March 2022

Using Topwater Baits During the Spawn

Mark Zona explains how effective a topwater bait like the Popping Perch or Pad Perch can be during the spawn to target bedding fish from a respectful distance.


One of our favorite times to bass fish is when the fish begin to spawn. Most anglers get locked into throwing the stereotypical small, and compact baits when sight fishing. However, Mark Zona makes his case as to why you should try something different by throwing topwater baits at bedding bass this year.

Mark explains that a great advantage of this technique is that it allows you to stay off the bed. Many times, sight fishing is a two-way street. You can see the fish when pitching to a bed, but they can see you as well, making the bass more difficult to catch. That’s why this strategy can be really effective since the fish won’t be able to see you staring down on them.

The key, though, to fishing topwaters this time of year is choosing baits that stay in the strike zone, or radius of the bed, longer. “A Strike King KVD Poppin Perch, and Strike King Hack Attack Pad Perch are the two topwater baits that I have tied on at all times. I would love to use a KVD splash or sexy dog, but we all know that big bass love to spawn around cover- whether it’s brush, logs and grass. The Poppin Perch and and Pad Perch allow you to use heavy artillery like #50-#65 braid around this cover and not break off when a big female decides to bite” says Mark.

Another great advantage to these baits is that they “walk” perfectly out of the box. This allows you to keep the bait in the bedding zone for a longer time. Since bedding fish can be territorial, keeping a bait on the actual bed for longer times can trigger that fish to bite an intruding creature.

How do you determine which one to throw and when? It’s a question Zona gets asked often and, for him, it really depends on the day. Typically, if it’s a little windy, the fish may want something with more commotion. This is when he picks up the Strike King Poppin Perch. Other times, bedding fish can be spooky and fidgety. In this case, the Strike King Pad Perch becomes his top choice. “It’s almost mesmerizing how quiet the Pad Perch is but yet how violent the strikes will be” explains Zona. Let the bass tell you what they want, and if you listen, it will pay off in dividends.


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