How Fast To Retrieve Topwater Lures (To Catch More Fish)

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If you’re not catching fish on topwater, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a bad spot, or that you’re using a lure that doesn’t work.

It could just mean that you’re retrieving your lure at the wrong speed.

Sometimes the fish are looking for a bait that’s darting across the surface quickly, while other times they’re looking for a slow-moving, injured baitfish that would make an easy meal.

So the big question is this: how do you know how fast to retrieve your topwater?

I’ll show you process I go through to determine that in this video, as well as:

  • The small tweak I’ve made to my lures that helps me catch more bigger fish (and fewer smaller fish)
  • When the best times to use topwater lures are
  • And much more

Check out the video below.

How Fast To Retrieve Topwater Lures [VIDEO]

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The first thing I do when I’m throwing topwater lures is to retrieve the lure quickly.

I start with a fast retrieve because I prefer it over a slow one because it helps me cover a lot of ground and find the feeding zones faster.

If I don’t get many strikes with a quick retrieve, I’ll slow it down.

As I slow it down, I’ll also add some pauses in.

I don’t particularly like a very slow retrieve because it doesn’t allow me to cover a lot of ground, but sometimes that’s all the fish will hit!

Conclusion

best times to use topwater lures

If you’re throwing topwater lures and you’re not getting any bites, change up the speed of your retrieve and add in a few pauses if you need to.

Do you have any other tips for catching more fish on topwater lures?

Have any questions about this video?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who loves throwing topwater, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Ed Goodwln
4 days ago

Have you tried Bagley’s Bang a lure with the spinner on the back for trout. Living in Winter Haven I’m sure you’ve heard of it. One of the best top water lures ever made.

Adam
1 month ago

Could you please share the make and model of your boat?

Mike
1 month ago

Awesome video, great tips! @4:53 is that another red jumping behind you?

Mark Foster
3 months ago

Hello, what kind and size of hooks do you replace the treble hooks with on your top water lure?

Mark Jenkin
3 months ago

Hi Luke,
Have you ever tried replacing the front hook with a double instead and still put a single on the rear?

Bob Harwein
3 months ago

Hey Luke! Great video, as always. That same lure, Ghost I think, is my go to topwater. Have had great luck with it. Caught a 32” Red on one & got the fish to the boat, released & on the next cast I noticed the lure not working too well. Darn Red got even. Crushed it so all it would do is sink! Ha
Tight Lines
Bob Hartwein

Greg
3 months ago

Now getting into beach fishing and some inshore fishing. When retrieving is there any technique in the wrist etc or just the spinning rate?

Greg
3 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thanks Luke.

Mike Lukens
3 months ago

I noticed you tie the leader line directly to the lure with a loop type knot. what knot is it?

Stan Mitchell
3 months ago

Thanks Luke, Top water is a blast !!! I’ve had so much fun lately first thing in the morning watching snook BLOW UP on my spook Jr. ????????

James Rahn
3 months ago

What about poppers and or bigger plugs? Speed action and if they are effective for Snook n Tarpon over here on the Southeast coast?

Anonymous
3 months ago

Do you have first hand information and fishing spots for Crystal River Florida??

Jim
3 months ago

I like the idea of changing the treble hooks to singles. When changing the trebles to single hooks is there a guide to use for hook size and type? Great video and comments on colors.

Ronald H Mattson
3 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

We have found a definitive drop off of hookups on topwater lures when changing from the front treble to a single hook. Especially when fishing for fish that routinely strike from the front like Striped Bass. As a result we have not changed to single hooks up front. Totally agree with Your assessment that the single hooks keep the fish attached better than trebles. New braided line eyed trebles from Savage May help. And the #1 variable for us when we switch to single hooks is weight. One can easily destroy the plugs action by drastically moving far from the weight of the original treble.

Ronald H Mattson
3 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Hi Luke and thank You so much for all You people do for us fisherpeople. Almost 100% of my topwater fishing is done with either the 1,000 series Rebel ‘Jumpin Minnow’ or the 2,000 series. Original treble hooks on the 1,000 series weigh 0.413g ave. and the 2,000 series 1.076g ave. and are definately freshwater types. Front treble hook I replace on the 1,000 series are VMC 9626PS size 6(4X)that weighs 0.539g. Front treble hook I replace on the 2,000 series are VMC 9626PS size 2(4X)that weighs 1.39g ave. and sometimes VMC 9626PS size 1(4X)that weighs 1.75g ave. As you can see the replacement hooks weigh more than the originals but not enough to destroy some visible action. If one gets to 6X strong then the weight is a factor.
Replacement of the treble on the rear of the 1,000 series was accomplished with Owner ZoWire size 1/0(3X) weighing 0.60g, slightly more than the original treble weight of 0.43g. Also the Owner ZoWire size 2/0(3X) weighing 0.78g. Anything larger caused visible problems with lure action. Replacement of the treble on the rear of the 2,000 series was accomplished with VMC replacements singles 1/0(0.79g)and 2:0(0.92g).

