Thinking Top Water - Part I

Discussion in 'Freshwater' started by Linebig, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Linebig

    SDFish VIP

    Feb 3, 2009
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    With Top water here I felt this might be something I could share. This is my process and what goes theough my mind when thinking top water.

    Fishing open water breakers

    It seems so many anglers feel those fish breaking out over open deep water are a mystical entity that are only there to show you how many fish you will never catch.

    We have all heard it. "those fish never bite" "those are small fish" and "why waste your time on those fish?

    I can tell you first hand those fish can be caught and they can make one of the best fishing days you ever had.

    In the end my hope is this article will help you understand open water fish and how to get bit out there.

    The first thing is attitude.

    You must have a great attitude when going after open water breaking fish. It is a mental game and if you are easily discouraged then it is a serious reason you might be struggling. Seeing them all around and not being able to get a single sniff at your can kill your attitude. Knowing they are there somewhere seeing them breaking and not being able to get them... It can kill you.

    Its Positive in and Positive out

    Some days I have to make 100 or more casts to get a limit or just to learn what to do the next time out and that is positive information. You are learning every time out. The trick is to process that information and make it something usable so you don't go into it blind the next time. However the day of 100 casts can also be a fish darn near every cast and man is that fun. Thats what keeps me going back after them.

    Going at them with 3 to 4 cast and the "thats it I'm out of here" attitude is a big mistake. Or if you are thinking....yeah, we got nothing here, they want nothing we have, lets bail.

    Those fish deserve some of your time and it takes some effort to understand what they are doing. It takes time to understand the little nuances. Many things are happening out there to pay attention to besides the fish.

    The thinking process thats needed.

    What I have found that helps me besides the normal things we should all be thinking about like the bait size the fish are going after and lure color and type of bait you should toss is this.

    Are they staying up after busting?

    Are they suspending just under after blowing up on bait.

    Are they just cruising and you have to look hard to see them? I call that puddling.

    Are they up and back down?

    Thats important information so you know what type of bait or baits you should be tossing.

    If they are staying up, thats a great thing. You have a better shot at figuring out what they want. You can afford a few lure changes to see whats going on.

    If the fish are coming up and then heading right back down again, thats a tough day just tossing a top water lure as they are long gone by the time you get a cast on them. Sub surface and deeper water baits are a good choice then. It allows you to cover more of the water column and possibly find out where their strike zone is beside quick bursts and gone from the surface. Yes, they are breaking on the surface however most likely biting down below.

    If you see them breaking and you don't see fish on your graph like you do when they come up and go right back down, then they are not going back down after breaking. They are suspending just under the surface and chasing bait. That means they could be anywhere around you..Thats the time not to wait for boils. Make blind casts and work your baits back as the school of fish could be right where you are without you knowing. Dont be afraid to make a few casts, casting a lure is free. No money spent.

    How many times has this happened to you?

    I have been on the water where everything is happening, fish busting everywhere and we cant get a fish to go and then it happens and they hit for an hour or more like gang busters, So why is that? They got hungry all of a sudden? They woke up? Well, lets think about that. They were already hungry and awake as they were breaking for an hour before we were able to grab a limit. So then what is it?

    To me I found it to be the sun angle. It may be simplistic, yet it has proven to me over the years to be accurate.

    I have found that the sun angle goes hand in hand with top water fishing and bite ratio especially in clear water to Gin Clear water lakes. These last 5 seasons have proven that to me ten fold. It got to the point where I knew where I needed to be at a curtain time of the day for the fish to cooperate at our lakes in San Diego. I burned a lot of gas getting to those areas of the lake I also landed many topwater fish in the process. Many times it was only for an hour or less and back to the other location doing something else. Those subtle yet real changes matter. It can be the difference in getting a limit of fish or getting 20 fish. And you will see the quality go up as well. At another lake it might be 8:00 am and 1:00pm depending on whats happening at that lake.

    The sun hits the water somewhat the same at various times. At 10:00am and 3:00pm were the magic times for me. Not too over head and not too low and those times made the bait look different. I have to think they did not get as good a look as they did at noon. The sun did not hurt the eyes of the fish at 10:00 or 3:00. We got fish first thing in the morning and at noon, just not like the other two times. The 10:00 to 11:00 hour was remarkable. The 3:00 o'clock hour went until 5:00pm and still a bit longer on some days as the sun went down. It was some of the best fishing I have ever encountered over the past three to five years. Think about El Cap lake in San Diego..once the sun comes over the mountain its over most of the time for top water...we all know that. It is the sun angle or sun in general. The sun goes back over the mountain or it clouds up and bam, it starts all over again many times.

    For the guys who try and hit it at noon when you see those fish still breaking after fishing your other favorite techniques and they don't hit right away, well? That keeps many thinking they don't hit out there and it reaffirms to them that ideal of they just dont hit when they are jumping. And we go back to the dock asking if it was good for anyone and many people said they had the best day ever! And we had 4 fish. I have been there more times than I care to mention. I was the guy with 3-4 fish when others said they had 15-20 of them... Dang.

    That is important information in the above paragraphs and not to be over looked. Effort and attitude.

    Take a look at Part II for more information.

    #1 Linebig, Jul 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  2. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach ..RIP my friends
    SDFish VIP

    Mar 16, 2016
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    The County
    One too many
    Damn, dude.. good on you for this.. respect.. Kellen .. a sticky or article in the works?
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