Topwater Advice

I love to fish top water in the flats - usually use a Skitterwalk but tried out a Top Dog Jr. today. Had a lot of strikes and follows fishing at first light today in Titusville - but very few hookups - maybe one in four. Missed several big trout that exploded on the lure (literally had one jump out of the water and on top of the plug). I try my best not to set the hook before I feel the fish but it seems like I'm pulling it away from them. Is there a trick to it - any advice? I'm using a 7ft Gloomis GL2 Mod Fast action with a Stradic and 15lb braid with a three foot fluorocarbon leader making long casts - but most of the missed strikes are up close. Plus several of the ones I caught today were hooked in the top of the head and another in the side. I also tried a trick a read about - carried an extra rod with me rigged with a Zoom Super Fluke - when I raised a fish but couldn't get it to bite I pitched the soft plastic to them - got two to take - one right in front of me (like a rods length away). Any insights would be greatly appreciated!

Tight lines!
There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!

Replies

  • Split ShotSplit Shot Posts: 6,128 Admiral
    if you down size 3-6" you will see more control and better hook set with your lure. Long rods restrict your range of opportunities.

    I would like the discuss the over all advantages for using a 7.5' + rod in bay and back country / docks. Much less bottom fishing offshore.

    Happy Memorial Day! and a safe one at that!
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    Split Shot wrote: »
    if you down size 3-6" you will see more control and better hook set with your lure. Long rods restrict your range of opportunities.

    I would like the discuss the over all advantages for using a 7.5' + rod in bay and back country / docks. Much less bottom fishing offshore.


    Happy Memorial Day! and a safe one at that!

    Since I wade fish, I like the longer rods for casting distance - but I have noticed when I use my 6ft ultra light I do get more hooksets.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • tunamantunaman Posts: 3,714 Captain
    When they strike at it if they are not hooked stop the retrieve, let the lure lay there while you take up any slack. After say maybe 5-10 secs (thats longer than it sounds) wiggle the lure a bit. Many times she'll nail it!! Why? A trout strikes for differant reasons. Sometimes she just doesn't want lure in her area and slaps it with her tail or simply bumps it to get it out of her territory. In this case theres not much you can do. Other times she hits the lure to stun it just like a live mullet. Do you immediately start reeling in that live mullet? No. They can not swallow a bait fish tail first, she stuns it so she can get it heads on, head first. Now a red fish is just plain clumsy, mouth shaped more for bottomfeeding. They come at a top water more from on top of the lure, not much science to it, sometimes she gets hooked sometimes she doesn't. Hope this helps.
  • tunamantunaman Posts: 3,714 Captain
    Forgot to mention, you might try slowing down that retreive. That top- dog jr is a terrific lure. Many times i find the blue back, white belly on the end of my line. Windy noisy day the 5" may be better but if its kinda calm, quiet the big one makes too much noise and jr. Is better. Keep going for those long casts, in the next zip code, the fish have no clue you're anywhere around.
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    tunaman wrote: »
    Forgot to mention, you might try slowing down that retreive. That top- dog jr is a terrific lure. Many times i find the blue back, white belly on the end of my line. Windy noisy day the 5" may be better but if its kinda calm, quiet the big one makes too much noise and jr. Is better. Keep going for those long casts, in the next zip code, the fish have no clue you're anywhere around.

    Great advice! Thank you!! I think I'm liking the Top Dog Jr better than the Skitterwalk......but when the mullet run kicks in I switch to a Zara Super Spook in mullet or chartreuse silver.

    I used to let the plug sit after a miss when bass fishing - usually by just twitching it after a few seconds triggers a strike! I'll give that a shot. I usually just keep reeling - thought was best to not stop moving the plug - but you are right it is either a reaction strike or the fish is trying to kill it - so I need to let them have a chance to eat it or entice them by imitating a wounded fish.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • S.S.TupperwareS.S.Tupperware Posts: 1,056 Officer
    10-4
  • designated_hitterdesignated_hitter Posts: 837 Officer
    Learned this tip from a bass pro on tv. He works his topwater with his rod tip all the way up. So this way when a fish strikes it's impossible for him to set the hook right away. He has to bring the rod down and then set the hook.
  • on_the_rockson_the_rocks Posts: 7,902 Admiral
    I don't "set the hook" when I fish topwater.
    You are probably pulling the lure out of their mouth.
    Just my .2 cents.
    Good luck.
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    DuPont wrote: »
    I don't "set the hook" when I fish topwater.
    You are probably pulling the lure out of their mouth.
    Just my .2 cents.
    Good luck.

