Secrets to Saltwater Topwater Success (Tactics, Timing & Lure Selection)

redfish caught on topwater

Want to catch more fish on topwater lures? Check out these saltwater fishing tips from a top coastal guide.

Few things in fishing create more excitement than a big saltwater predator fish coming from nowhere to devour a topwater lure. Thankfully, beyond maximizing the thrill of every strike, properly used topwater lures produce some of the best saltwater fishing action for inshore species like redfish and spotted seatrout (speckled trout).

Capt. Patric Garmeson of Ugly Fishing Charters in coastal Alabama makes regular use of saltwater topwater lures to deliver exciting fishing action for his clients. We spoke with Garmison, who guides year-round in and around Mobile Bay, about his topwater approach and about the lures he uses to call up the best surface action.

Follow these saltwater fishing tips to tap into fast and exciting fishing action in your area.

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Weighted Crappie Rigs You Didn’t Know You Could Use for Crappie

spoon and jig crappie rig

Learn about different crappie rigs that allow you to present soft-plastic crappie baits more effectively for a broad range of situations.

In my opinion, the most classic of all crappie rigs – a soft-plastic crappie bait rigged on a small jighead – is the most fish-catching tool on the planet. Think about it. The combo is so little that fish of all sizes, from tiny to giant, can and do eat it. We all have stories about catching – or at least hooking into – monsters of some kind on a crappie bait.

The crappie jig looks like food, most often imitating a prey fish or insect. Today’s technology allows for precision-made, multi-cavity aluminum molds that feature intricate design shapes and features. The result is a realistic forage match that appeals to most gamefish. Sometimes subtlety tempts the most. The perfect example is the teasing action of the flexible, straight tail on a Bobby Garland Baby Shad. Conversely, a bait with a crazy amount of tail action, like the heavy-thumping Bobby Garland Stroll’R, might drive attention.

A crappie jighead is the standard business partner for a host of soft-plastic crappie baits. However, at times, other crappie rigs, including some you might not consider, provide the best means for presenting these baits. Let’s look at ways that non-traditional weighting approaches can boost your crappie catching success.

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How to Catch Jersey Bay Weakfish (Top Lures & Tactics)


Weakfish have been far more plentiful in New Jersey bays this year than has been the case for several years. Let’s look at the best weakfish lures and strategies for catching these popular gamefish.

One speckled saltwater jewel captures the hearts of New Jersey anglers during the summer – weakfish. Remember them? Seems like it’s been way too long that we’ve said the word weakfish much in fishing reports around New Jersey or had reason to discuss how to catch weakfish. Reasons for their lack of presence in recent years has been hotly debated with varying theories, though none scientifically proven.

In the late 1990s I recall heading out for a morning in Barnegat Bay and having no problem tangling with a half dozen 5- to 10-pound tide-runners before sunup on soft baits, then grass shrimping hundreds of weakfish in the 2-to-4-pound range all day long. The mid- to late 2000s saw a marked decline in the fishery. Some springs since, they’ve sort of shown up, with a dozen here and there. Other years, you wouldn’t hear of one being caught.

So far in 2022, a wild rebound has been happening in the backwaters and surf from one tip of the state to the other, with fish from 2 to 12 pounds seemingly haunting the backwaters in solid numbers. So, let’s look at how to catch weakfish and where to find them.

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Proven Walleye Tips for Intercepting Fish on the Move

Walleye Landing

Learn when to use spinners and related rigs to counter walleye movement and catch more fish.

Walleyes are famous for their nomadic roaming tendencies. Walleye movement is depicted with phrases like, “Here Today—Gone Tomorrow,” or, my favorite, “They don’t have a mailbox.”

Whether you chase walleyes in the Great Lakes, in smaller natural lakes, or in reservoirs, decades of old angling wisdom addresses the roaming ways of walleyes with presentations designed specifically for covering water. One of the time-honored traditions for intercepting walleyes on the move is to cover water with live bait harnesses, using spinners and action floaters.

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Crappie Fishing’s Top 6 Selling Colors: Do Color Designs Catch Fish or Anglers?

Big Crappie

If you ever wonder what color crappie lures to buy or tie on, this guide to top colors and picks from crappie fishing experts will aid future decisions.

Okay, here’s the dilemma. A buddy calls unexpectedly and says he’s just decided to go crappie fishing. He’ll be picking you up in 30 minutes. The problem’s not the short time, (most of us probably could be out the door in 15), but rather the fact that he instructed you to bring only one color of crappie fishing lure.

