“Against the wall, in the shade, and just a little past where I cast,” Josh Jetter coached me as I prepared to cast. I complied, and then, as if it had read the script, a fat 4-pound largemouth annihilated by Boss Pop.

Jetter, a tournament angler from Garland, Texas, usually has BOOYAH Boss Pop and Poppin’ Pad Crasher tied on, and both rods are usually on his front deck. He spent a couple of recent days showing me excellent topwater action on two different Texas lakes, despite temps that flirted with triple digits, and shared several tips that could help most anglers catch more fish on topwater lures.

Keep Throwing It

Most anglers reserve the topwater approach for early and late in the day, especially during the summer, except a few special circumstances such as throwing to schooling fish, making a few casts over structure where fish are feeding on shad and fishing frogs over thick mats. Jetter throws topwater lures all day long, all summer long, and he catches bass on top even when the sun is straight overhead. He sticks with surface lures in part because he loves watching fish blow up on them. More functionally, though, he keeps throwing topwater because he catches bigger fish on average on surface lures than any subsurface approach.

Seek Shade

Shade lines make up a major part of Jetter’s all-day topwater strategy, and he has found that even a narrow band of shade will hold feeding fish. He hits morning-shaded banks early and afternoon-shaded banks later. Through the middle of the day, when the sun is close to straight overhead, he focuses on the waters beneath overhanging trees, docks and other structures that provide all-day shade.

Play the Angles

Jetter pays careful attention to boat positioning in order to keep his lure in the strike zone as much of the time as possible. For working along a seawall or other low structure that provides a narrow band of shade, that means putting the nose of the boat close to the shore and casting parallel to it. Using that approach, good boat positioning and well placed casts keep the lure in the zone throughout every presentation.

Don’t Limit the Frog

Many bass fishermen – if not most – only pick up a frog rod for casting across thick stuff like lily pads or matted hydrilla. Jetter simply likes the pop, walk and profile of a Poppin’ Pad Crasher, so he’ll use it to fish through scattered cover and even over open water. He is a little more inclined to grab the frog rod vs. the Boss Pop rod when there is some vegetation to work his lure through, but he’ll quite commonly throw a frog beside a boat dock or seawall where there is no other cover and work it across the open water. In doing so, he catches many bass that other anglers would not because they wouldn’t pick up a frog rod.

Consider Cadence

The right cadence is critical to drawing the most strikes, Jetter has found, and he believe pauses are as important as pops. He has somewhat a default alternation of pops and pauses, but he always experiments and lets the fish dictate their preferences.

Use a Loop Knot

Jetter always uses a loop knot to tie on a topwater lure because it gives the lure more mobility for dancing on top than a knot pulled snug. If a surface lure comes with a split ring on the line tie, he typically removes the ring because the loop knot serves the same function, and he prefers the way a lure moves with a loop knot.

Keep Throwing It

I know. I already said to throw topwater all day. It’s the notion people have the hardest time embracing, though, and it may be the most important, so It seemed to warrant repeating.