    Thank you sir - that's what I was thinking as well! I've got to learn not to try to set the hook - it is almost a reflex action.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 577 Officer
    I was fishing T'ville same day on the IRL side near Dumit Creek and using TW. Skitter is my preference but much the same as you with the striking. Well, I knew it was not all actually strikes (Insert Tunaman reply) so I just vary my speed and "walking" rate until I find them. Once I find them I throw another cast on the same line. This time I make it Walk really fast but retrieve it very slow to get them to take notice, then go to Longer "Walking" glides with a retrieve rate that maintains a straight line (which will be a little faster) so I can apply Line pressure (I don't "set", just reel faster as I pick up the rod tip) as soon as they strike. If it is a red fish, disregard all the above and SET THE HOOK. My wife and I put 50 in the boat by 0830 using Skitter, MirroDine and Gold Spoon, just to bad we were not targeting them. We ran in to some major sized Lady fish (2.5' - 3' Long) that were a load of fun and caught about a dozen Blues in the 1.5 - 2# range (big for the Flats as far as I have seen).

    I use 7'6" St Croix's and take full advantage of their superior casting distance. As long as I am connected (meaning no big assed loops or slack in my line) to my lure/bait I hook-up as well as I do with my 7'ers. I quit using leader a few years ago and I really do not think the fish even know I switched. I do use leader but not in the flats
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • on_the_rockson_the_rocks Posts: 7,902 Admiral
    No leader on the flats?
    That's a new one.
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    tunaman wrote: »
    When they strike at it if they are not hooked stop the retrieve, let the lure lay there while you take up any slack. After say maybe 5-10 secs (thats longer than it sounds) wiggle the lure a bit. Many times she'll nail it!! Why? A trout strikes for differant reasons. Sometimes she just doesn't want lure in her area and slaps it with her tail or simply bumps it to get it out of her territory. In this case theres not much you can do. Other times she hits the lure to stun it just like a live mullet. Do you immediately start reeling in that live mullet? No. They can not swallow a bait fish tail first, she stuns it so she can get it heads on, head first. Now a red fish is just plain clumsy, mouth shaped more for bottomfeeding. They come at a top water more from on top of the lure, not much science to it, sometimes she gets hooked sometimes she doesn't. Hope this helps.

    Tried this out today! Had another big trout pounce on top of the plug..........a let it sit in the swirl........twitched it once......and she nailed it! I also tried not to set the hook and my hookup ratio greatly improved. Thanks all for the tips and advice!
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 577 Officer
    DuPont wrote: »
    No leader on the flats?
    That's a new one.

    I know, aint it kewl..:) If I am holding the Rod and working lure/bait I do not use leader ( I used to religiously) but if I am soaking bait or using Live Bait my leaders are minimum 25# Flourocarbon.

    Finely crafted marketing and advertisement is what put leaders on the "Flats" in the first place...I caught fish in the 70's, 80's and 90's without the use of leaders and the fish are still the same today. Back in those days I even used swivels and snaps in all kinds of configurations and still caught lots of fish. It is really nothing new.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
  • on_the_rockson_the_rocks Posts: 7,902 Admiral
    *new to me.
  • dwyermwdwyermw Posts: 333 Deckhand
    Two ideas - first has been mentioned, do a soft twitch after the miss. But after that reel in and have a soft plastic ready to throw right back in. I can not count the number of fish taken on the soft plastic. Also, and this is a big secret - if there is no trash in the water, I often tie a small clouser fly to the back hook, 4" inch of leader to the fly.
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  • tunamantunaman Posts: 3,714 Captain
    DuPont wrote: »
    No leader on the flats?
    That's a new one.
    Been going on for yrs up this way, and 8lb mono. Personally i use 15-20 lb. leader only because of a trouts teeth but many (my brother is one) use no leader.
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    tunaman wrote: »
    Been going on for yrs up this way, and 8lb mono. Personally i use 15-20 lb. leader only because of a trouts teeth but many (my brother is one) use no leader.

