Do Topwater Bass Lures Work? Which Are Best?

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.


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The best topwater bass lures are 3 to 4 inches long, have a shape and color miming natural food sources, and are durable enough to survive a hungry bass’ bite.

The 6th Sense Catwalk is my top choice because it is versatile and effective. It features realistic 3-D eyes and gill plate design. It is ideal for bass anglers looking to cover a wide area of water searching for aggressive largemouth bass.

Topwater bass fishing lures are one of the most enjoyable types of angling as they make the bite visual rather than underwater. Bass, in particular, love hunting for local bugs and insects and are evolved to hunt on the surface, so giving them an attractive surface lure will guarantee strikes.

I also recommend topwater lures for kids as they can see the lure moving and the bass striking. This helps them to understand the concepts and improve their skills more quickly. As well as having heaps of fun.

Besides topwater lures being fun to fish with, they are also known for catching lunker bass. Whatever the reason for throwing a topwater lure, anglers have thousands of different designs, sizes, and colors to choose from.

1. 6th Sense Catwalk – Best Topwater Bass Lure

The 6th Sense Catwalk lure is a versatile and highly effective fishing lure designed to cater to various fishing conditions and angler preferences. This innovative topwater lure is perfect for anglers looking to cover vast water areas quickly or methodically approach specific cover to attract lurking fish.

The ease of use is one of the key selling points of the Catwalk, as it can be walked effortlessly on the water’s surface, mimicking the movements of injured or struggling baitfish. Depending on the angler’s strategy and target species, this action can be performed at high speeds for aggressive fishing or slowed down for a more subtle and enticing presentation.

The lure’s visual appeal is another significant factor contributing to its effectiveness. The Catwalk features a premium paint scheme that imitates the natural appearance of various baitfish species, increasing its attractiveness to predatory fish. The 3-D eyes and realistic gill plate features also enhance the lifelike appearance, making it even more irresistible to potential targets.

The Catwalk is equipped with super sharp black nickel hooks to ensure the highest hook-up rate. These hooks provide excellent penetration and boast exceptional strength and durability, making them ideal for landing hard-fighting fish.

One of the standout characteristics of the 6th Sense Catwalk is its size and weight, which make it larger and heavier than many other topwater lure options on the market. This attribute allows for longer casting distances, enabling anglers to cover more water and effectively target fish that may be further away or in hard-to-reach areas.

  • Length: 4 1/2″
  • Weight: 5/8 oz

2. Heddon Pop’n Image Topwater Popper

The Heddon Pop’n Image Topwater Popper is a highly effective and versatile lure designed to entice various fish species with its unique action and lifelike appearance. This topwater popper has been crafted to give anglers an edge in various fishing situations, making it an essential addition to any tackle box.

One of the key features of the Heddon Pop’n Image Topwater Popper is its deadly action, which imitates the movements and sounds of injured or distressed baitfish. When retrieved, the popper’s concave mouth creates a distinct popping and splashing effect that is irresistible to predatory fish. This action can be altered by varying the retrieve speed and technique, allowing anglers to adapt their approach based on the target species and prevailing conditions.

The Pop’n Image is armed with two sticky sharp treble hooks, ensuring excellent hook-up ratios and secure holds on fish. One of these treble hooks is adorned with a feathered dressing, adding an extra element of attraction to the lure. This feathered treble enhances the lure’s visual appeal and adds a subtle movement in the water that can trigger strikes from finicky or wary fish.

Available in a wide range of color patterns, the Heddon Pop’n Image Topwater Popper is designed to match the hatch in any given body of water. These carefully selected color patterns replicate the appearance of various baitfish and other aquatic prey, increasing the lure’s attractiveness to a broad spectrum of fish species. With such an extensive selection of colors, anglers can choose the ideal option for the specific water conditions and target species.

