The Best Top Water Bass Lures 

John Malcolm
John MalcolmPublished: August 25, 2023
The Best Top Water Bass Lures 

Fishing topwater lures take patience and skill, but it pays off with big catches of freshwater bass. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced angler, having the right tools for the job makes success much sweeter. That's why we've found the best top water bass lures that offer the most bang for your buck. 

Some anglers swear by topwater lures, while others may only use them with others. Whatever the case, topwater lures offer an exciting way to catch bass. One of our favorites, the hollow body frog with dual treble hooks, consistently catches big bass. These frogs are designed to call bass with their lifelike action and plop sound. 

Types of topwater bass lures.

Topwater lures come in countless different styles, sizes, and shapes. Each style is designed to imitate different types of prey fish or entice strikes from bass with sound vibrations and flashy elements. Here are some of the more common types of topwater lures.

Popper lures.

We're kicking off our list with the classic Popper Lures. These lures are an absolute must-have in your fishing arsenal. Why? Well, their concave mouths create a loud "pop" sound that draws bass from deep waters. Plus, their slow and tantalizing retrieve can be irresistible to a lurking bass. 

Stick bait.

Stick baits are the masters of mimicry. Designed to imitate injured baitfish on the water surface, they excel at triggering predatory instincts in largemouth bass. The erratic, side-to-side action of stick baits and their lifelike appearance can entice even the most cautious bass. We've caught a lot of fish with stick baits.

Buzz bait.

One of the most common types of top water lures, these lures are known for their high-speed action and the buzzing noise they create. They're perfect for covering large areas of water quickly. They mimic a topwater fish going after a meal. Bass find the rapid, vibrating movement and the distinct noise hard to resist. If you're looking for fast and furious bass action, buzz baits are your go-to.

Frog lures.

A realistic-looking frog lure is perfect for those thick, lily-pad-covered areas where bass love to hide. These hollow-body frogs are designed to glide seamlessly over heavy cover like lily pads, just like a real frog. They're exceptionally good at enticing bass out of hiding for a surprise attack. Frogs are a favorite meal of bass, so these lures are a surefire hit. You can even find a popping frog, a mix of a popper and frog lure. These are easily one of our favorite top water bass lures.

Propeller lures.

We don't see propeller lures enough, but that doesn't mean they're not effective at catching bass. These ingenious lures, sometimes called prop baits, use spinning blades to create a commotion on the water surface, mimicking the movement of distressed prey. The spinning action generates vibrations and splashes that are sure to grab the attention of any nearby bass. Propeller lures are a game-changer if you're fishing in low-light conditions or murky water.

Wake baits.

Just like the name implies, wake baits are designed to create a V-shaped wake on the water's surface. This wakes draws attention from bass, who often come in for an attack. Plus, these lures can be towed at incredibly slow speeds with ease. They also come in a variety of sizes and colors, making them one of the most versatile topwater baits.

Walking baits.

Another classic lure, walking baits are excellent for covering larger areas of water. Their long glide and jerky movements make them a great option for bass that have seen it all. They work especially well in weedy cover and during calm days on the lake when bass are feeling extra feisty.

The best time to use topwater bass lures.

Having the right lure at the right lake isn't enough to bring in trophy largemouth bass. You need to time your fishing trip just right.

Seasonal considerations.

We've all heard the saying "timing is everything," and it couldn't be truer when it comes to fishing bass. Different seasons bring unique opportunities for top-water bass fishing. 

In warmer summer and early fall months, bass are more active and likely to strike at surface lures. The cooler spring months can also be productive, especially during the pre-spawn period when bass are aggressively feeding. These aren't hard and fast rules, but they're a good guideline to keep in mind. 

Time of day.

As for the time of day, dawn and dusk are prime times. 

These are the moments when bass are most actively hunting. The low light conditions during these periods make the bass feel safe to venture out of the weeds and hunt near the surface. You'll want to be ready with your topwater lures at these magical hours.

Weather conditions.

Of course, to some extent, we're all fair-weather fishing fans. However, contrary to what you might think, overcast and slightly windy days can be your best friends when it comes to top-water bass fishing. These conditions break up the surface light, making bass more confident to hit at surface lures. So, don't be disheartened if the sun isn't shining.

How to effectively use these lures.

When you're using topwater baits, you can control only two variables — casting and retrieval. 

Casting techniques.

Casting is the first step in your fishing adventure, and doing it right can significantly increase your chances of landing a big one. After all, if you can't place the topwater lure where you want it, you're never going to catch fish.

  • Accuracy is key. We can't stress this enough – aim for accuracy over distance. Bass often hide near structures, so getting your lure as close as possible to these spots can entice them to strike.
  • Master the overhead cast. This is your bread-and-butter cast. It allows you to cover long distances and is perfect for open-water scenarios.
  • Try the sidearm cast. This is a fantastic technique when you're fishing under low-hanging trees or other obstacles. It keeps your lure low and can help you reach those hard-to-get-to places where bass love to hide.

Always work on practicing these techniques. You can throw a weight on a line while you're in your driveway and try placing the cast exactly where you want it.

Retrieval techniques.

