f o r t o pw
HO A W EARLY IS TOO EA
solid topwater bite is the ultimate bass fishing
experience, capable of producing monster fish
with maximum excitement, but it’s also the most fragile of patterns. It’s slow to develop and quick to go away, and because it is so thrilling we tend to rush it early in the year, before it’s truly viable.
So when can you break out the surface lures?
TEMPERATURE TRENDS ARE THE KEY
The most important thing to realize about when to start throwing topwater is that there’s no magic
“I caution my guide customers not to get too fixated on a particular number,” said Elite Series rookie Darold Gleason. “In Oklahoma, you can catch them in 51 degree water. Those dumb bass live shallow all the time, but every lake has its own personality.”
FLW pro Clark Reehm, who like Gleason fishes extensively on the lakes of Louisiana and East Texas, agreed. He said that the key element is not a particular temperature, but rather temperature trends.
“At Rayburn in January, it might be 45 or it might be 60, but you’re still going to throw a red Rat-L-Trap,” he explained. “I explain to my guide clients that there are three versions of 55 degrees. If it’s constant at that temperature,
temperature at which the switch goes on, and it varies from that’s the absolute best thing. The fish will be in the
lake to lake.
same spots, eating the same things. It’s a whole different
Darold Gleason Photo: Overstreet / B.A.S.S.