Believe it or not, fall is fast approaching. The “meteorological start” of fall is only two days away; the “astronomical start” less than a month out. Believe me, I looked it up. So even though the water is still near hot enough to start bubbling any minute, cool nights are coming. Then the cooler days will set in for many of us across the country. And, before you know it, the baitfish will be shallow and the topwater bite will be on. In preparation for this, we’ve been reviewing some topwater baits this summer. The first we’ll look at is the Ark Outlaw Topwater Walking Bait.
This is a high-floating, easy-casting, loud-knocking topwater. That’s the best way to describe it quick. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.
A COMBINATION OF TWO CLASSICS
There are a few different subsets in the walking topwater bait genre. You have the classic Heddon Zara Spook and Lucky Craft Sammy that set the tone for basic body styles long ago. The Sammy is traditionally thought of as a “finessier” topwater, with smaller beads in it for a gentler sound. Think rain stick from your vacation tourist attraction souvenir shop. At least, that’s what rises from the annals of my mind when trying to place the sound.
Then the Zara Spook has a little more of a solid and steady pitch to it, with fewer and slightly larger beads. Heddon also made a One Knocker version of the Spook, with one giant bead in the rear-end of the bait used to emit a solid knock only once upon each twitch. The Spook also floats higher than the Sammy. Take a little of this and a little of that from these baits, throw them together and you’ve got the Outlaw Topwater.
GREAT SOUND EMISSION
This bait again has a one-knocker style tungsten rattle in the tail, that gives off a very definitive and loud knock each time the bait is twitched. This style bait serves a particular purpose in my personal topwater arsenal. If the fish are shallow and keying in on smaller shad, I don’t really like this aggressive sound and prefer something more like a Sammy. But if the fish need to be draw to the bait, that’s when a lure like this shines.
Take deep treetops for instance. A loud, solid-knocking bait like this is a great choice for walking back across the end of a laydown. Using slow, methodical twitches, you can “call a fish up” to the surface with this bait, where one with a quieter rattle might not trigger the fish to move as far. This works the same way when fishing a topwater over deeper brush and cane piles. Fish will often come up out of 20 feet or more of water to hit a topwater bait, if you throw one like this that they can hear.
There’s a strong set of hooks on this bait. Three Mustad Triple Grips (TG76) hang from this near 5-inch long lure, giving you ample coverage across the whole bait. These are short shank trebles with hook points that turn in, something I don’t typically go for on topwaters. I like round bend and/or long shank hooks often times, because these hooks have a little better chance of hooking a bass that takes a wild swipe at a bait.
This being said, the size of these hooks and the fact that there are three of them provides plenty of firepower for the bait. And the good thing about Triple Grips as opposed to round bend hooks, once you get a fish hooked on these it is far less likely to pull free or bend them out, as compared to hooking a fish on traditional round bend hooks. So, there are pros and cons to both.
OTHER THOUGHTS ON OUTLAW TOPWATER
I had a good experience testing out this topwater bait. It casted well, hooked fish well, kept them pegged and was very easy to walk-the-dog with. The bait weighs a touch over half an ounce and comes in just shy of 5 inches long. Depending on where you shop, this bait comes in up to 13 unique spins on proven color choices.
At $9.99, it’s a solid bait for the money, well built and sturdy with quality components throughout. If you’re in the market for a hard-knocking topwater to add to your arsenal for this fall, this is as good a bait as most any in that vein.
Find the Ark Outlaw Topwater Walking Bait at these online retailers: