Monday, September 10, 2012

Top Water Baits Part 1: Walking the Dog

Top water fishing is a way of life, I don't think I have ever come a across an angler anywhere that will argue with you about the high you get when while fishing top water, "the most exciting play in sports" as the ESPN sportscasters say.  When It comes to top water fishing  there are many different styles of bait you can look into, including: Frogs, BuzzBaits, Skitterpops, wake baits, Poppers, and of course Walking baits. Overtime we will touch on great baits in each of these categories, but for today we will be focusing on one of my personally favourite methods.. Walking Baits

Back in the day walking baits use to give anglers fits, there is a very specific rhythm you would need to get into to allow the bait to walk properly for any length of time. But as baits progressed and advanced, it became easier and easier to walk the dog, and catch fish. It you are someone who currently struggles with this, check out these three baits, the pretty much walk themselves

1) Live Target Walking Frog

The LT walking frog hit the market nearly two years ago, and has been a top producing bait in my arsenal ever since. It has a near flawless design that allows it to be walked perfectly by experienced anglers and novices alike. Even better then the walking action on this bait is it's "sit" when paused. The tail end of the frog sits nice and low in the water and lets that tail hook hand down to make sure even fish just swiping at it get a piece of that nasty treble.

Although available in two sizes and multiple colours, I prefer to work with the smaller version as I believe it gives off the perfect profile from below and can be walked a bit more erratic when needed. As for color choices, I like the natural green as well as the higher vis yellow but the bellies of all these frogs are white, so other then a small portion of the of side of the frog that will be visible when it sways, color should be not a driving factor in y our purchase decision.

There is nothing I can actually complain about when it comes to the Live  Target Walking frog, it has all the keys I believe a walking bait needs to make you successful, it walks, it sits, it rattles. Dont touch it, dont change it, just fish it

2) IMA Skimmer

This is a new bait for me this season. I was looking to add some variation to my walking bait arsenal and I liked the long slender profile that reminded me of my old Zara Spooks from Heddon.

The Skimmer is a violent walking bait that you can nearly make do circles right on the spot, and like the Live Target walker it sits extremely well in the water.. ass down with the crazy sharp hooks dangling down as the perfect target for any fish paying attention. Fitted with loud internal rattles this bait calls fish in better then the Live Target walking frog (which also has a rattle system)

Of the Walking baits I use, the Skimmer casts further and more accurately then the rest. It has a very long slender body and is weighted perfectly. It hits the water like an Olympic diver, and pops back up ready for the retrieve. In some situations the bait fish profile will out fish the wider frog profile, I think there is room in your arsenal for both the thicker LT Walking frog and a Skimmer

The movement on this bait is what really makes the biggest difference, the first two times I broke it out this season the guys I was fishing with actually stopped to watch it move, and then asked "what are you using". If a bait can catch an anglers attention like that, then you know it is doing something different then the rest

3) Heddon Zara Spook

Im going to wrap this up with a classic walking bait. The Zara Spook was the bait that introduced my to "walking the dog" and to this day I have a "retired spook" hanging on my wall. That bait caught so many fish that eventually the belly treble hook was pulled right off, forcing the bait into retirement. (ahh the memories)

The Spook is a great bait, but does slightly suffer from falling behind the times. It does not have a lot of the bells and whistles some of the newer baits on the market are equipped with. It has a lightweight metal frame that casts well, but not as well as the above baits. It does not have a rattle system and thus relies solely on its movement in the water to call fish in. This is ok for nice calm mornings on the water, but in wind or raining conditions, a rattle is a must .

I love the spook and still carry both the full size and Jr with me at all times. It takes a bit longer to learn to walk a spook then it will with the newer baits that pretty much walk when you breath on them, but all in all it is a quality bait that will put fish in your live well

Please note that the above discussion surrounds the "classic" spook. Heddon does make spooks with rattles as well as a swayback spook that walks easier.

Honorable Mention

Ok, this may sound odd, but Im going to give an honourable mention to a bait I have never used. When tournament fishing my partner and I have a 1-2 punch we like to start the day off on, He throws top water and I throw a spinnerbait. This year he transitioned over from the Live Target walking from to using the Strike King Sexy Dawg. Built very similar to a Heddon Zara Spook it has a very large profile thinning to the tail end, thus improving it's walking ability. The Sexy Dawg is also equipped with the loudest rattle I have ever heard in a walking bait. It casts well and I can attest that it catches fish.

No comments:

Post a Comment