Shawn M

Are topwater baits the best to start with?

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Hi guys,

I'm sure this has been discussed in the past, but a quick search didn't give me much.

I've been wanting to try my hand on some crankbaits, but have been hesitant.

I'm thinking at trying some topwater baits, cigar shaped and popper. I have some basswood blocks and was wondering if this is a good wood to start with? If I try a 4" cigar shaped bait, what is a good size propeller to use? With a popper style bait, do you need to add weight to the back end?

This has been a pretty bitter winter and I've put together enough SBs to last a couple years so I was hoping to see what I could do with some hardbaits.

Thanks!

Shawn

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Shawn.

I would think top waters would be a good way to start. A 4" cigar shaped bait like a Zara Spook might be the way to go. The spook is a great walk-the-dog top water bait that can really stir bass up at times. Also, the spook doesn't have a prop, if that is a problem in Korea.

Poppers, I don't think they normally require any lead in the rear end... I would see what your testing reveals. Either a spook or popper could stand to have a bucktail or a few hackle feathers tied to the rear treble hook

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My first (and only serious) attempt at a hard bait was a spook-like topwater about 20 years ago. To get a good "walk the dog" action, you will need some ballast in the rear. Otherwise, the lure just floats like a Snickers bar on the surface. Then again, for a prop-bait type thing, like a torpedo, that works just fine.

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Topwater baits are probably the easiest of all hardbaits to start with. They are also the most fun because you see the hit. The problem is that some folks get stuck on them and are reluctant to try anything else.

Once you get used to torpedos and spook type baits then you can go on to stickbaits which run just under the surface. After that the next step is crankbaits.

By doing it this way you will learn to fish all the depths of water and you will be able to catch fish no matter where they are.

www.novalures.com

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Thanks for the replies guys, sorry I did not respond sooner but work has been keeping me busy as all get out.

I figured a topwater spook style bait would be a good starting point, hopefully without getting too frustrated. If I can get a few to work right then I'll try poppers. I would like to eventually try my hand at an Ike style lure (used to love those things back in the day, hard to find now).

The reason I want to add the propellers to the spook style is for a trip to Thailand for Snakehead. I had a ton of strikes last year on buzzbaits, but not a high percentage of hook-ups (still catching 10+ a day, but it's easy to be greedy). I figured a couple treble hooks would increase my chances while putting up enough commotion to get their attention. Should also help hooking the jungle perch (smaller mouths).

Should I go with a propeller on front, rear, or both??

Thanks again for the responses...I'm sure I will have some more questions once I start putting some together!

Shawn

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Snakeheads: Buzzbaits, did you have a stinger hook on you set-up? Might help raise your hook-up % . Just a thought.

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Shawn

I agree....topwaters are probably the easiest to start with but as Nova said do'nt get too dependent on them or you wont want to try making anything else. As for ballast...you do need some near or in the rear in order to make it walk properly. As for props.....with a walking bait like a spook I would veer away from a front mounted prop and just keep it in the rear. I would be concerned about the line becoming entangled with the front prop.

You may want to lean towards a hardwood of some kind ( I do'nt know whats avail. in Korea) because I hear those Snakeheads are pretty mean critters. Maybe even go with some heavy duty S/S swivels and possibly some H/D maybe even salt water hooks..

Good Luck and have fun :yay:

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I'll definitly be bringing some trailer hooks along this year. I love throwing buzzbaits and had some tremendous strikes using them for Snakehead.

I'm just looking for another bait to throw and love to catch them on something I put together.

Shawn

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Try making a Lunker Punker type gliding topwater. They are roughly spook shaped, but the weight is mid and rear, so the bait sits horizontal in the water with only the first third of the lure out of the water at rest. The weight farther back makes the bait glide side to side after each pull. Depending on how hard or fast you work it, it can walk the dog, or glide side to side two feet.

Great big fish action. And they're easy to make.

Or look up the Wood Chopper online, and see if it's something you could imitate. It's a great, loud top water.