    I don't know - I like a long - 3 to 4 foot 15lb fluorocarbon leader - tied to the braid with a uni to uni because the water where I fish is often very shallow and gin clear and the braid has a tendency to sit on top of the water and actually vibrate/leave a wake when walking the dog while the fluorocarbon usually stays just under the surface which I believe the big fish learn to look for.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • tunamantunaman Posts: 3,714 Captain
    gettinwet wrote: »
    I don't know - I like a long - 3 to 4 foot 15lb fluorocarbon leader - tied to the braid with a uni to uni because the water where I fish is often very shallow and gin clear and the braid has a tendency to sit on top of the water and actually vibrate/leave a wake when walking the dog while the fluorocarbon usually stays just under the surface which I believe the big fish learn to look for.
    Good point on the floating of the braid and if i used braid today i would use a long leader too. I still can't understand though using all of this stealth then throwing braid, but thats just me. I've fished many hours with brother and/or wife, live bait sitting still and know for a fact the hit ratio on mono is better than braid. I know a trout or red has about a 20 min. Memory so how can he forget that wake from the braid in the short time it takes for 4' of leader to pass? Maybe i'm wrong.
  • tunamantunaman Posts: 3,714 Captain
    dwyermw wrote: »
    Two ideas - first has been mentioned, do a soft twitch after the miss. But after that reel in and have a soft plastic ready to throw right back in. I can not count the number of fish taken on the soft plastic. Also, and this is a big secret - if there is no trash in the water, I often tie a small clouser fly to the back hook, 4" inch of leader to the fly.
    I like this idea! Gonna try it, thanks!
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 18,720 AG
    I like that people don't use leaders...

    I get all my hard baits for free.... :wink
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    tunaman wrote: »
    Good point on the floating of the braid and if i used braid today i would use a long leader too. I still can't understand though using all of this stealth then throwing braid, but thats just me. I've fished many hours with brother and/or wife, live bait sitting still and know for a fact the hit ratio on mono is better than braid. I know a trout or red has about a 20 min. Memory so how can he forget that wake from the braid in the short time it takes for 4' of leader to pass? Maybe i'm wrong.

    No I agree but I think it is a trade off - for the long cast braid allows you miss the fish that you pull the line straight overhead - but I like to believe you bring in fish from the sides attracted by the sound of the plug over that long distance. Nobody doubts that fly fishing is one of the most stealthy presentations but also uses thick floating or sinking lines with a long leader plus the casting distance is much shorter than a spinning outfit with braid.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • tunamantunaman Posts: 3,714 Captain
    gettinwet wrote: »
    No I agree but I think it is a trade off - for the long cast braid allows you miss the fish that you pull the line straight overhead - but I like to believe you bring in fish from the sides attracted by the sound of the plug over that long distance. Nobody doubts that fly fishing is one of the most stealthy presentations but also uses thick floating or sinking lines with a long leader plus the casting distance is much shorter than a spinning outfit with braid.
    Guarantee i can cast 8 lb mono farther than an braid, thats the biggest reason i use it, but to each his own.
  • RealSeabeeRealSeabee Posts: 577 Officer
    tunaman wrote: »
    Guarantee i can cast 8 lb mono farther than an braid, thats the biggest reason i use it, but to each his own.

    I have a 7'6" Rod hooked up to a 2500 series Spinning outfit fully loaded w/ 20# Braid that I can darn near cast a "full spool" on with a Skitter Walk, 1/2oz Johnson, MirroLure/Dine and Xwrap. I don't do it because sure as I did a 50"+ Red fish would annihilate it and run off the last 20' of line. Having an outfit that has this capability really shows itself when fishing in the wind, as we do so often around here. When casting is "short" for everyone it is still the longest I have.

    Agree on the Braid floating but after a few casts it acts right for me.

    The last three RedHead w/ White body hard baits that I have acquired were hooked up to Trout that I caught, 1 had Mono and 2 had Braid tied.
    When Practice meets opportunity, Set-The-Hook!
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