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By Richard Matteson

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he hot summer days of fishing are here. It’s time to head to the lagoon and catch some fish. Whether you’re wading, fishing from a boat or from the shore, the warm water means great topwater action. My favorite topwater lures are the Heddon Zara Spook and the Rapala Skitter Walk, as well as various popping/chugging lures. The Spook and Skitter Walk use a walk-the-dog retrieve, where the front of the lure “walks” back and forth, which shakes the rattle inside. I use a twitch-twitch-pause retrieve. In windy conditions, I keep the lure

moving and give it more splash. In calm, clearer water I let the lure sit on the water longer before starting the retrieve. There are a variety of Heddon Spooks. The original size and the Zara Spook Jr. are the ones I use the most. I like the Zara Spook Jr. in gold color. The smaller size is easier for hook-ups on smaller fish. I sometimes change the factory treble hooks with larger, thicker ones. Having a larger tail-end treble hook is better and doesn’t change the action. With all hard-plastic topwaters, many hook-ups don’t result in a landed fish. The fighting fish can use the lure body as leverage to pop a treble hook off. Remember to keep your rod tip low to keep the fish from jumping, which will increase your chances of landing it. I like the smaller 4-inch Skitter Walk in a trout color. I’ve caught many gator trout on this lure. One day in the Vero area, I landed 12 trout over 22 inches on the Skitter Walk. The hardest habit to learn is to wait until you feel the fish before setting the hook. The hook set is not a jerk, like fishing with jig, but rather a sweeping movement. Keep steady pressure on the line and the rod tip down. The popper family of lures includes the famous Jitterbug, which is usually considered a freshwater lure. I use the Rattlin’ Chug Bug and MirrOlure Papa Dog. The “pop” and spray of water will draw fish from far away. There are also soft plastic topwaters for salt water, like DOA’s weedless PT7 lure. Whichever lure you use, tie it on with a loop knot to give the lure more action and less line twist. The lure should be cast so it doesn’t move or wobble when it’s in the air. Long casts are best, and I prefer a steady retrieve. When you get a strike, do not move the lure. Let it sit for a couple seconds then twitch it once and wait before resuming your retrieve. Sometimes a fish will hit three or four times before becoming hooked. Have a great time with topwater lures. The strikes are amazing, and you’ll catch larger fish. Richard Matteson is staff writer for Stuart Rod and Reel Club. Contact him at (336) 414-3440.

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Profile for Coastal Angler Magazine

Coastal Angler Magazine | June 2019 | Greater Orlando  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...

Coastal Angler Magazine | June 2019 | Greater Orlando  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...