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What's Your Favorite Topwater Bass Lure?

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October 22, 2012

What's Your Favorite Topwater Bass Lure?

By John Merwin

There are dozens of different topwater bass lures. Most will work sometimes. A very few work most of the time. That means that most bass anglers have their favorites, so let’s find out what they are.

The following poll covers three widely popular topwater styles: poppers, walk-the-dog types, and floating frogs. Chances are one of those is your go-to topwater bait, but which one? Check the following descriptions, then voice your choice.

POPPERS -- The chugging, gurgling sounds of a cup-faced popper can draw bass from a considerable distance, or perhaps seemingly wake up otherwise lethargic fish. Poppers such as Chug Bugs or Pop-Rs work especially well on windy days because the lure’s face digs into the surface and makes the lure easier to control.

WALK-THE-DOG -- A Zara Spook is the best known of this style, but there are many other versions. These are my personal favorites, partly because they draw explosive surface strikes. (The bass I’m holding in the photo took a Zara.) The lures wag and dart erratically along the surface when fished with a repetitive jerk-and-stop rod-tip motion.

FLOATING FROGS --
All bass eat frogs when they can, which makes frog imitators a logical choice. Recent years have seen a frog renaissance as more makers have introduced their own versions. Basically a hollow rubber body rigged with an upright and mostly weedless double hook, they work well when twitched on top of floating weed mats or worked around the lily pads.

So those are the choices. By all means let us know your favorite, and if your favorite isn’t listed then let us know that, too.

Comments (33)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I love to work a frog fast over pads. The splashing legs draw great reaction strikes. Also a fan of the jitterbug and buzzbait, which aren't listed, for reaction strikes.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from small game sportsman wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

hula popper

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Definitely poppers. The storm rattlin' Chug bug in a bass pattern is my go-to topwater. I love storm topwaters/crankbaits.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Rattlin Chug Bug in chrome with a blue back.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bowman77 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Buzz Baits!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I was just slayin' largemouth saturday morning on a fresh-out-the-box rebel pop-r in red-eye perch pattern. Such a great time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from weedless97 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Jitterbugs

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from vasportsman wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Tie between a Jointed Jitterbug and a Zara Puppy Spook

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I've caught a ton of fish on injured minnow propeller lures, ditto jitterbugs. I caught my first bass on top with a darter, 3 for a dollar lures. I've stil got a yellow with black and red spotted darter in my big box leftover from the 50's. My beaver pond is so weeded up that I fish almost exclusively the weedless frog and spook type lures now. I guess that I have different favorites depending on where I'm fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Chug Bug

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pathfinder1 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Hi...

My favorite top water bass lures have been the Hula Popper and Crazy Crawler types.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

It just has to be big and make noise, the amount of water doesn't matter as much as the overall commotion on the surface for me. And usually the bigger the better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I voted walk-the-dog but that is really only in open water. Frogs are my favorites in pencil weeds and lily pads and when the buzzbait bite is on it is hard to beat.
I guess I would just have to say that topwater fishing is my favorite.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

weedless frogs. can fish the thickest weeds others avoid. biggest bass of my life caught on one of them

also love buzzbaits

i do good with lures that have the "walk the dog" action for muskies

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Arbogast Jitterbug...Heddon Chugger...Charlie Campbell signature Zara Spook...Smithwick...Mouldy's Hawg Wobbler...Suick Thriller...Bobbie Bait...so many choices! One thing's clear. Topwater is the way to go.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HelloStrega wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I love a floating frog, especially for my 3 year old daughter to use. I don't have to worry about getting a treble hook in my face and my daughters inconsistent reeling ability imparts some interesting action on the lure.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Big black Jitterbug.

Some people I know prefer the muskie version with the side hooks and the giant cigar body.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbit beagle wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

The small Hula Poppers are great for stream and small river smallmouth. The dark color are great to use in stained water from summer thunderstorms.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

biggest bass i ever caught was on a hulastick that a guy lent me when i wasn't getting anything with an inline, Nice guy let me keep the lure. I like walking the dog personally.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Grimaudo wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

hula popper in yellow under a blue-green top

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Crippled Killer in black.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bez wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Can't beat a Rebel Pop-R for consistency. Frogs are better for fishing in weeds, but hook-up percentage is considerably lower than with any lure with exposed treble hooks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from drobe2 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Look up captain kens frogs of youtube awesome!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Just a plain rubber worm hooked weedless with no weight.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

A #9750 Heddon plastic Vamp Spook is my all time fvorite, then next is the Heddon wooden Zaragossa Spook in white with a red head and glass eyes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

My favorite is whichever they are biting. But I always start with a Zara spook.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenton wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Buzzbaits and Weed Walkers which I think are no longer made.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shockersnake wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

I love a lure my grandfather called the devil horse. I caught more bass on that thing then anything else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from plinkster wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

We live in New Mexico (yes were part of the states)and we do't have lots of frogs so I'd have to go with poppers

