ir’s cooling, water temps are declining; a lot of
folks are thinking “college football,” but Nick
Salvucci has other plans. The year’s final quarter has the APEX Cup pro from Paso Robles, Calif. thinking
“This is my No. 1 technique for fall,” Salvucci said. “The
reason I focus on these baits is the (likelihood of) bigger
bites. You may only get one big bite a day, but it’s usually a
Noting that his biggest fall fish was a 9 1/2-pound
Clear Lake giant that crushed a double buzzbait, Salvucci
knows he’s hardly the only guy leveraging the topwater bite.
However, he probably keeps the surface game in play a lot
longer than most.
“A lot of people just throw it in the golden hour — first
thing in the morning or the evening time — but I’ll throw
it all day,” Salvucci resolutely stated. “Sometimes, that
afternoon topwater bite will be best, especially for a frog.
Obviously, the higher the sun gets, the fish get up under
that matted vegetation.”
Salvucci’s fall topwater arsenal includes:
A Jackall Gavacho is his choice because this versatile bait walks well, but features a body design that’s contoured around the bend of its hooks. This creates a streamlined profile capable of working its way through the really gnarly stuff.
Another Gavacho feature Salvucci likes is the unique leg design, which includes a center set of skirt strands between the two side legs. This, he said, improves the bait’s walking performance, while creating a more exaggerated appearance to increase the appeal.
The 2 3/4-inch Gavacho weighs 2/3-ounce, but Salvucci often increases the weight by adding BBs or a single tungsten weight. Like a job interview, it’s all about making the right impression.
“I do this for heavy mats; when you’re in thick cheese, weighting the frog makes it sink down farther in the vegetation so the fish can see it better,” Salvucci said. “It’s not skimming the top; it’s leaving a little groove across the cheese.
“When the frog bite’s on, I’ll have four or five different frogs tied on and I’ll make one heavy; so I can see the track I’m making on the cheese mat. If you make it too heavy, as soon as you hit open water it’ll sink, so that’s strictly a mat frog.”
When he’s looking for a big bite around wood, docks or sparse cover (hyacinth, primrose), Salvucci throws the Brabec Double Buzz. This model, he said, affords him that water-churning commotion with a somewhat more finessey look.
Preferring this more compact style buzzbait for working areas with eel grass and other stringy grasses that would likely foul the double buzz, Salvucci throws a variety of models, including the Prototype Lures Guerrilla Buzz. Built with a low-profile head that allows it to rise quickly and remain in the strike zone, this bait features an oversized blade that hits the head with an enticing knock.
“When you get around that stringier grass, the single buzz will stay in the strike zone better and be more