How to Use Topwater Lures: Advantages, Types, Functions, Ideal Conditions

How to Use Topwater Lures: Advantages, Types, Functions, Ideal Conditions

What is it? Why should you use it? Types of tshirt

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If you're looking to up your fishing game and experience the thrill of seeing fish strike your lure on the surface, then topwater fishing is definitely something you should try. Let me give you a quick rundown on what topwater lures are all about, why they're so much fun, and what you should remember when using them.


What are topwater lures?

Topwater lures are a type of lure designed to float on the surface of the water, imitating prey like insects, frogs, or wounded baitfish. The whole idea is to entice fish to come up and strike from below.

Compared to other types of lures, topwater lures are pretty unique. They float right on the water's surface, and it's super exciting to see fish strike them!

On the other hand, you've got crankbaits that dive underwater and imitate swimming baitfish, while soft plastics are super versatile and can be rigged in all sorts of ways to look like different prey. Meanwhile, spinnerbaits are flashy with their spinning blades, and jigs are weighted little guys that you bounce along the bottom.

As discussed before in our post on Popular Fishing Lures, each lure has its own special purpose and advantages, depending on where you're fishing and what fish you're after.


Advantages to topwater fishing

There are quite a few advantages to topwater fishing. One of the biggest is that it's a highly visual style of fishing, which makes it really engaging and enjoyable. Plus, it often targets larger, more aggressive fish like bass, so there's a good chance you'll hook into some real trophies. And let's not forget that topwater lures are often more weedless than other lures, making them perfect for fishing around vegetation and other snag-prone areas.

Now, it’s no secret that the lure market keeps expanding, with new and innovative designs hitting the shelves every year. And topwater lures are no exception. You've got your classic poppers, chuggers, and walk-the-dog lures, but nowadays, we're also seeing some really cool hybrids and innovative designs, like Whopper Ploppers, soft plastic frogs, and more.

It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but once you start grouping these lures by function, it becomes a lot easier to figure out which one is best for your specific fishing situation.


Types and functions of topwater lures

Knowing the function of each type of topwater lure helps you choose the right one for your fishing situation.

Poppers and Chuggers

These guys are all about making a splash! Poppers and chuggers create noise and disturbance on the surface, drawing fish in from a distance. They're great when you're trying to cover a lot of water or when the fish are a bit more spread out.

Walk-the-Dog Lures

These lures are all about that side-to-side action. When you twitch your rod tip just right, these lures will dance back and forth on the surface, mimicking an injured baitfish. They're perfect for those times when you want a more subtle and finesse presentation.


Buzzbaits are the noisy neighbors of topwater lures. They have a spinning blade that churns up the water, creating a lot of commotion and vibrations that fish just can't resist. They're especially good for fishing in low light or murky water when visibility is low.

Prop Baits

Prop baits come with small propellers on the front, back, or both ends, which spin as you reel in, creating disturbance and noise on the surface. They're versatile lures that can be used in a range of conditions, from calm to slightly choppy waters.

Frogs and Soft Plastic Topwaters

These lures are perfect for fishing around heavy vegetation or other snag-prone areas. They imitate frogs, insects, or other critters and usually have a weedless design that helps you avoid getting hung up. Plus, they're great for those heart-stopping moments when a big bass explodes out of the lily pads!

Ideal conditions for topwater lures

Now that we've got a handle on the different types of topwater lures and their functions, let's talk about the ideal conditions for using them. Here are some tips.

Topwater lures generally work best in calm to slightly choppy waters, with some, like buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers, handling rougher conditions. Water clarity also matters, as certain lures excel in clear water while others thrive in murkier conditions.

Low light situations such as early mornings, late afternoons, or overcast days are ideal for topwater lures, but experimentation can sometimes yield surprising results.

Choose lures suited to your environment. Frogs and soft plastics are great for heavy vegetation, while poppers and chuggers excel around structures like docks, fallen trees, or rocky points.

Consider the species you're targeting, as some are more likely to strike topwater lures. Bass and pike, for example, are known for aggressive topwater strikes, while panfish tend to favor crankbaits or swimbaits.



If you're searching for a way to amp up your angling adventures, look no further than topwater lures. They're designed to float right on the water's surface, providing an incredible visual as fish strike from beneath. With such an extensive variety of topwater lures available, it's essential not to let the options intimidate you. Instead, take some time to understand the unique functions of each topwater lure and how they correlate with specific environments and targeted fish species. By doing so, you'll feel confident in selecting the perfect lure for your needs, and you'll be well on your way to an unforgettable fishing experience filled with topwater action!


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