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Berkley's Bang O'Lure was a favorite for a long time till a Gar ate it. Everyone I bought after that never worked as well as the one the Gar ate. I fish for Bass mostly and since they co-exsist with Strippers in our lake I catch a lot of them. I don't seem to have what it take to work a Pop'R correctly so my go to is the Rapala Skitter Pop. Great top water bait and early morning on a main lake point it will get you some steady action.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matthew Matzek wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I fish with poppers more than any other lure. They cause strikes in active fish and wake those slower ones up! I love whenever I pop it over a section of water, then cast it back to that same spot and the bass strikes it as soon is it hits the water! Very exciting lure to use.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matthew Matzek wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Also weedless lily frogs. In heavy lily waters, I cast right on top of the lillies and jump the frog from lily to lily, all the way to shore. I have literally had a fish jump ON the bank to get the frog at the last possible second.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RANGERMANZ20 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

POP-Rs two to one over anything else, they work better in both smooth and choppy water, from south Florida to Kansas, and back down to TX, they have always produced.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I love to work a frog fast over pads. The splashing legs draw great reaction strikes. Also a fan of the jitterbug and buzzbait, which aren't listed, for reaction strikes.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from small game sportsman wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

hula popper

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from weedless97 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Jitterbugs

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Definitely poppers. The storm rattlin' Chug bug in a bass pattern is my go-to topwater. I love storm topwaters/crankbaits.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Rattlin Chug Bug in chrome with a blue back.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bowman77 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Buzz Baits!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Chug Bug

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pathfinder1 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Hi...

My favorite top water bass lures have been the Hula Popper and Crazy Crawler types.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

biggest bass i ever caught was on a hulastick that a guy lent me when i wasn't getting anything with an inline, Nice guy let me keep the lure. I like walking the dog personally.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from maynardtl8 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I was just slayin' largemouth saturday morning on a fresh-out-the-box rebel pop-r in red-eye perch pattern. Such a great time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vasportsman wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Tie between a Jointed Jitterbug and a Zara Puppy Spook

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I've caught a ton of fish on injured minnow propeller lures, ditto jitterbugs. I caught my first bass on top with a darter, 3 for a dollar lures. I've stil got a yellow with black and red spotted darter in my big box leftover from the 50's. My beaver pond is so weeded up that I fish almost exclusively the weedless frog and spook type lures now. I guess that I have different favorites depending on where I'm fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

It just has to be big and make noise, the amount of water doesn't matter as much as the overall commotion on the surface for me. And usually the bigger the better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I voted walk-the-dog but that is really only in open water. Frogs are my favorites in pencil weeds and lily pads and when the buzzbait bite is on it is hard to beat.
I guess I would just have to say that topwater fishing is my favorite.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefishpress wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Arbogast Jitterbug...Heddon Chugger...Charlie Campbell signature Zara Spook...Smithwick...Mouldy's Hawg Wobbler...Suick Thriller...Bobbie Bait...so many choices! One thing's clear. Topwater is the way to go.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HelloStrega wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I love a floating frog, especially for my 3 year old daughter to use. I don't have to worry about getting a treble hook in my face and my daughters inconsistent reeling ability imparts some interesting action on the lure.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Big black Jitterbug.

Some people I know prefer the muskie version with the side hooks and the giant cigar body.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbit beagle wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

The small Hula Poppers are great for stream and small river smallmouth. The dark color are great to use in stained water from summer thunderstorms.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Grimaudo wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

hula popper in yellow under a blue-green top

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Crippled Killer in black.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bez wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Can't beat a Rebel Pop-R for consistency. Frogs are better for fishing in weeds, but hook-up percentage is considerably lower than with any lure with exposed treble hooks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from drobe2 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Look up captain kens frogs of youtube awesome!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Just a plain rubber worm hooked weedless with no weight.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

A #9750 Heddon plastic Vamp Spook is my all time fvorite, then next is the Heddon wooden Zaragossa Spook in white with a red head and glass eyes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

My favorite is whichever they are biting. But I always start with a Zara spook.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenton wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Buzzbaits and Weed Walkers which I think are no longer made.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shockersnake wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

I love a lure my grandfather called the devil horse. I caught more bass on that thing then anything else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from plinkster wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

We live in New Mexico (yes were part of the states)and we do't have lots of frogs so I'd have to go with poppers

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Berkley's Bang O'Lure was a favorite for a long time till a Gar ate it. Everyone I bought after that never worked as well as the one the Gar ate. I fish for Bass mostly and since they co-exsist with Strippers in our lake I catch a lot of them. I don't seem to have what it take to work a Pop'R correctly so my go to is the Rapala Skitter Pop. Great top water bait and early morning on a main lake point it will get you some steady action.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matthew Matzek wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I fish with poppers more than any other lure. They cause strikes in active fish and wake those slower ones up! I love whenever I pop it over a section of water, then cast it back to that same spot and the bass strikes it as soon is it hits the water! Very exciting lure to use.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matthew Matzek wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Also weedless lily frogs. In heavy lily waters, I cast right on top of the lillies and jump the frog from lily to lily, all the way to shore. I have literally had a fish jump ON the bank to get the frog at the last possible second.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RANGERMANZ20 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

POP-Rs two to one over anything else, they work better in both smooth and choppy water, from south Florida to Kansas, and back down to TX, they have always produced.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

weedless frogs. can fish the thickest weeds others avoid. biggest bass of my life caught on one of them

also love buzzbaits

i do good with lures that have the "walk the dog" action for muskies

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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