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When Do Bass Hit Topwater?

When Do Bass Hit Topwater?

Topwater bass fishing is a very fun way to fish. If you’re wondering when are bass going to hit topwater in terms of time of the day and seasonality, you landed at the perfect spot. What season of the year do bass hit topwater? What is the best time of the day for topwater fishing? How can you tell if a situation requires a topwater lure? Hopefully, in this article I will be able to answer all of your questions.


Bass hit topwater in early spring, between February and March depending on the location. Bass are found in topwater when there are low periods of light, during dusk and dawn. In early spring, bass can also be found in noon and mid-afternoon. Post spawn is considered the best time to throw topwater lures.


Topwater bass fishing is one of the most exciting ways to fish. The visual experience of watching the bass chase and bite your lure is something unique. Although bass hit topwater in early spring, there are times of the day and seasons of the year when these type of lures perform at their best. With that being said, let’s get into it!


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When do bass hit topwater?

The short answer is early spring. Although, it’s important for you to know why this is, so you can have a little bit of context.


Let’s start with the basics. Bass are instinctive creatures. It doesn’t matter where they live, they usually have life cycles they repeat and repeat. The two basic ones that are relevant to bass fishing are reproduction (spawning) and ­feeding. They are both very strong during springtime.


The reason for this is because bass slow down significantly in wintertime. During this time of the year, they have very short and rushed feeding windows. They are usually in big schools of bass.


Once winter is over, the schools split up and go to areas where they can spawn. And this is when you can start finding bass in topwater.  When this starts happening, the water is still coldish, about 55° plus degrees. This is when bass start hitting topwater.


This is important to know because bass are cold blood creatures. When the water is colder like in early spring, their metabolism starts to slow down. When their metabolism slows down, they become lethargic. When throwing a lure to them, you have to retrieve them very slowly. If you throw at them a fast moving bait, they are not going to bother going after it.  In my opinion, this is why I don’t think this is the most optimal season of the year to throw topwater lures. Bass are just not that aggressive.  I will get into what is the best time to throw topwater lures further ahead.


What places should you focus on at this time of the year?

As spring goes progressing, the water slowly goes rising in temperature. And as water gets warmer, bass get closer and closer to their spawning areas. Try focusing in shallow water on a hard bottom. If there is cover like stumps, trees, bushes dock pilings or any other type of cover, even better! The reason bass head to those areas to spawn is because cover helps them protect themselves from predators.  


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Best time of the year to throw topwater baits

After the water hits around 60 or 65 degrees and higher, it’s the best time to throw topwater baits. In my opinion, it’s even better when it’s post spawn time. Usually water temperature is higher at this time, in the 70-75 degree range. In a nutshell, the best time for throwing topwater baits is post spawn, in late spring.


The reason for this is because they just went through a phase of little feeding, so they are very aggressive. They are starving and looking for food. They will eat any bait that looks like an easy catch.


It’s important to note that when the water temperature starts getting too high, the oxygen available on the surface starts to decrease. Because of this, bass are likely to be found on the surface. I would say the sweet spot for topwater fishing is between 60° and 75°.


At what time of the day and weather conditions do bass hit topwater?

It’s not only about seasonality. Water temperature plays a big role on your success when topwater fishing. Like I previously mentioned, If the water temperature is too high, there will be less oxygen on the surface level and you will not have much success.


Taken this into consideration, we can conclude that the best time of the day and weather conditions are the ones where the water temperature is not very high. These are the best times of the day when it’s very likely that bass will be in topwater areas (I did base myself from this resource to provide the following information):

Early morning

When there is little sunlight and the sun has not heated the water of the lake or pond yet. I would say before 8 am. The best places to throw topwater lures at this time of the day are in shallow cover areas, such as bushes, logs, stumps, rocks and brushes in the water.



As the sun hides, bass move to shallow waters. If you start seeing some shadow, it’s a good time to start throwing topwater lures in shallow water areas. If you want a rough estimate, probably starting at 6 pm.



This time works amazing when it’s summertime. Remember that water temperatures are very high in summertime, so using topwater lures at night can be very productive.


Cloudy days

If the day is cloudy, bass will behave the same way as they do in the early morning or when in dusk. You will find them in shallow cover.


What are some indicators that let you know that there are bass in topwater areas?

Shad Spawn

When threadfin and gizzard shad spawn, it’s a great time to use a topwater lure. Look for excessive baitfish activity at the surface, blackbirds and other birds on the shoreline. Throw a topwater lure on the bank and work it toward deeper water.


The Bluegill Trap

When there are mayflies on the water, it’s a perfect scenario to throw a topwater lure. The reason for this is because bluegills feed from those mayflies. Thus, bass will also feed from those bluegills. Since you are trying to imitate a bluegill, a small popper will be ideal for this task.


Schooling Bass

When bass schools are chasing baitfish, throw a plug. What you are looking for is imitating a baitfish.


When is it less likely for you to find bass in topwater?

Even though it peaks in performance during late spring, topwater baits can be use used all year round. They are obviously not a good idea to use during winter time (assuming your local lake or pond is not frozen). Besides, remember that bass are lethargic when the water is cold. They are just not as aggressive.


And that’s all the information I can share with you about this topic. I truly hope it helped you out. As always, my goal to help you become a better angler. If you have any comments or questions, make sure to leave them on the comment section bellow. I will get back to you at my earliest convenience!

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