The bass spawn invigorates anglers across the country, and while many will be pitching soft plastics to bedding fish or casting search baits in staging areas, many overlook topwater baits. 

At some point during the spawn, both female and male bass will be protecting their eggs and fry on the bedding grounds. Intruders causing havoc near the surface can quickly spark aggressive behavior that can result in a topwater explosion.

Guide Joel Munday keeps his options open during the spawn, keeping a couple of surface baits tied on rods on the deck of his boat. 

“We are trying to get bass to react this time of year. It’s less of a feeding behavior and more of a reaction bite,” Munday said. “I will position the boat well off the beds and make long casts into the beds with poppers or buzzbaits to get them to react without thinking about it.”

While buzzbaits and topwater poppers are good choices, they can be impossible to fish in some areas where bass bed: those where vegetation blankets the surface and there’s little open water around. In those situations, weedless soft-plastic lures that slide effortlessly across the top — frogs and rats are good examples — are must-have options. But baits resembling baitfish can also work, especially swimbaits fished weightless and weedless.

D.O.A.’s PT-7 is a weedless topwater lure shaped like a short cigar — embedded with rattles — that can be walked across the surface, including vegetation.

Top water options are proven to rise a fish to the surface during the summer, especially when frogs and snakes are dabbling in these shallow havens. But don’t avoid topwater options in and around spawning areas.