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Fishing A Topwater Prop Bait
There are times when a topwater prop bait can produce giant bass. I have seen it in action when the bass are spawning and then again when the bluegill spawn and it is an awesome way to catch shallow bass.
The St. Johns River Event
I had always heard how well these baits do around the spawn and especially in Florida, but for some reason I did not use them much during the recent Elite Series event on the St. Johns River. I was too focused on fishing for bedding fish and I did not do very well as most of the fish I found were also found by everyone else. I spent my tournament fishing in a crowd and it didn’t go well. After reading the recap articles from the tournament, I saw that many of the top finishers like Terry Scroggins and Greg Hackney were using prop baits, so I decided to stay a few extra days to hone my skills with these unique topwater baits.
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Prop
My sponsor, Yo-Zuri, makes a great prop bait, so I invited them to spend a day with me on the St. Johns to get some photos and videos of the bait in action. It was the perfect time to be using their prop bait and the fish were crushing the bait. I wish I had used it sooner! I know my event would have ended much better if I had used the 3DB prop in the tournament.
What Makes it Different?
There are several prop baits on the market, but I really like the Yo-Zuri 3DB Prop for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is how easily it casts. Part of why I rarely use other prop baits is because they are a pain to cast. They are long, thin and often made out of wood or lightweight plastic. All of these factors cause them to spin and twirl in the air and make it very hard to make casts tight to targets. The 3DB prop is heavier and casts like a bullet. It is also a shorter bait and that makes it much easier to get close to cover.
Another reason I like this one is because it has just one plastic prop, which is on the back. While some may like having a prop on the front and rear, I have found that the front prop is nothing but trouble as your line will constantly get wrapped around it if you are using braid. It makes a different sound than metal props and is something the fish do not hear as much. If you look at the bait, you will see it also has ribs along the whole bait. This is a cool feature that they have for several of their baits and it helps with water displacement and gets a different type of action.
With all of my topwaters, I keep my color selection fairly simple. There is a variety of prism colors from Yo-Zuri and they all look like baitfish and will work just about anywhere. I also really like the Bone and Sexy Shad colors for all of my topwaters.
I have had my best luck with prop baits by using quick jerks to get the prop to spin and make a commotion and then follow that with a long pause. The fish seem to hit it most often when it is sitting still or right when you jerk it again after a pause.
I experiment with different pause lengths and also how hard I rip the bait. There are days when they want it moving really fast and aggressively and then other times they want a much longer pause and subtle action. The great thing about these baits is you can do both types of retrieves and still catch fish.
When and Where
Like I mentioned earlier, the topwater prop bait works great when the bass are spawning or right before or after. It is also a great choice when the bass are cruising shallow water in search of bedding bluegill. While it is an excellent choice for the springtime, it really will work anytime the bass are shallow.
I like to fish it around shallow targets like docks and grass lines, but it will really work just about anywhere. Fishing shady areas is another good place to throw these prop baits and all topwaters.
I have become a huge fan of topwater prop baits because I have seen how well they work when the bass are shallow. If you haven’t tried them, give them a shot next time you are fishing around the spawn.
Top image: Brandon Card reels in a bass using a topwater prop bait. (Credit: Ray Gardner)