Topwater Explosions

Large  Mouth Bass

Fishing topwater

The only thing I don’t like about topwater fishing is that it doesn’t always work. If it did, I would never fish any other way. Topwater lures are the most exciting method to take bass or pike. When you’ve casted six or seven times with no success and you just start to let your guard down WHAM. A bass comes out of the water with an explosion and rips into your lure from the top side. If you’ve never tried it, you are missing out. When I was sixteen I bought my first Rapala Skitter Pop. I didn’t have a clue on how to fish it, but when I finally got my first strike, I fell in love. I can’t remember ever being that surprised while fishing.

There are many topwater lures out there and every version is fished differently. I typically use some version of a plug. When fishing with this, cast out and let it set. I like to wait for the ripples to disappear completely. Then give it a short jerk or two and let it set. When it’s sitting still, make sure there isn’t too much slack in the line because this is when the bass erupts out of the water. Keep this action up until it reaches you and then do it all over again.

With a buzz bait I like to keep it a pretty even retrieve. The propellers will make the splashes to draw attention from the fish. Just mix it up a little and give it a few pauses.

Topwater lures are best used in the spring time during spawning periods, but I use them all year. Shallow, calm water is definitely best. Whenever you see bass actively feeding on top of the water, tie one on. I like to fish these around docks and islands early morning or late evening when the water has calmed down. Sometimes you can draw a bass up in deep water, but it has to be pretty calm and nice clear water.

So next time you see a bass surface to eat a fly on the surface tie on a top water lure and let the fun begin. You won’t regret it.

If you have any tips or experiences with a top water lure feel free to leave a comment.

Fishing a new lake with authority

bass fishing tips



I love going to a new lake that I’ve never fished, but that wasn’t always the case. New lakes are tough to figure out, especially if you know nothing about it. I used to hear about a lake or drive by one and the next day I was trying out the fishing. Over the years I’ve fished many lakes or rivers with this approach and had mediocre to poor results. Sometimes I’d return a couple times, but always with limited success. Was I a bad fisherman? Maybe and I still may be one, but now I’m more informed and enjoy it more.

They say 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fisherman. To get into that tight lipped club, you first need to realize that 90% of the fish are found in 10% of the water. This first started to sink in for me when I began ice fishing new lakes. Unless you go drill a hole on top of someone else, which I hate, how do you pick a successful spot? The same key points factor in, no matter what the season.

First, study the fish you want to target. A lot of different fish will be in the same area, but I’ve found that if you are focusing on one type of fish the others are just a bonus. Study feeding patterns, preferred diet, structure, and water temps. From there we move to my favorite part. Study a lake contour map if it’s available. This is where all the other studying comes into play. Look for the structure you want (steep drop-offs, rocky or weedy bottoms, sunken islands, etc.). Think about what time you will be fishing and what the weather will be like. This will help with water depths for temperature and  feeding patterns. I prefer to pick several specific spots I find interesting and pinpoint them with a gps while on the water. From there you can pick something that is different than the rest of the area (a small point in a weed bed or a large rock in sand). With that step you just eliminated a lot of water and saved a lot of gas. Next pick a lure or bait presentation that you are comfortable using and that matches lake conditions. You need to be comfortable and know you can catch fish with that lure. If I use a new lure or bait presentation and don’t catch anything, how do I know it was a good spot? Think about fishing conditions. Is it murky or clear water, sunny or cloudy day? Not all lures and baits work the same on all lakes. Now just go fish and have fun.

All of this preparation makes a catch more rewarding and will put more fish on the line. If you have any more suggestions on new lakes leave me a comment.

Finding a charter boat captain

best fishing charters

Lakes For Fishing

A man hiring a charter is a lot like his wife going to the spa. He is anxious to go for weeks and rarely comes back in a bad mood. I enjoy every part of fishing, from finding my own spots to using my own tackle, but as my wife says “it’s just nice to be pampered once in a while”. Now, you won’t get quite the same pampering on a charter boat (I’ve yet to meet a captain that’s gonna give you a massage), but it’s better attention in my eyes. To not drive the boat while fishing, not search the sonar constantly, not check gps point after point. Just sit back and watch your rod and when that moment comes reel in the fish.

It’s not a sure fire way to catch fish, but nothing is. I’ve had friends  that wanted to hire a charter, but don’t want to pay for something and then get skunked. That happens. The main thing you have to remember is when fishing nothing is definite. Your captain will try his or her best to catch you fish because they want you to be happy and they know, no matter how fun it was, you will always remember not catching a fish.

Here are some good starting points to finding a charter service.

First it depends on what type of fish you want to target. From salmon to walleye or smallmouth bass, every charter offers something different. If you aren’t sure, check out youtube or other sites to watch videos that will help you decide.

Next is area. Different lakes and sections of lakes are more popular than others. Lake Erie for walleye, Grand Traverse Bay for smallmouth or Manistee for salmon.

Now that it’s narrowed down, check listings on the web and in local phone books. has a listing area for guides and another good spot would be the Michigan Charter Boats Association. Check out any information you can get on them. Check local bait shops for who they recommend or ask about a certain captain. Some bait shops even offer charter services or work with specific ones. I like asking in a fishing forum for suggestions. Referrals are the best source, so be sure to refer your captain to friends after a successful trip.

This is a start on finding a captain. If you have any other suggestions feel free to leave a comment.