What’s a Follow up Bait?
A follow up bait is something that you will have tied on and in your boat ready to throw in case a bass misses your topwater..usually something finesse or something totally different from what the bass just tried to hit. The idea behind this can be summed up fairly easily. The bass is in a feeding mode as it was clearly eating baitfish and tried to choke down your topwater bait already. But, presenting the same bait might make that bass wary and alerted to the fact that something isn’t quite right.
So when you throw out a finesse worm, small swimbait, or a different style of topwater, that feeding bass might be keen on continuing its feeding frenzy, thus attacking your bait and being on the receiving end of a dirt nasty hookset!
Where to Throw a Follow Up Bait
There are two main places that bass will usually stage when feeding in the top of the water column. Close to the bank and offshore off of points or humps. Realistically, it depends on the forage of your specific body of water. A body of water with shiners, minnows, shad or any other type of baitfish will usually be known for bass pushing a ball of baitfish up towards the surface around points, humps, channel swings, or ledges.
In a body of water containing shallow grass mats, lily pad fields, or shallow timber along the shoreline, the bass will stage under or around the cover and structure and lay in wait for their prey to make it’s way over their hiding place.
Either way, once you locate the locations that the bass like to feed high in the water column, you’re going to want to go topwater fishing. It is the most exciting way to catch em, and when you go, you’ll want to take your follow up bait with you!
Offshore Topwater Bass Fishing Action
When the offshore topwater action begins, usually in the heat of the summer, the bass are schooling on shad or other baitfish. I feel that the best way to approach a bass that has missed a topwater bait offshore is to follow up the strike with a small 3.5 inch Primary Tackle Swimbait or even a finesse double willow blade spinnerbait preferably ¼ ounce to ⅜ ounce.
Keep in mind, the bass that missed your topwater is already looking up in the water column, so you want to follow it up with something that’s stays higher in the water column and might entice that second strike!
If the moving baits don’t get the job done, having a secondary follow up bait like a wacky rigged senko or a small finesse worm on a shaky head might do the trick, but keep the weights light as the fish will most likely eat your bait on the fall.
Shallow Topwater Bass Fishing Action
Now, this is where the majority of my topwater strikes will occur mainly in the morning and late in the evening. Places to look for when locating topwater fish is shallow areas are around pieces of cover or structure that the baitfish or other forage may be relating to. I love to find docks with lights because the bass will already be relating to those docks due to the bait fish feeding on bugs attracted by the light.
Another great place to look for bass feeding on top is around grass lines and shallow wood. My favorite follow up baits to have tied on when fishing these locations are a shaky head with a finesse worm, a spinnerbait, and a swimbait. Below, I will break down what baits are optimal for each location.
Follow Up Baits: Swimbait and Spinnerbait
In my opinion, these two are some of the best follow up baits you can throw. Normally, I prefer a weedless style swimbait and a 3/8 spinnerbait when fishing around grass or offshore. Depending on the time of year, I will normally be throwing one of two different colors. A bluegill color pattern for when the bluegill are spawning and a shad color when the shad spawn is on or in the late fall when the bass are feeding on shad preparing for their winter doldrums.
Depending on the forage in your body of water, you can mix up these color patterns. I always recommend “matching the hatch” or throwing an imitator of the forage the bass are keyed in on.
Follow Up Baits: Texas Rigs and Shaky Heads
When fishing topwater around wood, rocks and steep banks, having a Texas rig and a shaky head selected as your follow up baits is never a bad option. When you’re around this kind of structure, the bass will usually be feeding on crawfish and worms. When the bass strikes your topwater in these locations he will probably go straight back down to the rock or lay down you were retrieving your bait over.
Casting in a Texas rig or shaky head and having it fall right back into his face will likely be all it takes to have him lock in and take a bite. When using these techniques, always remember to use a more natural color bait in clear water. The opposite can be applied in dirty and stained water where more of a black-and-blue presence will prevail.
How I Use the ANGLR Bullseye to Find Topwater Spots
With all of the technology that goes into fishing these days, it can be hard to find the right fit for you. However, some companies, like ANGLR, have found a way to provide anglers with an easier way to pattern fish on any body of water!
When that morning bite is on, it can turn off in the blink of an eye! Saving time while recording the details of a catch can be difficult with the old method of pencil and paper log books.
With ANGLR, all I need to do is click my Bullseye and it records all of the water and weather data with a simple click of a button!
After I get off the water, I can review my trip and see what trends may have occurred to get those topwater fish fired up and that allows me to replicate those amazing topwater days!