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Thanks for the info Hoodaddy...I have some basswood blocks, but may just order some basswood cigar shaped plugs (may not want to start out carving my own). I'm hoping that should be stout enough.

I'm assuming I can drill a hole maybe 1/2 inch from the tail end and pour some lead in. How much weight would need to be added? I'm guessing that for a 4" lure maybe 1/16oz or so?

I didn't think about the line fouling on a front propeller.

Thanks again!

Shawn

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Mark...I looked at the wood chopper on BPS, neat looking bait. I had to google the Lunker Punker, the shape is a probably a bit beyond what I think I could do right now.

Tons of options...hopefully I can finger out something that will work.

Shawn

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Shawn,

I think you can achieve the glider action with the spook/wood chopper shape by where you place the weight. The flatter sides (relatively) of the Punker may affect the action a little, but the weighting is more important to the action than the detailed shape, so you should be able to make both types of baits from the same shaped body. You may find you want to put a slightly beveled underside to the head, like a spook, but otherwise the cylindrical body should work.

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Prop baits - They're easy in concept but the props can be a little fussy to install. You won't need much ballast on a basswood prop bait since the wood is fairly heavy and the hooks act as ballast. Basswood is plenty durable. I say go crazy and put props on both ends for more commotion. Ideally, finish the bait to the point where the hook hangers are installed and the wood has been waterproofed, then install some hooks and do a float test to determine if/where ballast is needed. When you order props, also order some stainless steel wire shafts with the pre-formed loop at one end for the prop shafts. I use .040" wire and size 5 props. Use spinnerbait metal beads as bearings for the props. A refinement is to mount the props on buzzbait rivets so they'll stay straight and spin a little more freely. Maybe you can find some slick asian props locally, the ones that are made with a ball bearing as used on some Japanese baits. Throw on a couple of #4 trebles and you're set. I ordered my parts from: http://www.upnorthoutdoors.com/stamina/tips.html

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Thanks for the info Bob. You gave me some additional ideas!

I'm mostly a wire bait guy, but am chomping at the bit to try out some hardbaits.

Thanks again for everyone's advice!!

Shawn

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I don't think symetry is that important in a top water. I free hand their shape, even though I have a lathe.

If I were making diving cranks, symetry would be critical, but part of the reason I can make topwaters and triple trout knockoffs is that the shape isn't that critical.

If I were making a popper with a concave face, I'd probably use some kind of a stationary belt sander to hollow out the face, or I'd regrind the end of a paddle bit to the shape I want, and use a drill press. I'd use dowel stock to start, holow the face before I shaped so I could clamp it while I drilled out the face, and then have at it with a stationary belt sander, sanding block, or just a block plane and sand paper.

It ain't rocket science.

Good luck.

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There is a local guy here that told me the hardwood dowel rods you get from any hardware store,or Lowes works great for spook type baits.Haven't tried it yet myself but I intend on doing so.This way you already have the size you want and all you have to do is the ends and hardware.Oh yeah and paint.I think for the old style poppers there is acertain type bit you use(can't remember the name)but for the newer style like splash-its or pop-r's I don't know of an easy way.I have done one(not finished yet)and I did it by hand.

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Shawn - where do you got to fish in Thailand, I have been there twice and never thought of doing any fishing - Maybe next time i could have a go. pete

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Pete,

Within 45 minutes of Bankok you can fish for mekong and striped catfish and barraumundi. I usually take a 5 hour ride towards the burmese border to fish for snakehead and jungle perch too. I'm planning a trip now for mid-May. It is the off season so hotels are a bit cheaper. I use a guide service, great folks.

Not sure if it is appropriate to give out the name of the guide service here, so PM me if you would like to know who I use.

Tremendous fishing, huge fish. By far the best fishing trips I've had have been in Thailand.

Shawn

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A lathe is nice but there are alternatives. I've mounted bodies on a bolt and chucked them into a drill clamped in a vise. Goofy but it works. I sand rod handle cork the same way. You don't have to have a cylinder body for a good prop bait, in fact some of the best I've seen are shaped like minnows or sunfish.

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