By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
With spring long gone and summer far from over, many fishermen find considerable slack in their line of enthusiasm, but some bass enthusiasts insist those who aren’t hitting the water before daybreak right now don’t know what they’re missing.
“From first light until about 7:30 a.m., I believe you shouldn’t do anything but topwater,” Wesley Hawkins, with Clay’s Bait and Tackle in Tupelo, said.
Bass depend largely on sight to feed and their eyes are very sensitive to light. Bright sun and hot water push them deep during the day, but early risers who catch them cruising the shallows for their breakfast can find some of the best action of the year.
Topwater lures fall into a fair variety of categories. Some pop, some swim, some buzz and some fall somewhere in between. Like any avid fisherman, Hawkins has his preferences.
“The Heddon Super Spook and Super Spook Junior are my favorites,” he said. “Early, early, any kind of buzz bait works fine,” Hawkins added. “The Triggerfish by Think Tank Lures is the up-and-coming thing in topwater right now because it gives you the ability to steer a buzz bait.”
For grassy areas that bass like to hit early in the day, many topwater enthusiasts swear by frogs.
“There are two types of topwater frog,” Hawkins said. “There’s a soft plastic frog that you can actually fish in and through the grass, and there’s a Spook-style of frog that you fish along the grass’s edge. You just have to find what the bass are interested in and what they’re in the mood to hit.”
In cloudy water, bigger and louder can be better when it comes to the choice of lures.
“If you’re somewhere the water is very muddy, you need something that makes a lot of noise,” Hawkins said. This is where the classic big-bladed buzzbaits prove their worth, but fishing them comes with one important caveat.
“You really do need a trailer hook on a buzz bait,” Hawkins said. “With their skirts and the way they’re designed, you get a lot of short strikes.” A trailer hook swinging behind the main hook will clean up a lot of fish on strikes that would have otherwise been nothing but close calls.
For Hawkins and others bitten by the fishing bug, mornings right now are an opportunity not to be missed.
“Early in the morning, when the water is smooth and there’s no wind, if you’re not fishing topwater, you’re not doing it right,” he said.