How To Use Topwater Lures To Catch Redfish & Trout

By: Joseph Simonds on May 15, 2020
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how to catch redfish trout on topwater

It’s topwater time!

In this video, Capt. Jud Brock of Eastern Angling is back to take us to school on how to use topwater lures.

This is one of the most exciting ways to catch fish and as the water is heating up, so is the topwater bite.

Capt. Brock is breaking down everything you need to know about topwater lures, including:

  • how to work them to get more strikes
  • how to use them to find fish
  • how to work them when you’re targeting redfish vs. when you’re targeting trout (yes, there’s a difference)
  • and much more

If you want to catch more fish on topwater this spring and summer, check out the video below.

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How To Retrieve Topwater Lures

The best way to retrieve topwater lures is with a technique called, “walk the dog.”

To retrieve topwater lures this way, keep your rod tip low and to your left (if you’re left-handed, low and to your right), and continuously twitch the rod tip straight back.

As you’re twitching it, reel in just enough to keep slack out of the line.

You’ll know you’re doing it right if the plug is doing a nice zigzag motion.

As far as retrieve speed, it usually depends on water temperature.

If the water is cold and the fish are lethargic, then slow it down.

But if the water is warm and the fish are aggressive, you can speed it up.

And finally, always work the plug until you can see under it.

Redfish and trout are known for following the plug all the way to the boat, so don’t pull it out of the water too early.

Using Topwater Lures As A Search Bait

Topwater lures are great search baits that can let you know exactly where the fish are holding.

If a fish blows up on a topwater but doesn’t get hooked, you’ll know exactly where they are so you can toss the topwater back out there, or even follow it up with a subsurface lure like a soft plastic.

When you’re searching for fish, it’s best to fan cast about 5-8 feet to the left or right of your previous cast.

This way, you can search an entire area and get a good idea of whether fish are there or not.

Using Topwater Lures For Redfish vs. Trout

best times to use topwater lures

Although both trout and redfish will hit a topwater lure, they do seem to have preferences in regards to how you retrieve it.

But before we get into the differences, let’s talk about something that is true no matter what species you’re targeting…

Don’t set hook until you feel the fish on your line.

It’s common for a fish to blow up your lure without getting hooked, so when that happens don’t try to set the hook.

If you do, you’ll rip lure from strike zone and guarantee you won’t catch anything.

Instead, calmly keep doing what you were doing and wait until you feel pressure on the line to set the hook.

Now, let’s get into the differences…

Redfish:

Redfish like it when you keep the lure moving.

If you get a blowup and they don’t get hooked, keep the pace or even speed it up

Trout:

Trout, on the other hand, like it when the lure has an occasional pause.

Capt. Brock usually goes with five or six twitches and then a one or two-second pause

Conclusion

jud brock topwater

If you want to catch more fish on topwater this spring and summer, use a walk the dog retrieve and continue to fan cast until you find fish.

If redfish are in the area, make sure to retrieve your lure continuously, but if trout are around, add in a few pauses every now and then to entice them to strike.

Have any questions about using topwater lures?

Let us know in the comments below!

Capt. Jud Brock (@judbrockfishing) is an experienced guide out of North Carolina and is also the host of the Eastern Current Fishing Podcast.

If you’re in North Carolina and want to book a trip with him, check out his website at EasternAngling.com.

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Dave Boland
7 days ago

Several of these comments questioned the use of top waters during full light periods. I have made it a point to question many about this and in my area of SW FL, the ratio of those enthusiastic about daytime use versus those who have no enthusiasm is approximately 50:50

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Dave Boland

It’s really a matter of personal preference. As anectodal as it may be, I’ve seen fish hit topwaters mid-day AND in the middle of the night. You will generally see increased success at dusk/dawn periods due to low light hunting conditions, but it truly comes down to your personal level of confidence with topwaters and the behavior you’re seeing fish exhibit.

George Workman
9 days ago

Thanks for the video, I noticed you use different colors, how do you close what color to use. I use different colors but consistently have good luck with black and silver. Thanks

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  George Workman

Capt. Jud custom airbrushes his Super Spook Jr’s for different scenarios, but after extensive use of a ton of different colors, most of the Salt Strong Coaches would recommend the “Bone” color scheme if we could only choose one.

Dave Frymier
9 days ago

Thanks for the tips – an observation and a question:

1) Your comment about retrieving left handed – man, I wish I could do that, too, and I’ve tried. My right arm is wearing out (my elbow sounds like a bucket of bolts) and it would be great to get that left one in there, but I find after 50 years of casting and retrieving, each wants to do what it’s muscle memory is used to doing. I become a complete klutz trying to fish left handed.
2) The sky in the background of your video is pretty clear with some high clouds. I’ve learned not to pull out the spook unless it’s dawn, twilight, or really cloudy. Do you use this class of lure as a general search bait, regardless of the sky?

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Dave Frymier

It can work all throughout the day, but you’ll generally find increased success with topwaters in the dusk/dawn periods because low light conditions make topwaters easy targets for fish to hone in on. Don’t count topwaters out past dawn if you have an overcast day though, as fish will hit them all day if the sun isn’t shining super bright through the clouds!

Brad
10 days ago

Great tips on that. So many times I throw to the same spot that looks so “fishy”, but just ends up being a waste of time.

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Brad

It happens to the best of us, but we know better for next time! Thanks for watching Brad!

Phillip Butler
10 days ago

Great tips 🤙🏼

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Phillip Butler

Thanks a ton Phillip!

Dan Kelly
10 days ago

Great presentation. Everything you said applies equally up here in the Northeast (NJ in my case) for striped bass, bluefish and weakfish.

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kelly

Thanks so much Dan! And you’re absolutely correct, regardless of species, these tactics will apply across a wide range of scenarios and regions.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 days ago

👍🏻Great info

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed the video!

RICHARD FIORENTINO
10 days ago

Thanks – Do you primarily use a topwater in low light conditions?

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago

Hey Rich,

Topwaters can be productive throughout the day, but you’ll generally find increased success during the dusk/dawn periods because low light conditions make topwaters easy targets for fish to hone in on.

David Yarber
10 days ago

One of the best tutorials I’ve seen on the channel. Um, I guess I didn’t know as much about fishing a topwater lure as I thought I did! Keep the great content coming!

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  David Yarber

Thank you so much for the kind words David! Glad you enjoyed the video!

Paul Hulsberg
10 days ago

this is great info. I have always heard topwater is only effective during the twilight period. When using as a searchbait, does this only work during those early morning hours or can it be applied throughout the day?

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Paul Hulsberg

It can work all throughout the day, but you’ll generally find increased success with topwaters in the dusk/dawn periods because low light conditions make topwaters easy targets for fish to hone in on.

Steven Carter
10 days ago

Great stuff. Thanks!

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carter

Thanks so much for watching Steven!

Steven Thomas
10 days ago

Any recommendation on rod power/action for topwater?

Wyatt Parcel
Admin
7 days ago
Reply to  Steven Thomas

Hey Steve!

After speaking to Capt. Jud, he recommends a Medium to Medium Heavy rod with a Fast Action tip for optimal action.