Anyone fish topwater with braid? Ever have issues with the bait getting wrapped up in the line as soon as it hits the water, wasting a cast to a prime spot? Ever start walking your Ima Skimmer back to the boat, only to have the bait turn TOO much and get caught on one of the treble hooks?
If so, here’s a little tip: Use a fluorocarbon leader when fishing topwater, just two feet. The more rigid fluorocarbon line will allow the bait to straighten out the line and prevent that wrapping around the treble hooks. It will also allow you to work the bait (walking, popping) without causing there bait to overturn and have those treble hooks get caught up in your line, as straight braid is known to do. A short fluorocarbon leader will also add the benefits of hiding your line from the fish, while being short enough not to sink the line.
I use USA Toray Fishing Line Bawo Superhard Premium Plus Fluorocarbon leader section on every braid application I throw, with the exception of frogs, which aren’t affected by a straight braid connection (no trebles). Braid to fluoro connections are simple using an Alberto knot, and the knot has near 100% strength. If you haven’t used an Alberto knot before, here’s a great video on BassEast.com from the guy who taught it to me, Justin Lucas. With Topwater baits, I’m using 22# Bawo Finesse Braid with a two foot section of 16# Bawo Superhard Premium Plus Fluorocarbon leader. Using smaller diameter braid when throwing topwater allows you to cast a MILE, and that short leader section minimizes any of the issues associated when mixing braided line with treble hooks.
Its important to remember with this setup, you have little to no stretch in the line, so its paramount to ensure you have a rod with a softer tip, not only to maximize the action of your bait, but to keep you from ripping hooks out of the fish’s mouth when one blows up on your bait. I use the Denali Rods Michael Murphy Jerkbait/Topwater rod for 90% of my topwater applications – the other 10% are frogs, and the Denali Rosewood Frog rod is the perfect choice – flexible tip, lots of backbone to haul bigger fish out of grass, and a short butt section, allowing me to work the bait unobstructed.
Topwater techniques have some of the most exciting strikes from all species, especially bass – hope these tips help you land more fish!