Now that you've cast your lure, how should you reel it in? Here's where retrieval techniques come into play—

  • Slow and steady. Sometimes, less is more. A slow, steady retrieve can mimic a leisurely swimming baitfish, which is an easy meal for a bass.
  • Mix it up. Don't be afraid to get creative and mix up your retrieval speed. Intermittent fast and slow retrieves can imitate an injured fish, a tempting prospect for any bass.
  • Pause and twitch. This technique involves pausing during the retrieve and then twitching the rod tip. It can make your lure behave like startled or injured prey, triggering a predatory response from the bass. We sometimes call this the walk-the-dog approach where you twitch it side to side.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you try these techniques, the better you'll get at enticing those elusive bass. 

Criteria for choosing topwater bass lures

When we were pouring through hundreds of top water lures, trying them out, and determining which ones were the best, we had to lay out some criteria for our selection. Here's what we looked for—

  • Size and shape. The size and shape of your lure greatly influence its effectiveness. Larger lures often attract bigger bass, while smaller ones are great for enticing a variety of fish sizes. The shape should mimic the movement of the bass's natural prey. So, keep an eye on what the fish are feeding on in your chosen spot.
  • Color. Color can be a game-changer. It can make or break a fishing trip. Bass are visual hunters, so the color of your lure matters. Bright colors work well in murky waters, while more subtle hues are effective in clear water. Experiment with different colors to see what works best in your fishing area. No two bodies of water are the same.
  • Material. The material of your lure affects its durability and performance. Plastic lures are flexible and realistic but may not last as long. Typically, we change them out every fishing trip. On the other hand, metal lures are durable and excellent for long casts but might lack realism. Choose a material that suits your fishing style and the conditions.
  • Weight and castability. The weight of your lure influences how far you can cast it and how it moves in the water. Heavier lures are great for long-distance casting, while lighter ones are perfect for short, precise casts. 

Choosing the right lure isn't just about buying the most expensive one — although, as anglers, we often get caught up in that. It's about understanding the lifestyle and habits of the bass, the conditions you're fishing in, and how different lures can increase your chances of reeling in a big fish. 

Top 5 Best topwater lures for bass.

Our pro-bass anglers have curated a list of the five best topwater lures. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner dipping your toes into the water, these lures promise to elevate your topwater fishing game.

Yellow Magic Japanese Popper

Yellow Magic Japanese Popper

First up, we have the Yellow Magic Japanese Popper. This popper lure stands out with its unique cupped mouth that creates a loud "pop" sound, attracting bass from deep waters. Its slow retrieve is simply irresistible to any lurking bass. This lure is a must-have in your fishing arsenal.

Heddon Super Spook Jr.

Heddon Super Spook Jr

The Heddon Super Spook Jr. stick bait mimics injured baitfish with its erratic, side-to-side action that triggers predatory instincts in largemouth bass. You can even hook some smallmouth bass as well. Coupled with its lifelike appearance, this lure can entice even the most cautious bass. 

River2Sea Whopper Plopper

River2Sea Whopper Plopper

The River2Sea Whopper Plopper is a buzz bait renowned for its high-speed action and distinctive buzzing noise. Perfect for quickly covering large areas of water, this lure's rapid, vibrating movement is hard for bass to resist. This is your go-to lure if you're seeking fast and furious bass action. We've noticed that you typically have to get a few casts in the same area with this one. The first cast or two gets the bass noticing it; then after that, they're striking it. Also try casting through schooling fish and see how that works out.

Snag Proof Frog

American Baitworks Snag Proof Frog

We're big fans of the Snag Proof Frog lure, especially for those thick, lily-pad-covered areas where bass love to hide. This frog lure is designed to glide seamlessly over heavy cover, just like a real frog. It's excellent at enticing bass out of hiding for a surprise attack. Although it's designed not to snag, it can still get snagged on reeds from time to time.

Arbogast Hula Popper

Arbogast Hula Popper

This Arbogast Hula Popper propeller lure uses spinning blades to create a commotion on the water surface, mimicking distressed prey. The spinning action generates vibrations and splashes that are sure to grab the attention of any nearby bass. If you're fishing in low-light conditions or murky water, this lure is a game-changer. We love the Hula Popper and there's a reason it's a classic lure in every angler's tackle box — it's that good at catching monster bass!

What's your favorite topwater lure?

If you're serious about becoming a successful topwater bass angler, the right equipment is crucial. Paying attention to the size, shape, color, material, and weight of your lures can significantly enhance your chances of making a rewarding catch. 

The Yellow Magic Japanese Popper, Heddon Super Spook Jr., River2Sea Whopper Plopper, Snag Proof Frog, and Arbogast Hula Popper each offer unique attributes that can cater to a variety of fishing conditions and bass behaviors. 

Remember, the key isn't just finding the most expensive lure but understanding the habits of the bass and how your lure can best mimic their natural prey. With practice, patience, and the right tools at your disposal, you'll be reeling in big bass in no time.

John Malcolm

John Malcolm

Expert Angler

John is a highly skilled angler with over two decades of experience and a passion that has led him to participate in numerous tournaments, including reeling in a remarkable 9lb bass on Lake Okeechobee. His dedication to fishing and willingness to share his expertise make him a respected ambassador for the angling community, inspiring others to appreciate the sport.

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