  • Length: 2 1/4″ & 3 1/2″
  • Weight: 5/16 oz & 1/2 oz

3. RUNCL Popper Walking Bait

The RUNCL Popper Walking Bait is a revolutionary fishing lure that combines the best aspects of a traditional walking bait with the unique design of a popper. This innovative combination results in a highly versatile and effective bait perfect for anglers of all skill levels, particularly those who may not be experts in lure retrieval techniques.

One of the key features of the RUNCL Popper Walking Bait is its distinctive design, which deviates from the conventional bullet head shape found in many walking baits. Instead, this lure incorporates a popper-style design, characterized by a concave mouth that creates enticing splashing and popping sounds when retrieved across the water’s surface.

To further enhance its action, the RUNCL Popper Walking Bait has unique side cups on both the left and right sides. These specially designed cups enable the bait to “walk the dog” independently, making it easier for anglers who may not be adept at performing this technique manually. This self-walking action simplifies retrieval and allows for a more natural and enticing presentation in the water.

Another noteworthy feature of the RUNCL walking bait is the glow color incorporated into its belly. This luminescent attribute helps maintain the lure’s visibility and attractiveness in various water conditions, ensuring a consistent topwater bite regardless of the fishing environment. The glow color is particularly effective in low-light situations, such as dawn, dusk, or murky water, where it can draw the attention of nearby fish.

  • Length: 5.1’’
  • Weight: 5/8 oz & 7/8 oz

4. OSP Yamato Topwater Walking Bait

The OSP Yamato Topwater Walking Bait is an innovative and versatile fishing lure designed to provide anglers with the flexibility of two distinct lure types in one package, making it an exceptionally effective bass-catching tool. This cutting-edge design not only simplifies the process of switching between different lures but also increases the chances of attracting and hooking more fish.

One of the standout features of the OSP Yamato Topwater Walking Bait is its dual line eyes, which allow anglers to quickly and easily change the lure’s action based on the fishing conditions or target species. This adaptability ensures that you always have the right lure for the job, without the need for constant tackle changes.

When the fishing line is connected to the lower line eye, the OSP Yamato Topwater Walking Bait exhibits the classic walk-the-dog action that effectively triggers aggressive strikes from predatory fish. This side-to-side gliding motion closely mimics the movement of injured or disoriented baitfish, making it an irresistible target for hungry bass.

In addition to its walk-the-dog capabilities, the OSP Yamato Topwater Walking Bait can also function as an oversized popper when the fishing line is attached to the upper line eye. The concave nose of the lure produces a distinct popping and splashing sound that attracts fish from a distance, allowing anglers to vary their retrieve and create a more unpredictable and enticing presentation.

  • Length: 4 3/5’’
  • Weight: 1 oz

5. River2Sea Whopper Plopper

The River2Sea Whopper Plopper is a highly effective topwater lure designed to create irresistible disturbances on the water’s surface, attracting big bass and triggering aggressive strikes. Its unique design and wide range of retrieve speeds make it a versatile and indispensable addition to any angler’s tackle box.

One of the key features of the River2Sea Whopper Plopper is its ability to produce a sputtering topwater disruption that mimics the movements and sounds of distressed or injured prey. This tantalizing action entices predatory fish like bass to investigate and strike at the lure.

The Whopper Plopper’s versatility lies in its adaptability to different retrieve speeds. When crawled super slow, the lure’s tail barely makes a sound, and the subtle rattling of the tiny glass beads inside its body becomes the primary source of attraction. This stealthy approach is particularly useful when targeting wary or pressured fish that may hesitate to strike at more aggressive presentations.

On the other hand, when retrieved faster, the Whopper Plopper creates a deep, hollow, fish-catching sound similar to that of the original Whopper Plopper. This more aggressive action throws water and generates a significant commotion on the surface, drawing fish in from a distance and provoking reaction strikes from hungry bass.

  • Length: 7 1/2’’
  • Weight: 2 3/4 oz

6. Booyah Pad Crasher Frogs

The Booyah Pad Crasher Frogs lure is an exceptional and versatile topwater bait designed to provide consistent hook-ups while remaining weedless, making it an ideal choice for navigating through thick vegetation and heavy cover. This lure is affordable and effective in various fishing conditions throughout the year, making it a must-have addition to any angler’s tackle box.

