Topwater Fishing Checklist [Lures, Rods, Reels, & More]


As it is now definitely Summer with that HEAT, we figured we’d go over the Topwater Fishing Checklist!!!

Do you have everything you need to successfully catch more fish on topwater lures?

You don’t just need the proper lures, but you also need the right rod and reel!

Check it out!

Topwater Fishing Checklist [VIDEO]

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Topwater Fishing Checklist:

Topwater Lures

You need a topwater lure that can walk the dog effectively to trigger strikes.

Your topwater lures need to give off good action, create sound, and have high-quality single inline hooks!

The Salt Strong Moonwalker checks off all of these boxes and more.

It is a common misconception that treble hooks catch more fish on topwater lures than single inline hooks.

In fact, most anglers wouldn’t even dare to use single inline hooks on topwater lures.

However, we know single inlines actually hook more fish and stay pinned to those bigger fish’s mouths.

Also, treble hooks can be more easily shaken by a fish and you can risk injuring yourself or the fish more with trebles.

Topwater Leader Line & Knots

Leader line strength can come down to personal preference but I typically will use different leader line strengths when I’m fishing different applications.

Now, you could get by with just using one leader line on all your outfits, but if you want to get the most out of your lure’s presentation, you have to change it up.

I prefer to use a heavier leader line when I am fishing topwater lures compared to subsurface soft plastics.

The reason is with topwater lures, you have a much higher chance of hooking into a bigger fish.

Big fish are big for a reason and they know how to survive anglers and fray leader lines.

It is only advantageous for you to use a stronger leader line or you can even implement the Dirty Deeks Leader hack.

Additionally, I use a monofilament leader line over fluorocarbon.

Monofilament leader has slightly more give it in to stretch and absorb some of the shock from the fish pulling on the line.

Furthermore, I recommend using a non-slip loop knot when fishing topwater lures.

Your system is only as strong as your knots.

Before tying any knot, you should think about how you want to present your lures and which knot will work with you to achieve the desired presentation.

As far as mainline goes, I use a 10lb braided line because when fishing with topwater lures, there really is no need to fear for an underwater structure that can fray and cut your line.

Topwater Rods

Lately, I’ve been leaning toward using the Fitzgerald Fishing Aqua Dream Series Rod for topwater applications.

I use the 7’2 Medium-Action model because it is easier to fight fish from a kayak with a slightly shorter rod but I can also launch my lures out just the same as I did with a 7’6 rod.

The deflection in this blank starts a lot lower in the rod than with other rod powers which is exactly what I’m looking for in a topwater rod.

When a fish strikes a topwater lure, they come down with it and that extra bit of flex in your rod can mean the difference between burying the hook or losing a fish.

If your rod does not have some give it in, a fish can strike your lure, come down with it, and immediately spit the hook before you’ve even had the chance to fight it.

Topwater Reels

I personally prefer spinning reels with excellent line pick-up speed and fast gear ratio.

I use the Daiwa Ballistic which gives me almost 3 feet of line per 1 turn of the handle.

If a fish decides to make a run right at me after it’s hooked, I can quickly pick up that line.

This is super important for topwater fishing because odds are the fish is going to take off on a run after it’s hooked and you need a reel that can keep up and maintain control of the fish and your line.

The combined outfit of the Fitzgerald Fishing Aqua Dream Series Rod and the Daiwa Ballistic is extremely lightweight which is exactly what you need for topwater fishing.

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Topwater fishing is one of our favorite ways to catch inshore saltwater fish.

It is something special when that fish leaps out from underneath your lure and crashes the surface to inhale your lure.

But before hitting the water, you need to make sure you are properly geared up to tackle the day!

Be sure to head over to our online tackle shop and pick up everything in this video before your next topwater fishing trip!

Topwater Fishing Checklist:

Do you have any questions about the Topwater Fishing Checklist?

Let me know if you think something should be added that you have made part of your personal topwater fishing checklist!

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about the Topwater Fishing Checklist, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Wyatt Parcel
1 year ago

I second the reel recommendation! A good reel with a higher gear ratio makes topwater fishing so much nicer!

Hunter Nodae
1 year ago

Nice, I prefer a slightly lighter rod for topwater like you. Lets me cast better and doesn’t wear me out as fast.

Donald Jankowski
1 year ago

Nice article.
I use a 7’4″ Bull Bay Banshee. Med 6-12
Penn Clash 2 with 10 lb PP V2
30 lb mono leader.

That Banshee rod is amazing for artificial and topwater.
It is wayyy nicer than the TFO Pro. But also about $60 more..
Haven’t tried those aquadreams yet


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