The hesitancy of bass to strike big lures is more noticeable on heavily fished waters, clear lakes, and after a cold front pushes through. It’s also often common during the Summer, when baitfish are the main forage. These factors tend to make bass sluggish and lethargic. Because of this, turning to quieter, smaller offerings is smart. For some reason, though, many anglers will go smaller with deeper-running baits, but don’t do so with topwater lures. It’s too bad, because small topwater baits are often far more productive than standard or large versions. In fact, I often start my morning with a small buzzbait or popper. I’ve found that they draw more action from average fish and just as many strikes from big bass, too.
As I touched upon earlier, pressured lakes and clear waters are prime locations for small surface lures. Situations where the available baitfish are small and insects—such as cicadas, grasshoppers, and mayflies—are present also beg for you to throw a small topwater, such as any of Rebels insect imitators.
You’ll want to look for situations where bass are holding in water that’s six feet deep or less. Good targets in your local waters include the usual suspects: flats, points, shoals, shelves, edges of vegetation, stumps, rocks, riprap, docks, and bridge pilings. Keep an ear open for fish striking at the surface, as well, as this will be a good sign of where the activity is going down.
Anglers tend to switch to smaller jerkbaits and crankbaits when the action is slow, but doing so with topwater lures is a great idea, as well. I’ve had great luck starting things out with small surface lures and I know you’ll find that they’ll produce for you, too.