All fishing is fun, but top-water action functions on a higher plane. Normally, I am not big on surprises. You can keep your surprise parties, pranks, and credit card statements, but I never pass up a chance at a nerve-rattling burst from the depths.
One reason top-water fishing is so popular is that the angler can witness the bite. Most of the time a line is in the water, there is some guesswork involved. Was that a bite? Was that a rock? Did that dragonfly just bump my line?
However, a visceral visual is not the only reason to top-water fish. Fish live in a mysterious, dark, underwater world. Even with exceptional water clarity, little aquatic vegetation, and various electronics, exactly what is going on down there still requires a great deal of speculation. However, with a top-water hit, for a fraction of a second, that fish risks entering our bright, well-ventilated world for floating cuisine and we KNOW what is happening.
There are many kinds of top-water lures from quiet rubber frogs to loud buzz-baits. Angler Jared Schleifer loves a Skitter Pop, but I cannot put down a Spit’n Image. For fly-fishermen, a popper is sure to get some attention. Recently, my green sunfish have hammered flashy Zazzy poppers. Many times fish whack it before it even twitches.
Fish can hit the surface any time of day but mornings and evenings are the prime times. Watch and listen for fish hitting the surface. A successful angler will be as opportunistic as the feeding fish themselves, and never pass up a chance to extend an invitation to our world.
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.