Spring Topwater Bass: Pencil Popper Tactics

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You’re likely missing out on some excellent spring bass fishing if you don’t fish topwater baits. Nick Smith of the Informative Fisherman explains the power of fishing pencil popper-style topwater lures for spring bass when faced with wind conditions, overcast skies and shallow bass.


A defining characteristic of topwater baits is that they open up strike windows so you can find fish fast. The addition of wind chop and overcast skies make it harder for bass to inspect a topwater bait making commotion overhead – this elicits a predatory response few baits can match. As a category, pencil poppers feature a long body and cupped nose that create a spitting, walk-the-dog commotion bass can hone in on and find irresistible.

Nick instructs how to adjust retrieve speed to the mood of fish. Generally speaking, he slows his retrieve when fish are suspended or holding deeper (keeps bait in strike zone longer) and speeds the cadence when bass are shallow. Smith doesn’t skimp on equipment with these magnum topwater baits, electing to use a medium-heavy rod paired with a high-speed reel and braided line. This system picks up line fast and handles the stress of the heavy bait while no-stretch braid supports ‘reel setting’ for consistent hookups.