Ronald H Mattson
3 months ago

Do not forget most of my topwater fishing is for Striped Bass from Martha’s Vineyard to North Carolina. These fish almost always strike the front of the lure.

Ronald H Mattson
3 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

That much weight on the 3/8 ounce 1,000 series Rebel ‘Jumpin Minnow’ will cause the lure to sink lower in the water making it difficult to walk the dog properly. In rough water it will be virtually impossible unless You want to ‘run’ the dog lol. Which sometimes works.

Casey
3 months ago

Great breakdown. I also have really good luck enticing trout with a slow twitch batch and forth…just have to find the right cadence because also use single hooks because of grass, front hook has tendency to wrap around nose and line. Sun starts coming up I use more muted colors of bone and white or flat silver and still get strikes. Same goes for clear and stained water…where clear has more natural muted colors and stained water sees more darker or flashy colors for me. I have had issues with top water pencil or walk the dog types “diving” on long casts or when I pause for more than a second. Some leaders are too large for smaller lures and I downsized and problem went away even with my hard flouro leaders.

Pat Ogletree
3 months ago

Nice job catching one during the training! Retrieval speed is everything with topwater. There’s been times they will only touch it if you let it sit 4 or 5 seconds between twitches and other times you have to really burn it. Something to add, just because they might like one retrieve now in thirty minutes they could want it slowed down or sped up. Always keep changing things up until you see what they want. Great video!

Bill Moore
3 months ago

Hey Luke. Had a question. I’ve been fishing the super spook jr. I wade out in front of my house. With this particular lure, I’ll walk the dog really good for several casts, then all of the sudden, it wants to start diving like a popper. I’m not changing my retrieve when this happens. Could the lure have a crack or something that’s letting water in and getting it water logged? Have you seen this?

Pat Ogletree
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Moore

Hey Bill, could be your leader material. If your using Fluro it has a faster sink rate than Mono and that will pull the nose of the plug down. Try switching to a Mono leader if you’re not already.

Bill Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat Ogletree

Hey Pat. I’m actually using 20 lb mono.

Bill Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Moore

For the leader, that is. ????

Pat Ogletree
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Moore

I would do two things to help figure it out. One you could tie a fresh leader On and see if that helps or if you have another topwater just like that one you could tie that on your current leader. You could also try that plug on a different rod and reel just to see what part causes the issue. If it still does it on another rod with new leader material then I would think there would be something wrong with the lure.

Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Pat Ogletree

perhaps a shorter leader?

Bill Moore
3 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

I wanted to give an update. I took a really good look at the lure, and sure enough, there were several small cracks on it. I switched out spooks, and the new one works like a charm. Mystery solved! Thanks for all of the tips and feedback!

Ronald H Mattson
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Moore

Hi Bill we have used Rebel Jumpin Minnows (1,000 & 2,000 series)for a very longtime that are of 2 part construction also. They will establish separation eventually and let water in. Unless you have a heated vacuum oven and can see and close the hole we suggest replacing or giving to someone who asks for one lol.

Bill Moore
3 months ago

Thanks Ronald!

Rob S
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill Moore

Disregard . . . mystery solved if reading down the replies.

Last edited 3 months ago by Rob S
Robert Bigelow
3 months ago

I was fishing a topwater Sunday and was having some uncertainty about my retrieval speed so this is quite timely for me.. Thanks Luke!

Timothy Leahy
3 months ago

Fantastic video, just put this into practice. Was working my yosuri top water very slowly, it’s like the fish were playing with it. Popping it three four feet out of the water but not taking it down.
When I sped up my retrieve almost reeling as fast as I could reel and walk the dog. 30+” snook hammered it. I mean came out of the surf and jumped on top of it. Love that top water bite!
Glad you’re sharing this technique, can turn my whole fishing day around just by adjusting my retrieve.
Noticed it can mean the difference between getting skunked and catching the fish of a lifetime. Crucial. And I’ve learned from you guys you can also utilize that technique for retrieval speed for just about any lure you throw.

My question is I’m getting a lot of 30-in snook on smaller top waters, is it time to go up to a 5-in to catch those 40+ keep seeing.????
have the black and gold yozuri 5-in hydro pencil as well .
might try throwing that see if I can get a big one.
Or is it time to learn how to fish with flare-hawk jigs. Bouncing off the bottom?? Trying to catch that elusive 40 in her. And this time of year around the beaches I’m seeing the big ones but not catching them.

Timothy Leahy
3 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thank you Luke, that helps a lot matching the hatch is a great point shouldn’t just run out there and throw a big lure just because I want to catch a big fish got to remember to match the hatch. Great point.
What kind of jig should I use if it’s super heavy current in the pass al ong the trough.?
Will definitely try the Berkeley gulp shrimp but where I fish seems like that would be too light in the current would just take it. Not a natural presentation. Or will that Berkeley shrimp work in that heavy of current?

Pablo Diaz
3 months ago

Liked the breakdown

Last edited 3 months ago by Pablo Diaz

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