Walk the Dog Topwater Tactics for East Coast Stripers

Pencil Popper surf lure

This is the best time of the year for exciting top-water action from the surf, inlet or boat while casting walking topwater lures!

Some things just belong together like peanut butter and jelly, baseball and hotdogs, pencil poppers and striped bass fishing. Consider fall, when weather patterns are often ideal, with clear skies and calm waters – from the surf to farther out—and you have the perfect conditions to cast and retrieve your best selection of topwater striper lures, including Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers, Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows and Heddon Super Spooks.

Gone for now are the blustery conditions of recent months. High barometric pressure from fronts often means you’ll be able to fish in an ocean that looks more like your local freshwater lake or pond.  And there is no better time than to pull out one of your most effective lures, walking topwater lures!  What exactly are these lures, and why are they so effective for striper fishing? Let’s take a look.

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The Best Artificial Lures and Presentations for Early Autumn Panfish

Crickhopper bluegill

Casting the right panfish lures to the right kinds of places can produce fun and highly dependable fall fishing action.

The reaction was predictable. I almost knew my lure would get attacked when I cast close to a laydown along a shady bank. I just didn’t know what species it would be. Such is the nature of autumn panfishing with lures. Multiple species hang together, and if you choose the right areas and pick the best artificial lures, the action is often fast.

Bluegills and their closest kin top the list of likely suspects to attack panfish lures, with closest kin including redears, longears, green sunfish, redbreast and various other similar species that are commonly lumped together and called bluegill, bream or sunfish. Other common additions to the fall mix (depending on geography and the nature of the waters you choose) include rock bass, warmouths, crappie, yellow perch, white perch and white bass. You won’t catch all those species in the same waters or with the same approach, but it’s common to catch several, and rare to catch only one.

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How to Catch more Bass from a Kayak: Our Top Tips & Tackle Picks

kayak largemouth bass

Kayak bass fishing can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially if you are catching fishing. Learn how to put more fish in your kayak.

Even after many years of recreational and tournament kayak bass fishing, there are days when it can be a struggle to catch fish. Typically, I end up finding and catching bass, but occasionally, it just doesn’t work out. That’s OK. It’s still been a great day fishing in the kayak.

Whether you’ve been bass fishing for a while or are about to hit the water for your first kayak outing, catching these elusive fish can present a challenge, and kayak bass fishing differs from fishing from a larger boat or from the bank. Don’t get frustrated or give up. Bass fishing is supposed to be challenging, and the challenge is part of what makes it fun!

These kayak fishing tips, developed through trial and error and much time spent on the water, can help make your kayak bass fishing outings more fruitful.

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New Bobby Garland Mayfly is Turning Heads of Crappie and Anglers

Mayfly Crappie

Reports of Mayfly success are coming from every direction. Learn how anglers in different areas are finding great crappie action with Bobby Garland’s newest bait.

“I don’t know if you guys just got lucky or did an outstanding job on your homework, but the Mayfly is a remarkable imitation of the “Hex,” and that has me really excited,” said Doug Sikora.

For those who know the Indiana crappie pro well, many call Sikora the “professor” because he studies the science behind everything relating to his passion for crappie fishing, and no topics are off limits – from how sonar works to how natural lakes were formed by glaciers to what crappie eat.

I know Doug from our common Bobby Garland relationships, and therefore I expected to get a mini biology course on the insect when I called to follow up on the Mayfly samples I had sent him a few weeks earlier. He didn’t disappoint!

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Find the Best Inshore Saltwater Fishing Spots Like a Pro

bull redfish catch

Learn how a veteran Mobile Bay saltwater fishing guide reads clues to locate and catch more fish.

“People think I’m joking when I say I smell the redfish,” Capt. Patric Garmeson of Ugly Fishing said with a smile as he leaned back against the bull redfish on the end of his line.

Moments earlier, the veteran charter caption had announced “smelling them” and turned his head to look upwind. Something obviously looked good because he immediately turned the boat with his trolling motor, moved in the direction he had looked and made long cast with a swimbait. The hook-up was almost immediate!

Garmeson doesn’t literally smell redfish. However, he can smell clues that predator fish are feeding, so when Garmeson catches a whiff of that scent, he knows to seek its source.

