Truth be told, I’m mad at myself for believing this myth for upwards of 20 years. That’s two decades of my life that I have been missing out on some of the best topwater fishing imaginable. Maybe it’s just me but as I was growing up, I was taught that lowlight conditions were absolutely necessary for a good springtime topwater bite. If it wasn’t cloudy or within an hour of the sun rising or setting, I wouldn’t even consider it.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was pitching and flipping a grass bed about five years ago. It was around early April and my wife was in the boat with me. I couldn’t get bit and felt like a total moron, to be honest. I figured anyone should be able to catch bass when they’re littered all over the bank that time of year. Right after I made a pitch with a Texas-rigged lizard, a staple for spring bass fishing, I noticed a fish just barely break the surface on the inside grass line. Heck, it could have been a bluegill for all I know, but my gut told me it was a bass.
Out of options and clearly frustrated, I figured I’d rig up a soft-plastic toad since I didn’t really have anything to lose. It was hotter than blue blazes and I bet there wasn’t a single cloud within 100 miles of my wife and me. With braided line in my mouth as I finished my Palomar knot, I told her, “I’m a dang fool. This ain’t gonna work.”
Again, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My first cast caught the fish I saw busting. She wasn’t a biggun and heck, it actually could have been a chunky buck bass. But I remember swinging that bass in the boat and looking at my wife with a huge grin on my face. I told her, “Honey… they’re in trouble if they get to eating this toad today.”
To make a long story short, I caught the mess out of ’em that afternoon. In just a few hours, my best-five bass went 26 pounds according to my Rapala scale. That day changed my entire view of topwater bass fishing in the spring. Since then, almost all of my best topwater days have happened on sunny spring days. Why couldn’t I have picked up on that 20 years ago?
I personally believe that the sunny weather positions these bass into more predictable areas. In lowlight conditions, bass tend to roam a lot more when searching for forage. Sure, they might bite better when it’s cloudy, but I don’t enjoy randomly casting down large stretches of bank. I like to cast where a bass should be, if that makes sense. In my mind, it just makes more since to fish in that manner. So while the bite may be a little slower on a sunny, spring day, I can guess where a bass might be sitting. Grass points, grass irregularities, dark spots and small current breaks tend to position these springtime bass and make them easier to pinpoint.
These bass aren’t always going to be biting because they’re hungry. They could be sitting on a bed or scouting out a new location for a bed. So if you make a cast to a good-looking spot and don’t get a bite, I’d strongly suggest making three or four more subsequent casts to the same spot in an attempt to elicit an aggressive reaction strike.