Catch more topwater bass with this one tip

Land more topwater bass with these tips from bass pro Marc Deschenes.

Timing is everything, especially on setting the hook

The fog is lifting off the surface of the calm lake, and the sun still hasn’t peaked above the tree line. These are perfect conditions for working a topwater plug near the shore for bass. Nothing is more exciting than calling a bass up to smash a lure on the surface.

Many anglers complain that they get plenty of bites, but land far fewer fish than they do on subsurface lures. Their problem, said Marc Deschenes of VIP Adventures in Summerville, is that they can’t contain their excitement when they see, or hear, a bass hit their lure.

“It’s tough to not set the hook when you see the fish hit it, especially when they hit it really hard and make a big splash. It’s exciting, especially on a calm morning. And it’s just human nature to rear back and set the hook hard,” Deschenes said.

Wait for the weight

Anglers will drastically improve their hookup ratio if they wait until they feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook.

“You don’t want to wait until the rod bows over and you feel the entire weight of the fish. But you want to feel it pulling. When you feel that, you know he’s got it in the mouth,” he said.

And that is the time, said Deschenes, to set the hook. But even then, he said there is no reason to set it as hard as most anglers think they should.

“If you’re using a topwater plug with treble hooks, once you feel the fish, the hook is doing its job. If you rear back too hard, you’ll rip it out of the fish’s lips. Just a quick lift of the rod is usually plenty to drive the hook home,” he said.

Click here for tips on catching surface bass with weighted soft plastics.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at