It’s topwater time for most of the country and for some anglers it’s been good for over a month now. At some point for everyone vegetation will be too thick for most top water presentations and you’ll have to start looking for other options. In Louisiana, East Texas, and South Arkansas we deal with giant salvinia year round and in other parts of the country coon tail and duck weed play a factor later in the spring with top water presentations hindering bait usage.
When you need to cover water to figure out where fish are staged a buzz bait will get the job done and when you’ve figured out where they are and need to slow down, a popper will take care of the rest of the day. This is common knowledge, but when vegetation eliminates those options ElaZtech fills the gap perfectly.
The Hard Leg FrogZ rigged on a 6/0 heavy wire EWG hook will give the same sound and bubble trail as a buzz bait and you don’t have to fight with the blade clogging up with grass. Another plus is ElaZtech is naturally buoyant so you can pause it for missed strikes and it will sit in the same spot to offer another opportunity for the second strike.
When you have figured out the pattern or just need a slower presentation the Pop ShadZ will fit the bill and can be rigged weedless on the same 6/0 heavy wire EWG hook. Both baits will float the heavy wire hook all day long and give plenty of bite for the hook up.
Both baits can be easily rigged to fish open water or for redfish with a large treble hook, check out this video if you are not dealing with heavy vegetation.
Regardless of vegetation I like to fish each presentation on 55-65lb braid with at least a 7′ medium heavy action rod. Most of the casts are long and I’m waiting for the fish to load the rod before the hook set so I like a long rod to take up slack quickly and the braid to cut through vegetation. In open water braid or mono will do fine but remember to let the fish load up before you set the hook and your percentage will be far greater than setting on the initial blow up. Be sure to always keep a rod handy rigged with a pearl ZinkerZ on a 4/0 weightless hook for any missed strikes to follow up with for a quick uppercut.
Keep your color selections to what you have confidence in for clear days and cloudy days on the top water presentations and stick with pearl or black and blue for the ZinkerZ follow up and you’ll easily get your five fish in the well for tournament day. As always, Laissez les bons temps rouler, Let the good times roll!!!! Tight lines guys!!