Topwater bass fishing is the bee's knees. I never really understood that phrase but I do know it means something is awesome. However, just saying something is awesome all the time gets a little mundane. So I thought I'd spice it up a bit. My point, topwater fishing is awesome… So anytime I get the chance to review a topwater fishing lure, I'm all about it. Today we'll be discussing my experiences thus far with the Team Ark Topwater Slider or TS-115 for short.
A little on the quieter side
I like throwing all sorts of topwaters; Whopper Plopper-style lures down to finesse poppers less than 3 inches long. All of them have a place in my arsenal. Walking-style topwaters like the TS-115 make up a subset of the topwater genre, but even then I don't just throw one walking-style topwater. Sometimes I like a bait with a loud knock and other times I like a walking-style topwater with a crisper, quieter rattle. Then there are a few baits I use that land between those two extremes.
The Team Ark TS-115 is an in-between bait but definitely towards the quieter end of the spectrum. The bait has fairly large beads in the tail section that help it cast far and sit well in the water, but the chambers don't have a lot of spare room by design. This restriction ensures there won't be a lot of noise echoing out, making the TS-115 a great bait for finicky days when there's little ripple on the water or even when it's dead slick calm. That's when this bait shines versus a louder, more aggressive topwater.
Good hook size considering their location
Generally when I'm throwing a topwater this size (4 1/2 inches), I like to use a little bit longer and bigger treble hooks. But I'm also usually throwing a bait in this range with only two hook hangers. Since there are 3 hooks on this bait, these are the right size hooks to provide adequate opportunity for a bass to hookup even if it just swipes at the bait.
On top of that, these stock hooks are Mustad Triple Grips which are high dollar, high-quality hooks and an impressive addition to a bait that boasts a price tag of merely $7.99. The feathered trailer hook on the tail is another nice addition at this price range, something that usually sets a $20 to $30 topwater apart from the pack.
The nose of the Topwater Slider has a nice angle to it that allows the bait to spit a little and walk the dog with ease. I do typically like to have a split ring on the front of any topwater I want to walk side to side, at least when I throw them on braided line. Sometimes, I'll still use monofilament for topwaters and will tie a loop knot in place of a split ring. The reason for both of these additions is that a bait usually walks better when it has the ability to pivot there at the nose through either a loop knot or a split ring.
But the Topwater Slider doesn't come with a split ring and though I could have easily added one for a few pennies, I chose to test this bait out as it comes straight out of the box. What I found is that this bait still walks well without the split ring. Anytime that's the case, it is better to leave the split ring out of the equation since something seemingly small and insignificant can still weigh the front end of the bait down and throw off the action. So moving forward, I might test it out with a split ring or loop knot on mono just out of curiosity, but as it fishes straight out of the box, it's an easy bait to walk so why bother?
Now this is where it gets down to catching fishermen instead of fish sometimes, but still, I think attention to detail is impressive and can certainly make a difference when it comes to finesse topwaters like this one in particular. Ark did a fine job mixing an intricate paint scheme with a detailed texture pattern that comes off the mold. Add to that the iridescent hue that reflects off the side of the bait when it hits the sun just right and you've got yourself a bait that mimics a lot of the things that make a shad standout in the water.
That's just this one paint scheme; Ark offers 18 in total in their TS-115. I've reviewed a few of the Ark hard baits now and they all seem to have a handful of things in common. There's a good bit of attention to detail, quality and durability, and the baits always come in at a very reasonable price point with most of their hard baits coming in under 8 bucks. Which is really, really impressive. So again, kudos on that.
Having reviewed a few of Ark's baits now, I'm not surprised to be singing their praises once again. I have been well pleased with the Topwater Slider and would certainly recommend it. The price point is reasonable for a far inferior bait but with the attention to detail and high-quality components Ark used to assemble the TS-115, the price tag honestly seems a little too good to be true. But true it is.