1. It’s my job as a professional fisherman to know every bait, and there’s not one we’ve made that I haven’t had the hooks off. I put larger hooks on, smaller hooks on, I’ll fish it on four or five line sizes to see how that affects the action. You need to really get familiar with a bait to know its potential.

2. The lighter the line you use on any bait, the better action you get. The moment you go two line sizes up, say from 10-pound to 14, the action difference is phenomenal.  People say that with topwater baits line size doesn’t matter, but that’s not true.  The lighter the line, the more movement I get out of the bait, and only a fish is going to tell me if it wants a Spook turning 90-degrees or does it want it turning 30-degrees.

3. Eighty percent of the strikes you get on topwater are from the sound of the bait. A bass only eats something for one of four reasons: sight, sound, smell and vibration. Topwater baits don’t produce vibration under water because it’s on top.  

4. The biggest question I get is ‘when do I throw a certain topwater.’ That’s why I’ve got a bunch of different topwater baits, because I throw one for 40 minutes  to an hour, and if I don’t get a bite I’m not going to keep throwing it. I’ll change the size, the color, the structure I’m throwing it at, until something happens that I can expand on.

5. A rule of thumb I go by is: The clearer the water, the faster I move the bait. In clear water I don’t want them to get a good look at it.

6. I like a feather on the back treble. When a fish boils on a topwater and misses, a lot of times I’ll kill the bait, because I know where that bass is. Now the bait is sitting there dead in the water, but if I just touch the reel handle the bait doesn’t move, but those feathers flare out and move like a something that’s been wounded and it’s just barely quivering on the water. Nine times out of 10 I’ll get that bass to hit again because of those feathers.