As October turns to November, Berkley pro Bobby Lane is thinking topwaters: He knows that they allow him to move quickly and capitalize on the fall feeding frenzy.
Lane’s approach is to use a variety of different topwater baits and the key is putting himself in position with the highest odds: around baitfish and in the right locations.
Lane takes all of the classic signs of fall (changing leaves, shorter days, cool mornings) into account, but looks for a significant temperature drop as his sign that the topwater bite is about to take off.
“Ten degrees seems to be the right change in temperatures, where it’s 10 degrees cooler than the high water temps in summer,” he said. “It could be a switch from 90 to 80 degrees in Florida or where it drops down to 70 degrees in Missouri or North Carolina. I want to see a bigger drop than a couple of degrees to tell me it’s time for fall topwater fishing.”
While many anglers head directly to the very back of pockets and creeks, Lane prefers to stay closer to the main lake in most instances.
“I try to stay near the main lake on secondary points or at the first turn of a creek arm,” he shared. “I’m looking for shallow areas with deep water close by. The best places are those little flats that are a foot or two deep, but your boat sits in anywhere from 5 to 30 feet of water. This time of year, the baitfish move up and down the water column and the bass are just waiting for a chance to ambush them.”
Lane is a fan of multiple kinds of topwater baits, and says that preferences will change.
“Right away, it’s hard to beat a buzzbait when the water starts to cool,” he said. “Two of my other favorites this time of year are the Berkley Choppo and Spin Rocket. There are times when you can realistically keep those baits in your hands all day long.”
Lane’s bait choices come down to trial and error: some days the action of a buzzbait or Choppo is what fish want, and other days a walking bait is a better choice.
“There are times when the Choppo gets bit all day long and others where they don’t like the action,” Lane admitted. “That’s when I’ll grab a walking bait like the J-Walker because you can keep it in the strike zone longer, and you can walk it fast or slow if you need to.”
“This is when the 10.1:1 Revo Rocket shines because you can turn and burn all day long,” he said. “I spool it with 30-pound Spiderwire Ultracast. I’m a huge fan of that line for topwater, and if you move the bait constantly, you won’t have any problems with the braid wrapping around the treble hooks.”