Winter Topwater Trout Tips

Early winter’s a good time to catch big speckled trout on topwater plugs. From a Spook Jr. to a Badonkadonk, remember that line choice makes a big difference here.

Fluorocarbon and braid both provide strength and durability, but while the former sinks, the later floats. That seems like a straightforward decision for surface-oriented baits, but consider that one of braid’s limpness — a preferable feature for castability and spool efficiency — can actually become a liability.

Laying flat on the surface, braided line often presents a snagging risk for those front trebles. The spacing and hook reach varies with each bait, but it’s easy for a hook to swing forward during the walking cadence, reach across the braid and create a that not only mars the presentation, but it can also impede hook-ups.

Solve his dilemma with a short piece of 20- to 30-pound monofilament leader connected with a double uni knot. The twofold advantage is a floating section tied directly to the lure, plus the mono’s stretch, which allows a little “give” for better hook sets.

A few other topwater tips:

  • Take time to tie a proper loop knot, as this affords maximum range of motion for your plug.
  • Vary your cadences from rapid, steady walking to erratic twitch-pause-walk looks.
  • If a trout swings and misses, kill the bait, wait 10 seconds and slowly resume the action. This often yields crushing follow-up bites.