That’s it. ONE color! No additional details are given. You don’t know if the water is clear or muddy, or something in between. And you can’t help but wonder if the destination will have white crappie, black crappie or both.

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How to Catch Early-Summer Smallmouth Bass


Frank Scalish shares secrets from a lifetime of targeting smallmouth bass on the Great Lakes and large inland lakes.

When Frank Scalish competed on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour, he was known for his ability to catch smallmouth bass. He did especially well with this species on the Great Lakes and on large, inland, natural lakes, such as Lake Champlain. A lifetime resident of northern Ohio, Scalish has never lived more than a short cast from Lake Erie, one of the nation’s premier smallmouth fisheries.

He has fished Erie regularly throughout his adult life and has the equivalent of a PhD in finding and catching Erie smallmouth. He is especially erudite about how glaciers created the rocky bass habitat on the lake’s bottom. This knowledge has helped him catch big-water smallies wherever he casts for them in North America.

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Lure Selection Strategies – Pro’s Guide on How to Choose the Right Bass Fishing Jig

bass on Booyah Jig

Learn how to choose the best bass jig for every situation and how to work your jig to catch the most bass.

Throughout bass history, jigs have enjoyed designation as a big fish bait. Recent years have seen an ever-growing diversity that has yielded a broad selection of bass fishing jigs – including jigs that range from the versatile to task-specific.

To help anglers dial in the right tool for the right job, the Lurenet Jig Manual removes the guesswork. This interactive bass lure selection chart factors in cover, water color and water temp and recommends specific bass fishing jigs.

Such well-studied direction will, no doubt, prove helpful in guiding anglers to the bait that’s built for a given scenario. However, a little dockside conversation can go a long way. Sometimes, it’s just good to hear what another angler ties on for scenarios similar to those of you might encounter.

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Learn How Crappie See

crappie and crappie jig

Understanding how crappie see things can help you make better lure selections and more effective presentations.

Reprinted with permission from In-Fisherman, the following excerpt about a crappie’s vision is taken from “Making Sense of Crappie Behavior,” an article written by Steve Quinn that appeared in the In-Fisherman 2015 Panfish Guide. We feel the timeless knowledge is a real eye-opener as to just how much crappie depend on sight for their feeding preferences, and therefore wanted to share the information again here.

(Text is exactly as it appears in the article. Photos courtesy of Bobby Garland Crappie Baits)

Making Sense of Crappie Behavior

Biological Keys to Triggering a Hot Bite

By Steve Quinn

Watching crappies move under water demonstrates their cautious deliberate style that makes, at times, for the fastest fishing imaginable. Other times they leave us baffled, wondering where they went or why they won’t bite.

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Swim Jig Combinations for Bass (How, When & Where to Use Them)

largemouth bass on swim jig

Learn how top swim jig anglers select trailers and how to swim a jig for bass and find great success.

Swimming a jig for bass is nothing new. Just ask Chris Jones.

“I started swimming a jig with my dad in the late 1980s and early ‘90s on Lake Fork,” said Jones, a pro angler who has racked up 28 Top 10 finishes in MLF competition. “Back then, the technique wasn’t lure specific. We just swam the jigs we had. We flipped to a bush or laydown, reeled it back…A fish would hit! We didn’t know we were ‘swimming a jig’ until later on.”

Times have changed, and so has the swim jig, today fashioned to function and epitomized in the BOOYAH Mobster Swim Jig.

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BOOYAH Unveils Poppin’ Pad Crasher Jr.

BOOYAH Poppin' Pad Crasher Jr.

The newest frog from BOOYAH fills an important niche for bass anglers with added splash in a smaller-sized lure that bass and other gamefish find irresistible. Learn more!

The BOOYAH Pad Crasher is legendary for its ability to glide through vegetation and other thick cover, prompting vicious strikes and solidly hooking bass to haul them out of the thick stuff. The Poppin’ Pad Crasher and Pad Crasher Jr., variations of the original Pad Crasher, each meet specific needs for frog fishing.

Even so, a need has existed for one more member of Pad Crasher family. One that popped and splashed AND offered a smaller profile. Until now, that is! We’re excited to introduce the  Poppin’ Pad Crasher Jr., new from BOOYAH Bait Co. and available on

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