One of the key features of the Booyah Pad Crasher is its soft plastic construction, which boasts just the right consistency for ensuring solid, consistent hook-ups. This well-balanced material provides enough flexibility for the lure to compress when a fish strikes, allowing for better hook penetration and being durable enough to withstand multiple encounters with aggressive fish.

The weedless design of the Booyah Pad Crasher is another standout feature, as it allows the lure to glide effortlessly over matted vegetation and other forms of cover without snagging. This capability is advantageous when targeting bass that tends to hide in thick cover. It enables anglers to present the lure in hard-to-reach areas without the risk of getting hung up.

The Booyah Pad Crasher’s “bass boat” belly design contributes to its weedless performance and enables the lure to walk the dog in open water easily. This versatile action is perfect for attracting bass in various fishing scenarios, from shallow cover to open water flats.

The Pad Crasher also features a convenient drain hole that expels water and ensures the lure remains in perfect working order throughout the day. This design element helps maintain the lure’s buoyancy and performance, even after multiple casts and strikes.

  • Length: 2’’
  • Weight: 1/4 oz

7. Rebel Lures Bumble Bug

Rebel Lures is a well-known and respected brand in the fishing industry, with a wide range of products favored by anglers across America. One of their popular offerings is the Bumble Bug, a topwater lure specifically designed to imitate insects on the water’s surface, which bass find irresistible.

The Bumble Bug’s primary purpose is to replicate the appearance and action of various bugs that bass often feed on, making it an incredibly effective bait for enticing fish to strike. Its detailed design and lifelike movements closely mimic the natural behavior of insects skittering on the water, which can trigger predatory instincts in fish and lead to more bites.

The Rebel Lures Bumble Bug is available in five color patterns, including Bumble Bee, Horse Fly, June Bug, Fire Bug, and Hornet. Each color option represents a specific type of insect, allowing anglers to choose the most appropriate pattern based on the insects they observe in their fishing environment. The closer the lure’s color and appearance match the existing food source, the better the chances of attracting and catching fish.

When selecting a Bumble Bug, paying close attention to the local insect population is essential, as bass are more likely to strike at a lure that closely resembles their natural prey. By choosing the right color pattern and employing a retrieve that imitates the movement of insects on the water, anglers can significantly increase their chances of success when using the Rebel Lures Bumble Bug.

  • Length: 1 1/2″
  • Weight: 7/64 oz

8. Arbogast Jitterbug

The Arbogast Jitterbug is a renowned topwater lure that has been a favorite among anglers for many years, thanks to its unique design and unparalleled performance in attracting hungry bass. Its double-cupped lip, dual treble hooks, and wide variety of color options make it a valuable addition to any angler’s tackle collection.

One of the key features of the Arbogast Jitterbug is its distinctive double-cupped lip, which produces a loud, rhythmic, surface-busting sound when retrieved. This unique sound mimics the commotion created by distressed or injured baitfish, drawing the attention of bass from far away and enticing them to strike. The Jitterbug’s irresistible action and noise make it an excellent choice for fishing in low light conditions or murky water, where bass rely more heavily on their sense of hearing to locate prey.

The Jitterbug has two treble hooks on its relatively small body, ensuring a higher hook-up ratio when a fish strikes. These hooks provide excellent coverage and minimize the chances of a fish hitting the lure without getting hooked, increasing the likelihood of a successful catch.

With over 16 color options, the Arbogast Jitterbug offers a wide range of choices to suit various fishing conditions and preferences. Anglers can select the most suitable color pattern based on factors such as water clarity, light levels, and the natural prey in the area, maximizing the lure’s effectiveness.

