great results.

Be sure to keep an eye on the treble hooks on your topwater lures, as well. Some topwater lures come in low-quality hooks, so replacing them can be a smart move. Make sure they’re sharp and use split rings, and you’ll find that your hook-up percentage will increase.

One word that seems synonymous with topwater is “glass.” This, of course, refers to the water surface conditions that many anglers favor when throwing topwater. While calm water is great, rougher conditions can actually produce strikes, since visibility is poor and the waves cause the lures to make more noise.

You’ll need to make sure you’re using the right equipment when throwing topwater lures, so strong line (strong mono for open water and braid for weeds or pads), as well as the right rod (soft tip, medium action for open water and heavy action for weeds), are your best friends.

I’ve seen many anglers miss a lot of fish when using topwater baits, and 9 out of 10 times it’s because they don’t know when to set the hook. Many see or hear the splash of a strike and instantly set the hook. However, you need to wait until you feel the weight of the fish on the line before setting the hook.

With products like buzzbait boxes or spinnerbait wallets, it can be easy to think that having a type of lure in all available colors is a good idea. However, it’s best have a variety of topwater lure types in a few proven color patterns in your arsenal. Bass target noise at the surface, so color isn’t as important. Try one color in different sizes, as well, and you’ll be fine.

Topwater fishing has developed a reputation as adhering to specific times of the day or certain conditions or patterns. However, it’s easy to fall into a routine that causes us to miss out on fish. Read through the tips outlined above and I promise you’ll be pulling more fish to the boat in no time.