What To Do When A Fish Is Following Your Topwater Lure

What is the best thing to do when a fish is following your topwater lure but won’t quite commit?

Sometimes it’s just small boils or a redfish is submarining behind your plug waiting to strike.

But how can you get fish to fully commit and inhale your lure?

Find out the answer here!!

Fish Is Following Your Topwater Lure [VIDEO]

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To start, I always use the standard walk-the-dog topwater lure retrieve.

In the clip above, you see that walk-the-dog retrieve was just enough to get the fish’s attention.

Then, the fish comes up to strike the lure.

Notice how I did not stop working the topwater lure back to me.

That is absolutely critical.

You want to keep working the lure to keep hold of that fish’s attention.

Any other unnatural movement will disinterest the fish.

The biggest factor in all of this is your initial reaction to the first strike.

If you notice in the video, I did not pull my lure away from the fish once it crashed the surface.

I wait for the line to begin moving or if I actually begin to feel the weight, then I’ve got the fish hooked.

As I continued to work the lure back to me, the redfish was waking behind it repeatedly taking swipes at my lure.

At this point, the fish was no less than 10 feet from my kayak and I want to avoid it getting closer, or else the fish could spook off.

All I did was make a slight pause in my retrieve and that’s all it took.

Typically, you have to keep working the lure to get redfish to bite.

But there are other situations when you may be fishing too close to your boat or other intrusions.

I knew if I worked the lure closer to my vessel, the fish would have spooked off and I’d be left with nothing.

This is in part due to the natural predatory instincts of redfish.

Lots of times they will hit on the pause or on the fall of a subsurface lure.

Furthermore, when it comes to trout, I double or triple the number of pauses in my retrieve because they act on that predatory instinct even more than others.


Don’t set the hook when you see the fish come up and create a giant splash!!

Instead, wait until you feel the weight of the fish or your line moves.

And if you just can’t get them to fully commit, throw a pause into your retrieve!!

➡Get the Moonwalker Topwater Lure

Do you have any additional questions about topwater fishing or topwater fishing lures?

Let me know what you thought of this tip down in the comments!!

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about what to do when a fish is following your lure, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Paul Hilt
6 months ago

Pat, You said that typically, on red fish, you want to have a steady retrieve when using top water lures. You also said that on trout, you want to have pauses. Could you do a how to video on fishing for trout and these pauses you are talking about. Thanks, Paul

Angelo Durso
6 months ago

thanks Pat, very helpful, am new to topwaters so I’m still getting accustomed to it all.

Luke Simonds
6 months ago

Great tips Pat!

Mark R. Johnson
7 months ago

Sometimes Striped Bass (Rockfish) will tail slap a top water plug. Sometimes slap it so hard it will come out of the water. They do this to stun the bait and come around and take the bait. So some times a pause will give them time to take the lure. Somes times a couple small wiggles will prompt them to strike after a tail slap. If not, just resume working the lure. Sometimes I’ll vary the walk when a straight retrive isn’t working.

Terry McLaughlin
7 months ago

Great report Pat Thanks for the tips. Keep the videos coming they are always teaching me something. Thanks again

Steven Free
7 months ago

Yea I learned that with reds years ago it also sometimes pays off to not nessacarily stop the lure but slow it way down I had a red a couple years ago follow my spook jr then tried sling it repeatedly but kept missing so instead of stopping it I just made it do very small side to side action that the walk the dog technique does and after 3 tries she nailed it and then ha ha she was dinner but also yes you don’t want to try and set the hook until you feel the fish has it or probably 99 percent of the time you will pull it away from them thanks for the tip and all you do😉

A Rollins
7 months ago

What kind of net did you use?
I like the idea of the padding on the frame and handle, which should keep the noise down.

Bill Woodhouse
7 months ago

Great tips, Pat. Really enjoyed meeting you (and Philip, JT and Keith Saturday. Interesting conversations!.

7 months ago

your hookup ratio on redfish strikes will go WAY up if you use a tail weighted plug…level running bait for trout (or just as a fish finder); but tail weighted for reds


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