By Bill Cooper
Every experienced bass fisherman will tell you that the explosive strike of a big bass on a topwater bait is the ultimate thrill in bass fishing. For decades, anglers have been throwing Zara Spooks to acquire those much desired topwater explosions.
The cigar-shaped Zara Spook is among the easiest lures to use for bass fishing. Additionally, it has evolved from the original wooden baits into a complete line of plastic lures in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They come with or without rattles. This extensive expansion of the Spook happened for one reason: bass fishermen developed confidence in them. You should, too.
If you toss a Spook out and retrieve it with a steady wind of the handle, it will do absolutely nothing. The lure comes alive with action provided by the angler. The most common and productive action is the bob and weave, better known as “walking the dog” in bass-fishing circles.
The walk the dog action is obtained by utilizing the rod, not the reel. Additionally, the Spook is retrieved with a loose line. Once the cast is made, raise your rod tip from 9 o’clock to 10 o’clock. This will provide the initial slack needed to begin the motion. Without reeling, drop your rod tip back to the 9 o’clock position and snap it back to the 10 and12 o’clock position. The bait will dart to one side or the other, perfectly imitating a wounded or dying bait fish. Next, drop your rod tip and take up just a little bit of slack and repeat the same motion. The Spook will then dart in the opposite direction.
Variations may be used to cause the Spook to make very tight darting movements, or long slow gliding movements. Short, quick snaps will produce a tight weave. This technique is deadly on bass holding tight to cover.
Leaving more slack line will cause the Spook to glide farther, often fooling bass into thinking that the wounded bait fish is escaping. In this case, strikes can be jolting.
When tossing a spook close to cover, occasionally allow it to sit motionless for 30 or 40 seconds. Then twitch it slightly. The original “plop” of the lure will often attract bass from long distances. When the bait moves, they will clobber it.
Almost any rod/reel combo will work for casting Spooks. However, always use monofilament line. A heavy line that sinks rapidly will keep the Spook from handling properly.
Far too many bass anglers fish topwaters only early or late in the day, or only during the hot summer months when fish metabolism is high. Both situations are grave mistakes. Spooks summon bass from great distances. I’ve caught bass on Spooks at every hour on the clock.
And if you really want to Spook the bass, throw them to spawning bass on the nest. If you miss, have your buddy prepared to toss a YUM Dinger as a follow up. The action is truly amazing.