This time of year there are explosions early in the morning or late in the evening around Oklahoma waters. These explosions are not pyrotechnics or 4th of July M-80s, they are bass blowing up food sources at the water surface.

“Anglers who put away topwaters after spring may be missing an opportunity to turn summer’s ‘dog days’ into ‘hawg days,’” said legendary bass angler and TV fishing show star, Hank Parker. “You’ll rarely see me this time of year without at least one topwater within reach.”

Nothing says summertime bass fishing than working a top-water strike. Every angler, regardless of age or experience, has a rush of adrenaline when a big old large-mouth rolls up on a top water artificial lure.

Really little has changed in the last 20 years when it comes to coaxing a bass to attack a bait fished on top of the water, so let’s look at what’s out there and you probably have some of these in your tackle box now.

I recently watched an entire episode of the Bassmasters with Ish Monroe, the 9-time BASS tournament winner, who has won more than $2.2 million on the tour. The California angler was demonstrating one of his favorite fishing techniques – top-water.

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These past couple of months have been phenomenal for me. I’ve spent my time saltwater fishing up and down the Pacific coast from San Francisco Bay to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, catching white seabass, halibut, stripers, lingcod and yellowtail tuna. 

This is one of my favorite things to do and one of my favorite ways to fish. I’ve been doing it my whole life, growing up in the San Francisco area.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love bass fishing. But bass fishing is my job. Saltwater fishing is my passion and my hobby. I’ve had saltwater guides ask me all the time if I want a job as a deckhand or as a captain, and I just have to tell them no. I don’t want to turn my passion into my job because I already did that with bass fishing. 

Saltwater fishing is a way for me to unwind and escape from work, just like everyone else.

Feeding My Big-Fish Passion

My favorite thing to catch when I’m out there is tuna. Every time I go out there in search of those massive fish, it’s just an experience that I can’t describe. We catch these huge tuna using flying fish bait that acts kind of as a topwater. Out of nowhere, you see the fish take the bait and it’s the biggest and best topwater bite that you’ve ever seen in your life. 

I can consistently catch massive tuna out in the ocean, which satisfies my want and desire to keep catching big fish. 

I’m not unique in that sense because everyone wants to catch big fish, whether you’re saltwater fishing or fishing for bass. I guess my experiences on the ocean have influenced me in my life as a professional bass fisherman. It’s exciting catching big fish because it’s not easy to do. Anyone can go out there and just catch a bass, but if you can catch bigger and better bass than everyone else, that means something and it can help you win a tournament. 

People want to know how to catch bigger fish all the time, and that’s what I try to show them when I’m out there on the Bass Pro Tour. My style of fishing just appeals to catching larger fish because that’s simply what I love to do.

If you’re looking into getting your feet wet, San Diego is a great place to get started when saltwater fishing. There’s great food, great guides and great fish to catch down there in southern California. I’m down there at least once a year trying to catch the biggest yellowfin tuna I can find.