Many anglers think of pitching plastics to bass on beds when they think of springtime fishing. Sure, that’ll work when the bass are on the beds, but spring also means topwaters to MLF veteran and Mercury pro Chris Lane.
“This time of the year is just great for throwing topwater lures,” Lane asserts. “Bass are in some stage of spawn and are often aggressively feeding. Topwater lures can help you hook into some of the biggest bass of the year. Plus, they’re so fun to use, the strikes are violent and exciting.”
The Alabama-based Mercury pro has three favorites to cover a variety of fishing conditions.
If the areas you’re targeting have little wind, Lane has a preferred topwater to start your attack, regardless of the stage of spawn the bass are in.
“If it’s not really windy, I like to use a River2Sea Lane Changer,” Lane says. “It’s a prop bait. I like to fish it slowly. It can really get them eating. It doesn’t matter if it’s prespawn, spawn, or postspawn, they’ll hit it. Just fish it slow, it can work all day.”
Lane fishes his namesake bait with 17-pound Bass Pro Shops XPS monofilament because it floats, and because the bait is being worked slowly, he feels it will get more hits than braid. The best areas to fish are the shallows in and around spawning areas.
Windy conditions often drive anglers away from using a topwater, but Lane suggests having a walking bait ready when it gets breezy.
“When I’m fishing windier areas in the spring with a topwater, I go with a Spook-type or walking bait,” Lane says. “I know that further down south there are bass in postspawn, but there are also some prespawn fish. There are also some shad spawns happening on points or grass lines. Add a little wind to that cover, and that’s when the walking bait shines.”
With a walking bait, Lane prefers 50-pound Bass Pro Shops XPS braid.
“My walking bait of choice is a Duckett BD 110 Super Sound or a BD 120,” Lane says. “They’re the right size and make the right sound. I don’t have to work it very hard. With braid, it makes a ‘koosh koosh koosh’ sound and they eat it all day long in choppier water.”
Ideal covers for the walking bait are rocks, pea gravel, elongated points, grass lines or riprap.
Lane’s final topwater is one that he’ll use when he’s fishing cover that other topwaters can’t perform in.
“My other topwater bait is a Bass Pro Shops Swimming Frog,” Lane says. “I fish it on 50-pound braid, too. When I see thick vegetation or cover that the other topwaters can’t be fished in, that’s where the swimming frog is best. I can put it where others can’t go. Bass will hit the frog throughout the day.”
Efficiency and effectiveness are the primary reasons Lane likes topwaters in the spring. Plus, they’re big bass catchers.
“All of these baits catch big fish, number one,” Lane says. “Also, this time of the year, you usually find a bunch of fish. Dealing with fish spawning, covering water pretty quickly once you find them, and the ability to attract big bass are all reasons to use topwaters.”