There’s nothing more exciting in bass fishing than an explosive topwater strike. When bass are actively feeding in the upper water column, topwater lures allow anglers to capitalize on reaction strikes and hungry fish looking for an easy meal.
But what earns a bait the label of “best topwater lure for bass”? Sight and sound are what trigger topwater strikes, and all eight of these lures have been masterfully designed to pull bass to the surface.
Types of Topwater Lures
Poppers are short, tapered lures with a cupped mouth that make popping and splashing sounds to attract bass. They excel around shallow cover and are easy to work with twitches and pops.
Walkers or chuggers have a slim, cigar-shaped body and are retrieved with a “walk-the-dog” cadence, gliding back and forth across the surface. They cover water well over flats and along structures.
Spinnerbaits have a wire frame, blades, and a skirt covering the hook. Retrieved steadily or erratically, the flash and vibration provoke strikes.
Prop baits have either a front, back, or double propeller that creates water disturbance. Shaped like bluegill or shad, they draw hungry fish up from below.
Wake baits have a shaped lip to displace water and leave a “V”-shaped wake when retrieved. They resemble wounded baitfish struggling on the surface.
Crawlers have an elongated body with diving lips, leaving a crawling trail on their bellies. Their wounded baitfish profile triggers savage strikes.
Frogs are soft, hollow-bodied lures that slide and walk over heavy vegetation, allowing anglers to effectively fish heavy cover.
Best Topwater Lures for Bass: Reviewed
Pros: Easy to work for beginners yet deadly for seasoned anglers; Loud popping action; Available in a variety of productive colors
Cons: Treble hooks are prone to snags around heavy cover
The Rebel Pop-R has been a topwater staple for over 50 years, known for drawing explosive strikes with its loud popping action. It’s ability to pop and gurgle on the surface makes it one of the most effective poppers for tempting bass blow-ups.
I’ve had countless days of success using lures like this. The noise and gurgling sound are completely irresistible for bass. Paired with an ultralight baitcaster, it’s beautiful.
Pros: Easy walk-the-dog action; Premium hooks; Variety of small shad imitating patterns
Cons: Not as effective in windy conditions; Less attractive to fish when at rest
The Heddon Zara Spook pioneered walking baits with its easy side-to-side glide that covers water and provokes aggressive strikes.
This upgraded version has an authentic Minnow profile, perfect for matching young-of-year shad that bass can’t resist. I see the Zara Spook as a modern take on an old-school fishing technique.
Pros: Loud rattle chamber; Churns water on retrieve; Buoyant and easy to work
Cons: Short strikes are common; Limited color selection
Living up to its name, the lug-bodied Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bug agitates water on its side like few other lures when steadily retrieved.
Even at rest, the internal rattle calls fish in to inspect the commotion. An excellent chugger for baby bass imitation. Fishing these with steady retrieval or in some light, moving water near a tributary is a great way to clean up.
Pros: Emits sight, sound, vibration; Easy to tune; Can be retrieved at any speed
Cons: Not as weedless as other buzzbaits; Prone to tangling
The Booyah Blade Buzz Buzzbait combines multiple fish-attracting triggers with its flash, knocking sound, and turbulence.
Premium components allow retrieving slow or burning it back fast over any type of cover to draw explosive strikes. This is one of my favorite lures of all time.
Pros: Great for shad/bluegill imitation; Easy to work action; Durable
Cons: Less effective with abrupt stopping; Only available in a few size options
If you want a prop bait that wins tournaments across the country, look no further than the Berkley Choppo. Whether fished over grass or offshore structure, its boot-shaped tail kicks up a commotion on steady retrieve that calls fish up from below and triggers aggressive reaction bites.
Pros: Precisely hand-tuned actions; Incredibly realistic wounded baitfish profile; Casts and walks easily
Cons: Higher cost; Requires perfect hooks sets to prevent missed fish
While expensive, PH Custom Lures spares no attention to detail and flawless actions, precision-tuning each lure by hand. The result is Wake Up’s incredible realism, with its subtle wake that perfectly mimics a struggling minnow across the surface.
Pros: Impressive castability; Generates strikes with distinctive side-to-side action
Cons: Less detailed finish than modern crawlers; Single treble hook provides fewer hooksets
The iconic Arbogast Jitterbug set the standard for walking crawlers over 80 years ago and continues drawing strikes today with its distinctive side-to-side sway and contrasting plopping sound on retrieve. A time-tested lure passed between generations.
Pros: Highly detailed finish for natural appearance; Premium double hook for solid hooksets
Cons: Not as easy to walk as other frog baits; Higher price point
When targeting big bass in heavy cover, the Scum Frog Trophy Series is the best soft plastic hollow body frog with its ultra-realistic finish and sturdy Gamakatsu double hook.
Made of floating plastic, it easily walks over mats and skips under branches to deliver bass over 10 pounds. The unique profile design of this frog allows for just enough of it to stick out of the water, making it much easier to fool the bass if you toss it into the weeds.
With various actions, profiles, and attributes covered in this roundup, there is a confidence-inspiring topwater lure tailored for every situation to catch bass on top during active feeding periods.
If the water is warm and the season is heating up with falling barometric pressure in early-mid spring, this is when I like to start pulling out the best topwater lures for bass.
Pay close attention to the forage fish and conditions to select your lure, and work them aggressively to trigger explosive strikes.
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