Tackle & Gear

Best Topwater Lures for Summer Bass Fishing: Top Recommendations for Getting Smashed on Top

Topwater fishing for bass is both exhilarating and incredibly satisfying. As bass anglers we’re always trying to pick out the right conditions to bring out our topwater rods and throw our favorite topwaters around isolated cover in the hope of an aggressive explosion on the surface. Summer months often present these opportunities, and I’d like to cover some of the best topwater baits for this season. This article will not only highlight some of the best topwater baits out there for summer, but also tips on how to fish these them. Let’s get into it.

Best Topwater Lures for Summer Bass Fishing: Top Recommendations for Getting Smashed on Top

What are Topwater Lures?

Pretty self-explanatory, but topwater lures are baits that remain on the surface of the water throughout the cast. They are often designed to make a disturbance on the water, making them easily visible to nearby bass. Topwater lures are designed to imitate the movement of a wide range of forage, such as insects, frogs, baitfish, and more. One thing to always know with bass, is that they’re serious opportunists. They’re not fussy at all, so sometimes it’s not too important to focus on what you’re trying to imitate, but rather understand the best times to throw topwater lures and what areas to throw them in.

Why Use Topwater Lures for Summer Bass?

Summer is a great time to use topwater lures for bass fishing. During the summer, the water temperatures rise and bass will actively move from different water depths. They’ll hang around shallow cover in the earlier and later hours of the day when temperatures are cooler, and they’ll move to deeper channels in the heat of the day in search of cooler, more oxygenated water.

For this reason, as bass anglers, we’ll get most of our topwater bites in the early hours of the morning and the early evenings where bass are feeding actively in and around shallow isolated cover.

Topwater lures are not only extremely fun and satisfying baits to fish, but they’re also incredibly effective provided the situation suits them. They can trigger aggressive reaction bites from big fish and who doesn’t enjoy getting smashed on the surface? Having an array of topwater baits to throw gives us options when eyeing out these aggressive explosions on the water.

Additionally, topwater lures can be used to cover a lot of water quickly making them a great choice for anglers who want to cover zones properly, especially when throwing at banks and isolated cover.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Topwater Lures for Summer Bass

It can be a tough decision when it comes to choosing which topwater bait to throw, especially if the topwater bite is on. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Size: Size and profile is a key factor when determining which topwater bait to throw. The ideal situation is knowing the size of the forage within the system you’re fishing, as you can then try match your bait to this size. However, if this isn’t clear, I always tend to start with smaller profile baits, especially if the system I’m fishing is pressured. Remember, bigger profile baits doesn’t necessarily mean bigger fish.
  • Color: Color selection should be based on water clarity predominantly. If the water is on the clear side, stick to natural colors and if the water is stained, try including a shock color such as chartreuse, or a dark color.
  • Action: Some topwater lures make more noise and move more water on the surface, while some are quiet and subtle. You should select your lure based on the scenario. For calmer conditions, you’ll want to throw a topwater lure that is quieter and more subtle on the surface. For windier, or more choppy conditions, you’ll want to throw a lure that creates a bit more commotion on the surface, making the bait’s presence felt.
  • Type: With so many different types of topwater lures for bass, it can be tough to decide which type is best for each situation. We’ll be covering 4 different topwater lures of different types and highlight where they specialize.

5 of the Best Topwater Lures for Summer Bass

Below are 5 proven and effective topwater baits that will last in your tackle box for years. Each bait is a different type of topwater lure, giving your box the necessary versatility for those prime summer mornings and evenings. Let’s dive in:

SPRO Bronzeye Popper Frog

SPRO Bronzeye Popper Frog for Summer Bass
The SPRO Bronzeye Popper Frog in a natural green color

The Bronzeye Popper Frog offers that perfect blend of subtlety on the surface and the added displacement of water which catches the attention of any nearby bass. With it’s weedless design, you can throw the Bronze Popper right into the thickest of cover and bring it out with a subtle popping action thanks to its concave head. This bait has pulled lunkers out the heaviest of cover for me and it’s gained my full trust.

While many bass anglers will walk the dog with their hollow-body frog, I personally like to give my frogs a solid twitch before letting it sit for 1-2 seconds.

SPRO has arguably mastered the hollow-body frog game, and the Bronzeye Popper is a true weapon.

Berkley Cane Walker

Berkley Cane Walker for Summer Bass
The Berkley Cane Walker in a olive shad color

Berkley’s Cane Walker is arguably the brand’s ultimate walking bait with the added feature of a curved face which creates an added disturbance on the surface. With the ultimate profile for a walking bait, the Cane Walker is known to pull bass out of the depths but also thrives along the edges of heavy vegetation near the shallows.

This is a larger profile bait, and with its added rattle, it’s a bait that will thrive in less clear and calm conditions, but it will also do the job on clear days.

One thing to note is that this bait is nowhere near as weedless as the likes of a frog, meaning you won’t be able to throw it directly into thick vegetation. Always look to fish the edges of cover with baits like the Cane Walker.

River2Sea Whopper Plopper

Whopper Plopper for Summer Bass
The River2Sea Whopper Plopper in a bluegill color

The Whopper Plopper by River2Sea has an action like no other and it drives bass crazy. With the propeller-like tail, the bait can draw bass out of any zone and elicit aggressive reaction bites from giant fish. Like the Cane Walker, the Whopper Plopper is not weedless at all, making it suitable to be fished on the edges of vegetation, rather than in the cover itself.

A simple steady retrieve is all you need for the Whopper Plopper and it casts an absolute mile, making it an incredible search bait for fishing along banks and isolated cover points.

Rebel Pop R

Rebel Pop R for Summer Bass
The Rebel Pop R in a purple shad color

The Pop R is a classic shape popper with a trusted action and set of hooks that are guaranteed to last you many fish. Poppers remain some of the most effective topwater lures for bass, and the Pop R provides an action that is guaranteed to do the job. The beauty of poppers like the Pop R is that they can be fished in many ways, they can be walked, ripped across the surface, or slowly popped.

Giving this bait a solid pop on the surface and leaving it for 1-2 seconds is a method I’ve personally found the most effective. Again, this isn’t a weedless bait, so I like to fish this away from the heavy vegetation.

Strike King Toad Buzz

Strike King Toad Buzz for Summer Bass
The Strike King Toad Buzz in a green pumpkin and chartreuse belly

The Toad Buzz is Strike King’s premiere buzzbait that combines an extremely successful soft plastic as well as proven wire frame for buzzbaits. With the legs of the Gurgle Toad (soft plastic) sitting partially below the surface, the oversized blade does the hard work by displacing a lot of water and creating commotion on the surface. This action has proven to raise lunkers from the depths in the early hours of the morning and evening.

Buzzbaits are some of the most unique topwater lures out there. Like spinnerbaits, they will generally do better in less clear conditions and low-light conditions due to their unusual profile.

A steady retrieve works well with the buzzbait, but in prime conditions with schooling fish, you can really burn it on the surface. Although relatively weedless, the Toad Buzz works best on the edges of cover.


Topwater lure fishing for summer bass is a blast and the above-mentioned lures are certain to cause explosions on the surface provided you’re fishing them in the right conditions. In the summer you’re generally going to have more success in the mornings and early evenings, so prioritize these periods for your topwater baits.

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