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Surfcasting Basics for Stripers and Bluefish

surf at sunrise

There’s nothing like the thrill of working your favorite beach or jetty with a swimming plug!  Learn how surfcasting can produce great fall fishing action.

Surfcasting artificial baits along your favorite stretch of beach for puts you close to the action! Part of the joy is feeling the waves churn and surge as you cast just beyond the breakers or feeling the refreshing spray as you walk carefully out a jetty. More importantly, surfcasting provides an extremely effective way to catch striped bass, bluefish and other gamefish, especially during fall, when baitfish and gamefish push close to beaches.

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Pro Tips for Crappie Fishing Laydowns

crappie from a laydown

When a tree topples into a lake, it transforms into a crappie haven. Learn how to work laydowns to catch the most crappie.

On dry ground, a tree provides a home for birds, squirrels and raccoons. Lying low in the water, the same tree becomes a laydown and offers horizontal cover for crappie, bass and catfish. Crappie fishing laydowns is an outstanding way to put fish in the boat late in the summer and continuing through fall. Lake of the Ozarks guide and tournament competitor Terry Blankenship frequently fishes for crappie around vertical cover he sinks in his home waters; however, he has learned crappie fishing laydowns offers a better option at times.

“Sometimes crappie want to get under something and use it for protection,” Blankenship said, explaining his reason for crappie fishing laydowns. “It is also a good place for them to ambush bait. Horizontal cover is good whenever you have really clear water and the fish aren’t real deep. I think crappie are bothered by sunlight a lot more than a lot of gamefish, so it seems like they like to get under something, especially when they are shallow.”

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Must-Have Finesse Soft Plastic Baits for Creek Smallmouth

creek smallmouth bass

Some of the best baits for catching creek smallies were not made for that application, but we don’t need to tell that to the fish!

“It was designed to be jig trailer,” Patrick Marbury said with a knowing smile as he reeled in yet another creek smallmouth on a YUM Craw Chunk, “but I’ve learned that it works REALLY well on its own!”

A creek fishing enthusiast from northwest Ark. who heads various marketing projects for Lurenet.com and associated lure brands, Marbury often goes outside the box with the soft plastic lures he chooses for creek smallmouth bass from Ozarks streams – and in doing so he finds exceptional success.

Marbury’s favorites include some baits that offer natural attraction and subtle action and some that kick hard to move water and prompt attacks. The common denominator is that most are at the small end of the spectrum – baits that would be considered “finesse soft plastics” for bass fishing.

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The 5 Best Ways to Rig a Soft Plastic Crawfish for Bass

Bass on YUM Christie Craw

Crawfish-imitating soft plastic lures are incredibly versatile and imitate highly favored bass forage. We’ll look at the advantage of five top rigging techniques.

Soft plastic crawfish are among the best lures for catching big bass, whether you’re on a massive reservoir targeting largemouths or a small stream chasing smallmouths. Even spotted bass love crayfish. Everything does, it seems, which is what makes them so effective with so many different techniques.

Crawfish lures come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and designs. You can get tiny craws for small jigheads to throw on wadable streams and catch a zillion hungry bass, or you can get some monstrous craw imitations to fish around wood and vegetation for big brutes. If a soft plastic crawfish can even get to the bottom of a top smallmouth fishery, such as on one of the Great Lakes, it won’t take long for a bronzeback to nosh on it.

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Downsizing for a Better Fall Bass Bite

Zara Puppy topwater lures

Learn how to find the bass this time of year and how to choose and use the best fall bass fishing lures.

When summer turns to autumn, days grow shorter, and nights grow longer. The water temperature drops, and as favorable oxygen levels spread throughout the water column, largemouth bass start roaming. One day they’re deep; the next day they’re shallow. The day after that they’re suspended at middle depths. Pinpointing and catching bass and choosing the best fall bass fishing lures can be as frustrating as trying to fillet a fish with a butter knife.

So, what’s an angler to do? One good idea is to consult with folks who are on the water more than most this season – like fishing guides and pro anglers. Years of experience give these fishermen a knack for dealing with the season’s challenges.

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