  • Length: 2 1/2″
  • Weight: 3/8 oz

9. Teckel Sprinkler Topwater Frog

The Teckel Sprinkler Topwater Frog is an innovative and highly effective fishing lure that combines several unique features to create a versatile and attractive bait for bass fishing. Its larger size, weight, tail propeller, and weedless design make it a must-try option for anglers looking to improve their topwater game.

One of the main advantages of the Teckel Sprinkler Topwater Frog is its size and weight, which allow for longer casting distances compared to lighter lures. This capability enables anglers to cover more water and reach areas where bass may hide, increasing the chances of enticing a strike. The lure also creates a distinct ‘plop’ sound when it lands on the water’s surface, attracting bass and encouraging them to investigate.

The tail propeller on the Teckel Sprinkler Topwater Frog is another standout feature, as it generates a significant amount of motion and splashing when retrieved. This commotion on the water’s surface mimics the movement of a struggling frog or prey, drawing fish in from further away and triggering their predatory instincts. The tail propeller’s action can be particularly effective in low-light conditions or when fishing in areas with a high concentration of baitfish.

The hook on the Teckel Sprinkler Topwater Frog is cleverly designed to sit upwards against the lure’s body, which helps prevent it from getting snagged in weeds or grass beds. This weedless feature is essential when fishing in areas with heavy cover, as it allows anglers to present the lure directly to bass hiding in these environments without the risk of getting hung up.

  • Length: 4 1/2″
  • Weight: 5/8 oz

10. Smithwick Lures Devil’s Horse

The Smithwick Lures Devil’s Horse is a wooden surface lure that expertly mimics the commotion of fleeing shad, thanks to its forward and rear propellers. With a wide range of sizes and colors, this versatile lure is an excellent choice for any angler looking to diversify their tackle box and improve their topwater game.

Offered in four different sizes and nine colors, the Devil’s Horse provides ample options for anglers to find the perfect lure to suit their needs. The variety of sizes and colors allows you to tailor your selection based on factors such as water clarity, light conditions, and the natural prey in the area. Having multiple Devil’s Horse lures on hand enables you to easily adjust your choice depending on which color or size is performing best in the current conditions.

To get the most out of the Devil’s Horse lure, use a stop-and-go retrieve technique to attract fish and give them time to strike. This method helps to create a realistic imitation of a fleeing shad, triggering the predatory instincts of nearby bass and encouraging them to investigate and attack the lure.

The Devil’s Horse features three treble hooks, providing plenty of opportunities to secure a solid hook-up whenever a hungry bass comes hunting. The multiple hooks increase the chances of a successful catch, ensuring that the lure’s attractive motion and sound are backed up by an effective means of capturing your target.

  • Length: 4 1/2″
  • Weight: 3/8 oz

Why Use Topwater Fishing Lures for Bass?

One of the favorite foods for a hungry bass is the local bug or insect population – they are always looking at the surface for food. So putting an attractive lure on the surface with a movement that mimics a bug will often attract the attention of nearby bass.

Topwater fishing lures are also incredibly fun to work with – they provide a visual bite experience that will get your heart beating and blood pumping.

Topwater lures are particularly enjoyable for kids as they can see exactly what is happening on the surface and can learn much faster.

How to Use a Topwater Bass Fishing Lure?

There are a few different ways to use a topwater lure depending on the design.

The first is a fast retrieve where the propeller or bib on the lure produces its design movement. This will create some splashing and attract bass from further away.

The second is a stop and go slow retrieve. This uses the initial pulling movement to attract the bass and then stops the retrieve to allow the bass to strike. You must practice to figure out the best timing for your particular lure.

Topwater lures can also be used where there is a thick seagrass or weed bed that a crankbait could not penetrate. Make sure you select a lure where the hook is protected from weeds if you intend to try out this location.


Topwater fishing provides anglers a top-notch fishing adventure – it’s fun because the strike is visual. Pick up one or a few topwater lures listed above and you will enjoy your time on the water.

This article from Karl’s has a great explanation for how to fish with topwater bass fishing lures.

Last update on 2024-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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