When bites become harder to come by, many anglers downsize and go for more finesse approaches. While drop shots and shaky heads will catch fish, don’t rule out downsizing your topwater baits to help you catch more fish. 

“Anytime you have conditions where the bait is small, fish are getting pressured, the lakes are getting beat up, sometimes you have to downsize your baits to get some bites,” said Major League Fishing pro John Murray. 

Topwater fishing is enticing for many anglers just based on the excitement of watching the bass strike your lure. Fishing big topwater baits is a popular way to target bigger fish, but when you get in those tougher conditions opting for a smaller profile can help you catch more fish. 

In this seminar, Murray discusses three of his favorite small topwater baits: walking baits, buzzbaits, and the River2Sea Whopper Plopper. 

Murray says each of these three baits shines under different conditions – and while the larger versions catch fish – he usually starts by throwing the downsized versions in an area first to see just how many fish live there. 

While the baits are important, one of the most crucial elements is having the right setup to fish these lighter offerings. Murray typically opts for a 7’6 baitcasting rod with a low-profile, high-speed baitcasting reel paired with either braided or monofilament line – depending on the technique. 

Originally from the West Coast – and now residing in East Tennessee – Murray has made fishing smaller topwater baits a large part of his arsenal for years. 

“Growing up out West, topwater fishing was really a major part of my career,” Murray said. “I made a lot of money, fished a lot of different tournaments, and only threw topwaters. ... The key to topwater fishing is really matching that bait. Find out what those fish are eating, match that size, and throw that.”

Key Small Topwater Bass Fishing with John Murray Topics

  • 0:30 When To Downsize Your Baits
  • 1:30 How And When To Fish Walking Baits
  • 3:55 Best Gear Setup For Walking Baits
  • 5:55 How And When To Fish A Whopper Plopper
  • 8:35 Best Gear Setup For Whopper Ploppers
  • 10:00 How And When To Fish A Buzzbait
  • 12:30 Best Gear Setup For Buzzbaits
  • 16:00 Importance Of Using The Right Hooks
  • 19:45 Picking The Right Reel For Small Topwaters
  • 20:50 How To Fish Topwater Lures in Choppy Water
  • 22:35 How To Fish Walking Baits
  • 25:10 How To Fish Buzzbaits
  • 28:55 Different Styles Of Fishing Topwaters

Related Bass Fishing Topics

buzzbaits finesse hooks john murray on the water topwaters whopper plopper

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